There is a LOT of material on the topic of writing systems.
Two interesting places to start are:
D. Schmandt-Besserat, Before Writing:. U of Texas Press. 1992 (two volumes)
R. Harris. The origin of writing. Open Court. 1986.
David Olson has written extensively on this topic, primarily from secondary
I am unsure of best sources that delve into origins of writing in China
which were more or less co-incident with
events in Euphrates area.
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