CHARTING THE HISTORY OF THE ALPHABET. The ABCs have come a long way since they were invented more than 3,500 years ago. The workmen of Serabit adapted most of the original Proto-Sinaitic letters from pictographs found in Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs. This easily learned alphabetic script survived relatively unchanged for hundreds of years until, around 1200 B.C.E., a more linear, abstracted script developed among the cities and kingdoms of Iron Age Syria and Palestine. As the alphabet was adopted for Phoenician, Greek and then Latin, the letters became ever more abstracted, and in the end, no longer bore any resemblance to the original pictorial characters invented by the Serabit miners. Modern Hebrew letters (shown at far right) developed through the Aramaic alphabetic tradition, although they retain the names of many of the original Proto-Sinaitic letters.