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Oral method

This is one of the oldest methods of transmitting information. It is the era of our great grandfathers when information was sent to people only through the use of the mouth.

Drum beating

Beating the drums was a simple method of information transmission across distances. Explorers, fearfully making their way through a jungle, would hear the drums pick up tempo and volume and that would tell them that they were in enemy territory. However, far from being a source of terror, the drums in the jungles of Africa and Asia were more equivalent of local news.

Fire lighting

Lighting fire has been used as a method of information transmission since the Trojan War; Bonfires were lit in succession, in a line, on hilltops, to send smoke signals in order to alert one another of an approaching enemy. But such methods were only capable of conveying very limited prearranged signal, such as danger or victory.


Town crying

In ancient times, town criers were the primary means of making announcements to a community. The town crier would read out the information and then nail the paper it was written on to a post in front of an inn for those who could read. 


This was a form of transmitting information used by many indigenous people around the world. Much like spoken language, this type of transmission had expressions and a vocabulary based on the language commonly used in the area and could convey a complex message over a long distance very easily.

Drawing diagrams

Diagrams have played a central role in understanding literature. This method was believed to have been used since prehistoric times to tell stories, warn of danger, and claim territories and so on.


Making representations

Information can be passed from one person to another by using symbols or things that bears resemblance to what the information represents. For example, a seller can put the exact amount he/she sells goods on it in his/her absence so that prospective buyers would know the amount the goods are been sold.

Although these are ancient methods, some communities still use some of them to transmit information. The reason may be because there are no other means or because they are cheaper to use e.g. road signs and price tag.



  1. Briefly discuss THREE ancient methods of transmitting information mentioned above.
  2. Mention five ancient methods of transmitting information.
  3. State three advantages and three disadvantages of ancient methods of transmitting information.


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