The stories of the Bible evolved slowly over centuries before the existence of orthodox religions. Many belief cults spread stories and myths probably handed down by oral tradition from generation to generation before people wrote them down. Many of the stories originally came from Egyptian and Sumerian cults. All of these early religions practiced polytheism, including the early Hebrews. Some of the oldest records of the stories that later entered the Old Testament came from thousands of small cylinder seals depicting creation stories, excavated from the Mesopotamia period. These early artifacts and artworks (dated as early as 2500 B.C.E.) established the basis for the Garden of Eden stories a least a thousand years before it impacted Hebrew mythology.