OK, so they’re not exactly ancient. Many modern emojis, such as the fist, hearts, zodiac symbols, and googly eyes, have their roots from this original set. But these were originally invented for businesses to send brief messages on pagers to customers about weather reports or sales -- not to passive-aggressively text your ex or thoroughly confuse your mom who just got an iPhone.
Now that the emoji set is included in the MoMA’s permanent collection alongside van Gogh and Monet (who you undoubtedly also incorporate into your daily texts), you could argue that emojis have evolved into one of the most accessible pieces of art, with everyone contributing to their understanding. So, text away; your phone has now become a modern art exhibit.