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Lecture 6

Arch100 Week 6.2 Mesopotamia.pdf

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Simon Fraser University
ARCH 100
Ross Jamieson

Arch100 Week 6.2 Mesopotamia 10/9/2013 State Level Societies in SW Asia Rise of States in SW Asia  Mesopotamia  Ubaid Period: 5,300 – 3,600 BC  Uruk Period: 3,600 – 3,100 BC  The Sumerians and their Achievements: 3,200 – 2,300 BC Birth of a State  ChiefdomsSOMETIMES evolvedinto states, but this is NOT inevitable.  State has more layers of complexity than a chiefdom  Unlike chiefdoms, statesusually have full time specialists in things like crafts, bureaucracy, religion. States Have Bureaucracy Codified laws. Elaborate systems oftaxationand redistribution. Marketeconomiesrather than personal contacts. Centralized militaryspecialists. 1 Arch100 Week 6.2 Mesopotamia 10/9/2013 Power Statesare about power: Economic: control of resources and trade Ideological: control of symbols, religion, ceremonies Political: control of people and institutions. Back up power with force, police. Why do States emerge?  A big question in Archaeology and the study of human history!  Earlier theoriesfocused on “prime movers” – one or two key factors. Irrigation Hypothesis Karl Wittfogel(1920s-1950s)“hydraulic theory of statedevelopment” Irrigation systemcreation and control Bureaucracy Resource control Result:A State 2 Arch100 Week 6.2 Mesopotamia 10/9/2013 Problems with Wittfogel In 1960s, larger archaeological surveys, particularly in Mesopotamia and Egypt, showed that early states began in riverine areas that needed minimal irrigation. Only after centuries of state expansion and population growth did states in these regions begin huge irrigation projects. Coercive Theory  valleys in 1970s.oked at ancient states in Peruvianriver  Limitationson agriculturallands meant that as populations grew, all land was taken up.  Warfarebetween villages intensified,led to professionalizationof military,conquest of all villages in a valley by one leader.  Thus a state was born. Problems with Carneiro Furtherresearch in Peru in 1980s:wide varietyof levels of social complexityat different time periods. No singleor simpleprocess of autonomousvillagesfusingintoa state. 3 Arch100 Week 6.2 Mesopotamia 10/9/2013 Many paths to a state ‘Prime Mover’ theoriesare simplistic Look at interactionbetweenmany factors. Feedbackloops (environment,food resources/technology,control of trade items,etc….) Many paths towards developmentinto statesociety Many paths to a state In different regions, states arose for different initial reasons. Most states eventually take on many traits defining state societies. Many characteristics of states are the consequence of growing social complexity, not the cause of it. Mesopotamia 4 Arch100 Week 6.2 Mesopotamia 10/9/2013 Why is it important?  Oldest city in the world: Uruk  Oldest writingsystem:Cuneiform  Oldest state societyin region  Mathematics – 60 seconds,360 degrees Tigris River, Iraq Mesopotamian Chronology ‘Ubaid Period (5300-3600 BC) Uruk Period (3600-3100 BC); Sumerians (3000-2300 BC) (in text this is called the Early Dynastic Period) ‘Ubaid Period (5300-3600BC)  Not a lot of disparity in wealth, social rankinguntil the end of ‘Ubaid.  Most people lived in farmingvillages. ‘Ubaid pottery 5 Arch100 Week 6.2 Mesopotamia 10/9/2013 ‘Ubaid Architecture  Mud-brick architecture withreed roofing,took good advantage of materials available locally. ‘Ubaid house ‘Ubaid Urbanism?  The site of Eridu, in what is nowIraq, was founded as an agricultural village around 5400 BC.  The later Sumerianssaw Eridu as a sacred ancient place, called it “the earliest city.”  At the core of Eridu was a temple complex, whole series of temples rebuilt on top of each other over a thousand- year period. Ziggurats • A ziggurat is large stepped temple mound in Mesopotamia. • Centre of urban life in the region.  Reconstructionof a Ziggurat 6 Arch100 Week 6.2 Mesopotamia 10/9/2013 Early Temple at Eridu  The earliest temple, in the core,is only 14 square metres, single roomwith altar dating to 4500 BC.  By 4000 BC this had been enlarged to include a small stepped ziggurat, much more imposingshrine.  Well after the ‘Ubaid Period (post-3600BC), it developed into a large ziggurat. Uruk Period: 3600-3100 BC  First developmentof large urban centres. Uruk structures, Farukhabad City of Uruk  Largest settlement in region at this time.  Grew from two Ubaid towns on either side of a channel of Euphrates  Consid
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