ANT200Y1 Lecture Notes - Euphrates, Soil Salinity, Eridu

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Published on 2 Dec 2011
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ANT200 Lecture Notes 8
Mesopotamia and Egypt
Earliest signs of complexity and statehood in Mesopotamia (Southern Iraq):
Writing
Urbanization
Agriculture
Environmental context
Low rainfall: water comes mainly from Tigris and Euphrates
Dramatic spring floods: silt (chokes canals)
Plain is flat & poorly drained: salinization (salt build-up)
Tigris and Euphrates River Systems
Flow from Eastern Turkey through Syria, Iraq, and empty into the Persian Gulf
Not conducive to agriculture in themselves; they are not entrenched into the
landscape, and tend to meander over time (shifted)
- Silt deposited as rivers lose velocity and empty out into the Persian Gulf; the
Persian Gulf are therefore a lot farther south than it was 5000 years ago
Most fertile soil found on alluvial floodplains. Mesopotamian cities were
concentrated in these areas
- Problem: most of Southern Iraq is desert, and water tends to dissipate quickly.
Complex irrigation systems were built, but in this hot, dry environment, the water
evaporated and left behind salt, which accumulated in the soil (salinization)
Types of plant domesticates:
Wheat
Barley
Lentils
Peas
Animal domesticates:
Sheep
Goats
Cattle
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