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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 - Ch. 11, Mesopotamia & Egypt

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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT200Y1
Professor
Christopher Watts

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Lecture 7 - Mesopotamia & Egypt
Monday, October 31, 2011
6:14 PM
Mesopotamia
Now southern Iraq
This is where we see the first cities
Agriculture - could not be sustained without it
Two major river systems, Tigris and Euphrates, empty into Persian Gulf
Tether to these rivers: need for potable water and for agriculture
Not deeply entrenched, they meander
Most fertile soils are near rivers and very conducive, have lots of nutrients,
alluvial plain - so no coincidence that we see cities in this plain
The problem is that it's very hot there so a lot of the water evaporates so
they tried to irrigate but the drawback is that salt is left behind and after a
while leads to salinization which makes soil less productive after time
Wheat, barley, lentils, and peas
Sheep, goats, and cattle
Uses: the plants and animals were crucial, they have a lengthy history in this
part of the world
These are not h&g's, these are agriculturalists that have been there for a long
time, tending to livestock
First signs of dramatic shift: 5500 BC (Formative Period) and lasts for a
thousand years
Ubaid culture - sort of like a mother culture for southern Iraq
Environmental context
oLow rainfall: water comes mainly from Tigris and Euphrates
oDramatic spring floods: silt (chokes canals)
oPlain is flat & poorly drained: salinization (salt build-up)
oWheat, barley, lentils
Plain settled during the Formative Period (5500-4500 BC) by the 'Ubaid
culture
oFarming settlements of 2-10 hectares; 2 tier settlement hierarchy
(villages, towns) by 4000 BC
oRectangular, mud brick homes; growth around temples
oExtensive irrigation, development of potter's wheel
oThere was no separation between church & state, temples were not
only for religious functions but also political
oRapid growth by ca. 4500 BC; world's first cities
Early City-States Period (4500-3100 BC) e.g. Uruk , Eridu , Ur
oPopulation growth - 50, 000+ people by 3100 BC!
o9 km wall, 250 ha. Settlement by 3100 BC
oTightly-packed houses, alleyways, courtyards, workshops
oFocal points - ziggurat complexes, temples
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Description
Lecture 7MesopotamiaEgyptMonday October 31 2011614 PM Mesopotamia Now southern IraqThis is where we see the first citiesAgriculturecould not be sustained without itTwo major river systems Tigris and Euphrates empty into Persian GulfTether to these rivers need for potable water and for agriculture Not deeply entrenched they meander Most fertile soils are near rivers and very conducive have lots of nutrients alluvial plainso no coincidence that we see cities in this plainThe problem is that its very hot there so a lot of the water evaporates so they tried to irrigate but the drawback is that salt is left behind and after a while leads to salinizationwhich makes soil less productive after timeWheat barley lentils and peasSheep goats and cattleUses the plants and animals were crucial they have a lengthy history in this part of the world These are not hgs these are agriculturalists that have been there for a long time tending to livestockFirst signs of dramatic shift 5500 BC Formative
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