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ANTH 1010H (15)
Chapter 10

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ANTH 1010H
Jocelyn Williams

Anthro Chapter 10: Urban States Mesopotamia - The region along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in modern Iraq - There are 3 important consequences of the geological position of Mesopotamia 1. Many early sites are deeply buried by the deposit of river silts. As a result, little is known about the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods of the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys 2. There are no mineral resources in southern Mesopotamia 3. The soils of Mesopotamia are extremely fertile - The first cities in Mesopotamia developed during the Uruk period, between 4000 and 3200bc - Uruk o The oldest known city in the world o Ziggurats are stepped pyramids found at the centre of many Mesopotamian temple precincts - Mesopotamian society revolved around three sources of authority: o The temple o The palace o The city council - It is possible that during these periods, the chief priest of the temple was the ruler of the city - The king was selected by a city council - The growth of the cities of Mesopotamia was based on the production of agricultural surplus - There were people who specialized in various aspects of craft production - Bevel-rim bowls are small, undecorated bowls made of coarse clay fabric that are ubiquitous on Uruk-period sites. Theories of the function of these bowls hold that they served to distribute rations or were molds for baking bread - There were clear disparities in wealth and privilege among the various members of society. It appears that clothing and hairstyle were often used to mark status - In the Royal Tombs at Ur, dated to the Early Dynastic period, the dead were buried with a spectacular array of precious artifacts and sacrificial victims - Rulers had immense power - The cuneiform writing system, in which signs were impressed in clay, was used to write a range of languages, including Sumerian and Akkadian o First developed during the Uruk period - Cylinder seals were used by Mesopotamian scribes to mark ownership - Bullae were a concrete method of recording transactions - The earliest evidence of a standing army comes from the time of Sargon, when there is mention of an army of over 5,000 soldiers - The site of Habuba Kebira was an Uruk colony located on the upper reaches of the Euphrates River in northern Syria The Maya - Much of the rich history of the Maya was lost under Spanish rule - The earliest evidence of emerging political complexity in Mesoamerica had been found on Olmec sites along the Gulf Coast of Mexico - The Olmec developed a highly sophisticated artistic tradition t
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