Lecture2AMesoUrban - Mesopotamian Urbanization This week we...

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Mesopotamian Urbanization This week we have two ancient civilizations to cover, Mesopotamia and Egypt. I have divided the lecture into two parts, be sure to read Lecture 2A and Lecture 3A, as well as looking through the Power points for each section. At the end of this lecture you will find Taking Sides Assignment 1. For further clarification on how these should be structured, see the syllabus and the document listed under Assignments. In this lecture we learn about the move from villages to complex urban developments. The first large settlements gradually developed as hunter and gatherers became more tied to areas around water sources and supplemental agriculture. As supplemental agriculture gradually became more important to the diet we see sedentary settlements. With a richer and more predictable diet, population numbers rise. With a rise in populations came specialization of labor, greater sophistication to technologies and the development of new technologies. Distinctions based on wealth and status emerged and surplus goods and foods are traded. We find evidence of early towns and villages in the area located around the modern Middle East, Turkey, and Iran/Iraq areas. Archeology has revealed evidence of some of the oldest towns. One of the first appears to have been Jericho, located in Jordan valley. Evidence of religious shrines have been unearthed in this area settled by hunters and gatherers around the year 9000 bce. Plastered human skulls may indicate a cult to the head or be an early example of ancestor worship. The people of this village had irrigation technology and cultivated cereal crops. By the year 8000 bce there is evidence of walls probably initially for flood control, but maybe also for fortification to defend the village from attacks. In the Hebrew bible a story indicates that Jericho fell around 1000 when Israelites were able to breach its defensive walls. Another settlement, Abu Hureyra, has been found on the Euphrates River, part of the very important Tigris Euphrates river system. This settlement was founded around the year 9000 bce by hunters/gatherers who settled for part of the year for hunting gazelle, and the gathering of wild grasses and cereals. By 8700 they were practicing the cultivation of cereal crops, and later domesticated sheep. Ritual paintings of skulls have been found. A last example is found at Catal Hoyuk in southern Turkey. This large town was settled ca 7200-5400 bce. The houses were planned and built back to back with no streets between. Ladders led up to roof which provided access to the homes The walls were occasionally painted and featured plaster reliefs with images of bulls figuring prominently, perhaps indication of a bull cult. All three early villages show signs of ritual behavior and the use of symbols, indicating some degree of cultural sophistication. They were, however, small villages. Our first large cities and
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Lecture2AMesoUrban - Mesopotamian Urbanization This week we...

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