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Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization: The Evolution of an Urban Landscape

Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization: The Evolution of an Urban Landscape

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Published by University of Chicago Press an imprint of UChicagoPress
The alluvial lowlands of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in southern Mesopotamia are widely known as the “cradle of civilization,” owing to the scale of the processes of urbanization that took place in the area by the second half of the fourth millennium BCE.
            In Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization, Guillermo Algaze draws on the work of modern economic geographers to explore how the unique river-based ecology and geography of the Tigris-Euphrates alluvium affected the development of urban civilization in southern Mesopotamia. He argues that these natural conditions granted southern polities significant competitive advantages over their landlocked rivals elsewhere in Southwest Asia, most importantly the ability to easily transport commodities. In due course, this resulted in increased trade and economic activity and higher population densities in the south than were possible elsewhere. As southern polities grew in scale and complexity throughout the fourth millennium, revolutionary new forms of labor organization and record keeping were created, and it is these socially created innovations, Algaze argues, that ultimately account for why fully developed city-states emerged earlier in southern Mesopotamia than elsewhere in Southwest Asia or the world.
The alluvial lowlands of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in southern Mesopotamia are widely known as the “cradle of civilization,” owing to the scale of the processes of urbanization that took place in the area by the second half of the fourth millennium BCE.
            In Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization, Guillermo Algaze draws on the work of modern economic geographers to explore how the unique river-based ecology and geography of the Tigris-Euphrates alluvium affected the development of urban civilization in southern Mesopotamia. He argues that these natural conditions granted southern polities significant competitive advantages over their landlocked rivals elsewhere in Southwest Asia, most importantly the ability to easily transport commodities. In due course, this resulted in increased trade and economic activity and higher population densities in the south than were possible elsewhere. As southern polities grew in scale and complexity throughout the fourth millennium, revolutionary new forms of labor organization and record keeping were created, and it is these socially created innovations, Algaze argues, that ultimately account for why fully developed city-states emerged earlier in southern Mesopotamia than elsewhere in Southwest Asia or the world.

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Publish date: May 15, 2009
Added to Scribd: Nov 19, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9780226013787
List Price: $32.50

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9780226013787

Guillermo. I. arielle.760935—dc22 2008015337 ∞ The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials. Commerce. City planning—Iraq. opotamian Civilization.48-1992. HT114. Iraq—Civilization—To 634. Prehistoric—Iraq. cm. Cities and towns. and daughter. p. San Diego. paper) 1. and author of The Uruk World System: The Dynamics of Expansion of Early Mes. paper) isbn-10: 0-226-01377-4 (cloth : alk. Title. susan. 1954– Ancient Mesopotamia at the dawn of civilization : the evolution of an urban landscape / Guillermo Algaze.A524 2008 307. ansi z39. Published 2008 Printed in the United States of America 17 6 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 1 2 3 4 5 isbn-13: 978-0-226-01377-0 (cloth) isbn-10: 0-226-01377-4 (cloth) Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Algaze. Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization The Evolution of an Urban Landscape guillermo algaze the university of chicago press chicago and london guillermo algaze is professor of anthropology at the University of California. London © 2008 by The University of Chicago All rights reserved. Ancient—Iraq. Includes bibliographical references and index. Chicago 60637 The University of Chicago Press. now in its second edition from the University of Chicago Press. isbn-13: 978-0-226-01377-0 (cloth : alk. 4. 3. 2. who every morning give me a reason to live. The University of Chicago Press. Ltd.. for my wife

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