Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................................3 AFRICA, THE CRADLE OF HUMANITY.........................................................................................3 HUMANITY’S FIRST MIGRANTS: LOWER PALEOLITHIC (2,700,000 – 200,000 BC)................3 THE OLDOWAN ERA (2,580,000 – 1,500,000 BC)........................................................................4 ACHEULEAN TRADITION (1,400,000 – 100,000 BC)..................................................................4 SHELTER: CAVES...........................................................................................................................5 NEANDERTHALS: THE BIRTH OF HUMAN CULTURE: MIDDLE PALEOLITHIC (200,000 – 30,000 BC)............................................................................................................................................6 MOUSTARIAN INDUSTRY (2,00,000-40,000 BC)........................................................................6 SHELTER: THE FIRST HUMAN HOUSES....................................................................................7 TENTS...........................................................................................................................................7 PIT HOUSES.................................................................................................................................7 HOMO SAPIENS..................................................................................................................................8 THE GREAT MIGRATION..............................................................................................................8 THE GREAT LEAP FORWARD......................................................................................................8 LIFE IN THE NOMADIC STATE: UPPER PALEOLITHIC (40,000 – 12,000 BC)...........................9 SHELTER: COMMUNITY LIVING................................................................................................9 ARTIFICIAL SELECTION: MESOLITHIC AGE (12,000 – 5000 BC)...............................................9 EXPERIMENTS WITH FARMING: THE NATUFIANS.................................................................9 DOMESTICATION OF ANIMALS................................................................................................10 END OF YOUNGER DRYAS........................................................................................................10 SETTLING DOWN.............................................................................................................................11 FROM FARMS TO CITIES: NEOLITHIC AGE (9500 – 3300 BC)...............................................11 POST-MESOLITHIC/ PRE-POTTERY NEOLITHIC.................................................................12 POTTERY NEOLITHIC..............................................................................................................14 THE DAWN OF METAL: CHALCOLITHIC AGE (4500 – 3300 BC)..............................................17 CHALCOLITHIC AGE IN INDIA..................................................................................................17 CHALCOLITHIC AGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST..........................................................................18 ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY: THE BRONZE AGE (3300 – 1200 BC).......................................19 BRONZE AGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.......................................................................................20 CONCLUSION...................................................................................................................................25 BIBLIOGRAPHY...............................................................................................................................26 Error: Reference source not found

Page 2


The lands around the southern and eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea are often called the Middle East or the Near East. The term came from the first geographers in ancient Greece, for whom the region was both near and east.() In most current usage, the term Middle East refers collectively to Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, and the states and emirates along the southern and eastern fringes of the Arabian Peninsula, namely, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. The ancient Near East is considered the cradle of civilization. It was the first to practice intensive year-round agriculture, it gave the rest of the world the first writing system, invented the potter's wheel and then the vehicular- and mill wheel, created the first centralized governments, law codes and empires, as well as introducing social stratification, slavery and organized warfare, and it laid the foundation for the fields of astronomy and mathematics.()

Most African people today are desperately poor and suffering, thousands try to escape the continent every year, many of them across the Straits of Gibralter into Europe. History is repeating itself. By about two million years ago the homo habilis1 had evolved into a new species, the homo erectus2, who largely resembled the modern homo sapiens. Bones of the earliest homo erectus, ‘Turkana Boy’, dating back to some 1.8 million years ago, were discovered in an African swamp near the shores of Lake Tyrkana in Kenya.() The homo erectus could walk upright, had a much bigger brain than the habilis, and had several key advantages over anything else in the wild: his hands, his brain, and, perhaps most important of all, his control of fire. With their portable tool kits, the protection of their communities and the magic of fire, they were the first human species to explore life outside Africa.

Early humans walked their way around the habitable continents of Africa, Asia and Europe. But just as the homo erectus started populating Asia, the climate turned colder and another Ice Age began. Even fire wasn’t enough to battle the bitterly cold temperatures in much of Asia and Europe which lasted for thousands of years at a time.

1 Homo habilis (“handy man”) was an extinct species of hominid that lived in Africa between 2.2 and 1.5 million years ago.() 2 Homo erectus (“upright man”) is an extinct species of hominid that ranged widely over Africa and Asia and flourished from about 1.6 million years ago until about 200,000 years ago. Homo erectus was the first hominid to expand out of Africa and into cooler parts of the world.()

Page 3


This led to the evolution of a different human species all together, the Neanderthal. The oldest date back to about 350,000 years ago, which means that several species of humans lived simultaneously. Around this time, at least five different species coexisted: homo erectus, homo ergaster3, homo neanderthalensis, homo heidelbergensis4 and homo rhodesiensis5.() What is clear is that once the homo erectus migrated out of about 1.7 million years ago, several different species of humans evolved in different parts of the world, and that geographical and climatic differences caused small but significant evolutionary changes.()

THE OLDOWAN ERA (2,580,000 – 1,500,000 BC)
The Oldowan6 era is the earliest formally recognized cultural tradition of the Lower Paleolithic and Oldowan tools are the oldest known, appearing first in the Gona and Omo Basins in Ethiopia. They are associated with Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, who primarily gathered fruits and vegetables and scavenged medium and large size game. Possibly, like chimpanzees, they also occasionally killed small game to supplement their diet. Oldowan tools likely came at the end of a long period of opportunistic tool usage: chimpanzees today use rocks, branches, leaves and twigs as tools. The key innovation is the technique of chipping stones to create a chopping or cutting edge. Most Oldowan tools were made by a single blow of one rock against another to create a sharp-edged flake. Flakes7 were used as cutters, probably to dismember game carcasses or to strip tough plants. Stones were also used to break open marrow cavities. And Oldowan deposits include pieces of bone or horn showing scratch marks that indicate they were used as diggers to unearth tubers or insects. Oldowan sites existed simultaneously in Yiron8 (Israel), Kashafrud9 (Iran), Erq-al-Ehmar (Israel), Ubeidya (Israel) and Riwat10 (Pakistan).

ACHEULEAN TRADITION (1,400,000 – 100,000 BC)

3 The African form of erectus. 4 Homo heidelbergensis is an extinct species of hominid that lived from about 500,000 to about 150,000 years ago characterized by having a larger brain than that of Homo erectus.() 5 A primitive hominid resembling Neanderthal man but living in Africa.() 6 Named after the Olduvai Gorge site in northern Tanzania. 7 A small, flat, thin piece, esp. one that has been or become detached from a larger piece or mass.() 8 The oldest occurrence of Oldawan art is in Yiron. 9 Kashafrud Basin provides evidence of the oldest-known human occupation of Iran. 10 The early human colonization of south Asia is represented by stone tool assemblages in the Siwalik Hills at Riwat.

Page 4


The Acheulean11 tradition originated in Sub-Saharan Africa, and early forms of Homo spread the culture out of Africa into the near east, southern and western Europe. They continued with large, medium and small game hunting, scavenging and gathering. By 500,000 years ago the Acheulean methods had penetrated into Europe, primarily associated with Homo heidelbergensis, where they continued until about 200,000 years ago. The industry spread as far as the Near East and India, but apparently never reached east Asia, where Homo erectus continued to use Oldowan tools right up to the time that species went extinct. The tradition is characterized by bifaces i.e. large bifacially flaked stone tools, such as hand axes, cleavers and picks. The most common tool materials were quartzite, glassy lava, chert and flint. Making an Acheulean tool required both strength and skill. The key innovations were • •

chipping the stone from both sides to produce a symmetrical (bifacial) cutting edge the shaping of an entire stone into a recognizable and repeated tool form variation in the tool forms for different tool uses.

Acheulean tools show a regularity of design and manufacture that is maintained for over a million years. This is clear evidence of specialized skills and design criteria that were handed down by explicit socialization within a geographically dispersed human culture.()

Throughout the Lower Palaeolithic, early humans lived mostly in flimsy camps, traces of which are found primarily in open-air sites and river terraces, though some caves were also occupied. In the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic cave-mouths and rock-shelters were far more intensively and extensively used, but people also continued to live in open-air settlements. Caves are natural shelters, offering shade and protection from predators and the elements. Wherever caves were available, prehistoric nomadic hunter-gatherers incorporated them into the yearly cycle of seasonal camps. Most of their activities took place around campfires at the cave mouth, and some caves contain stone walls and pavements providing additional protection from winds and damp. Hunting, particularly of reindeer, horse, red deer, and bison, was important; many caves are situated on valley slopes providing views of routes important in migration of animals.() UBEIDIYA, ISRAEL Ubeidiya is an early paleolithic archaeological site located in the Jordan Valley of Israel, and is one of the oldest hominid sites outside of Africa. Bones found at the site include extinct species of hippopotamus, deer and molluscs; hominid teeth were found at the site, unidentifiable to species. The site consists of several identified 'living floors' of concentrations of Acheulean tools such as handaxes, picks, and bifaces, and pebble-core tools and flake-tools. Homo
11 The Acheulean Tradition gets its name from the site of St. Acheul, France.

Page 5


erectus populations effortlessly shifted their stone tool technology between the production of large cutting tools (picks, handaxes, cleavers, etc.) and pebble-core reduction. HOLON, ISRAEL Excavations at the open-air site of Holon, Israel, have provided a unique perspective on hominin behavior, technology, and subsistence strategies in the Middle East. Late Acheulian tools found use trifacial reduction method. The flakes were not derived from hand axes but rather from core reductions. TABUN CAVE, ISRAEL The Tabun Cave features one of the longest sequences of human occupation in the Levant.The cave dwellers of that time used handaxes of flint or limestone for killing animals (gazelle, hippopotamus, rhinoceros and wild cattle) and for digging out plant roots. Over time, the handaxes became smaller and better shaped, and scrapers made of flint were probably used for scraping meat off bones and for processing animal skins. The large number of fallow deer bones found in the upper layers of the Tabun Cave may be due to the chimney-like opening in the back of the cave which functioned as a natural trap. The animals may have been herded towards it, and fell into the cave where they were butchered. ANATOLIA Traces of human existence found in Anatolia date back to approximately 2 million years ago. Among the main sites in Anatolia are Yarimburgaz, near Istanbul, which humans (homoerectus) occupied from 800,000 BC, and the Karain and Belbaşi caves. Among the finds at the caves are carved stone and bone tools, moveable art objects, remains of the bones and teeth of Homo Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens, burnt and unburned animal and bread fossils. ACHEULIAN IN INDIA Acheulian tools in India compare well with the early Acheulian from other parts of the world. The large cutting tools (especially cleavers but also hand axes) are mostly based on the production of large flakes. Major sites are in Maharashtra (Nevasa, Bori), Karnataka(Isampur, Sadab), Rajasthan (Didwana) and Gujarat (Adi Chadi Wao, Umrethi). Bhimbetka Caves in Madhya Pradesh are another famous example.

Neanderthals, contrary to general opinion, had brains slightly bigger than the modern human’s and walked upright, though they were shorter and more hairy. Their broad noses and jutting foreheads were examples of the adaptations that helped reduce their surface area, and thus conserve heat in the Ice Ages.()

MOUSTARIAN INDUSTRY (2,00,000-40,000 BC)

Page 6


Mousterian12 describes a style of predominantly flint tools (or industry). The Mousterian industry appeared in much the same areas of unglaciated Europe, the Near East and Africa where Acheulean tools appear. In Europe these tools are most closely associated with Homo neanderthalensis, but elsewhere were made by both Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens. The Neanderthals were highly skilled at using tools, and their hands were at least as nimble as ours. Hundreds of sharp, skillfully crafted stone tools were found alongside their bones, including small hand axes, flake tools probably used as knives and toothed instruments produced by making notches in a flake, perhaps used as saws or shaft straighteners. Wooden spears were used to hunt large game such as mammoth and wooly rhinoceros. Scrapers appear for the dressing of animal hides, which were probably used for shoes, clothing, bedding, shelter, and carrying sacks. By this time the entire process had standardized into explicit stages (basic core stone, rough blank, refined final tool). Because tools were combined with other components (handles, spear shafts) and used in wider applications (dressing hides, hunting large game), this technology led to manufacturing activities in other materials. Mousterian tool making procedures made possible the accumulation of physical comforts which imply social organization and stability. They are the first people known to have buried their dead, often leaving ornaments in the graves. This implies that they almost certainly had beliefs, perhaps religious, and maybe even developed societies.

In the Lower Palaeolithic, simple windbreaks or crude huts were erected, but by the Upper Palaeolithic there is evidence for light tents sophisticated huts made of hundreds of animal bones. Stone tools thus also helped them build impressive shelters- the first human houses. TENTS They used tent like shelters made from branches, animal skins and bones. Even in the depths of winter, the tents were snug, their sides buried in the frozen earth and weighted down to prevent them tearing in the icy winds.() PIT HOUSES Many dug pits and covered them with branches, animal skins, and leaves. These structures are one of the most ancient types of human housing known to archeologists. Dugouts can be fully recessed into the earth, with a flat roof covered by ground, or dug into a hillside. They can also be semi-recessed, with a constructed wood or sod13 roof standing out. MOUSTARIAN SITES IN INDIA

12 Named after the site of Le Moustier, a rock shelter in France. 13 Sod or turf is grass and the part of the soil beneath it held together by the roots.

Page 7


The number of Mousterian sites in India are few. In general, however, the middle Palaeolithic populations occupied the same regions and habitats as the preceding Acheulian populations. Examples are Didwana, Rajasthan and Hathnora and Amnapur, Madhya Pradesh. MOUSTARIAN SITES IN THE MIDDLE EAST A dozen or so remains found in the Qafzeh Cave, Israel are the oldest specimens of modern humans in the Near East. Kebara Cave is an Israeli limestone cave locality of the Wadi Kebara. A throat bone called the hyoid, needed for speech, was found in the Neanderthal remains in the cave. This points at the fact that they could speak, but did not have an effective communicative language, which eventually led to their downfall. The cave site of Shanidar is located in the Zagros Mountains of Kurdistan in Iraq. The site provides evidence that the Neanderthals buried their dead, and were ritualistic as well.

Homo Sapiens are the descendents of homo erectus, not homo neanderthalis, and thus emerged out of Africa. The oldest homo sapiens fossils yet found come from Ethiopia.

It was probably a warm interglacial interlude within the Ice Age between about 130,000 and 90,000 years ago, that initially triggered large scale homo sapiens migration across Africa. About 60,000 years ago homo sapiens swept across Asia, displacing the last of the Neanderthals either by depriving them of food, hunting them or maybe occasionally absorbing them into their own species. The first homo sapiens to arrive in Europe walked eastward out of Africa about 50,000 years ago, and then came north via the Middle East.()

The time from about 50,000 years ago has been described as the ‘Great Leap Forward’. Advocates of this theory argue that humans who lived before this time were behaviorally primitive and indistinguishable from other extinct hominids. The Great Leap Forward was concurrent with the extinction of the Neanderthals. They base their evidence on the fact that the complexity of human tools increased dramatically. Bones, tusks and antlers were used for the first time to carve out ornaments as well as to craft useful household items such as needles. The first real jewelry and ceramic pots date from this period, as do the world’s first known sculptures. () According to them, humans of the Acheulean and Mousterian cultures lived in an apparent stasis, experiencing little cultural change. This was followed by a sudden flowering of fine toolmaking, sophisticated weaponry, sculpture, cave painting, body ornaments, and longdistance trade.

Page 8


Throughout the Palaeolithic, humans were hunters, fishers, and gatherers; the early humans (Australopithecus, Homo habilis, and Homo erectus) were probably scavengers rather than hunters. It thus marked the beginnings of communal hunting and extensive fishing, and the first conclusive evidence of belief systems centering on magic and the supernatural come from this time. Sewn clothing was worn, and sculpture and painting originated. Tools were of great variety, including flint and obsidian blades and projectile points. Living as travelers meant that these people had few if any possessions. They had no need for anything but the essential provisions, such as water inside gourds14.

These people hunted and gathered whatever and whenever they needed. There was no need for storage areas or farm buildings. They set up camp at a particular place - characteristic of the period were hunting and fishing settlements along rivers and on lake shores, where fish and molluscs15 were abundant- and when the land was void of fruit and meat they would move on elsewhere, giving the earth a chance to restore, recover and renew. UPPER PALEOLITHIC SITES IN INDIA Due to arid climate and sparse vegetation, human populations faced restricted food resources in this period. This explains the limited number of upper Palaeolithic sites in the arid and semi-arid regions. However, excellent archaeological evidence of this period comes from the Belan and Son valleys in the northern Vindhyas, Chota Nagpur plateau in Bihar, upland Maharashtra, Orissa and from the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh.

About 12,000 years ago, when humans first started to cultivate land and tame wild animals, they ‘hijacked’ the process of natural selection16. Instead of nature selecting the most successful specimens in the wild, humans started to choose, breed, protect and grow those that suited them best.

Compared to the easy life of the hunter, where one decent kill could feed a family for a week, farming was painful and arduous, even more so because crops could be harvested only at

14 Vegetables belonging to the pumpkin family which can be easily hollowed out to make bottles. 15 Any of numerous chiefly marine invertebrates of the phylum Mollusca, typically having a soft unsegmented body, a mantle, and a protective calcareous shell and including the edible shellfish and the snails. () 16 The process by which forms of life having traits that better enable them to adapt to specific environmental pressures, as predators, changes in climate, or competition for food or mates, will tend to survive and reproduce in greater numbers than others of their kind, thus ensuring the perpetuation of those favorable traits in succeeding generations.()

Page 9


certain times of the year. Common sense thus suggests that humans didn’t take up farming because they wanted to, but rather because they needed to. The most recent Ice Age- which had been at its peak about 22,000 years ago- ended about 14,000 years ago and sea levels rose dramatically. Many traditional hunting grounds simply sank beneath the water and rich forests were reduced to barren deserts as patterns of weather and rainfall rapidly changed. One example of how climate changes forced the people into a new life can be seen in the Fertile Crescent17, which was a very fertile and rich land 14,000 years ago. At that time the Natufians settled near the water’s edge around modern day Lebanon. Several Natufian sites have been discovered and excavated in Lebanon, Syria and northern Israel. In a freak of nature, instead of temperatures continuing to rise, the climate suddenly plunged into another Ice Age. This spell, called the Younger Dryas, lasted for about 1,300 years beginning approximately 12,700 years ago. For those living in the Fertile Crescent, not only had their hunting grounds been drowning by rising sea levels, but now a severe drought had also set in. Wild grasses were already an important part of the Natufian diet. Natufians started experimenting with sowing seeds themselves and deliberately clearing the land to make it suitable for cultivating grasses such as wheat, barley and rye. They started storing the best seeds they could find, the biggest and the easiest to harvest. Natufian crop cultivation was the earliest known to history. From the location of seed finds, it seems they planted them on slopes where moisture collected naturally. They then actively managed these hillside terraces and slopes by keeping the weeds and scrub at bay.() Modern archaeologists have also discovered farming tools in the form of picks and sickle blades used for harvesting cereal crops. Alongside these ancient farming implements are pestles, mortars and bowls, all essential instruments for gathering and grinding seeds.

Natufians were also among the first known people to have started domesticating animals- in their case wolves. They bred the wolves into domestic dogs which could help them hunt other animals such as sheep, boar, goats and horses.

Once the Younger Dryas ended, about 11,400 years ago, the climate recovered and the Fertile Crescent again had enough rainfall to support rich, diverse vegetation. But now these people were equipped with new technologies in the form of breeds and seeds that gave them the opportunity to live in a radically different way of life.

17 The area that extends from Egypt, Israel and Syria to as far north as central Turkey, and then down towards the gulf along the Euphrates valley, through Iran and Iraq.

Page 10


Artificial selection allowed people to settle- to live permanently in one place- because all the food they needed could be sourced in one spot. They started to build houses and live in villages all year round. With the advent of farming came the first sedentary lifestyles, and with them massive increases in human populations, the re-sculpting of the earth’s landscape to suit food production and even the beginnings of modern diseases. Hunting and gathering was now becoming a tradition of the past. MESOLITHIC MIDDLE EAST Besides the Natufian culture in the Levant, major Mesolithic settlements were also found in Anatolia. MESOLITHIC INDIA Increased food security during this period led to reduction in nomadism and to seasonally sedentary settlement. This is reflected in the large size of Mesolithic sites, the marked growth in human population, and the presence of large cemeteries. The first human colonization of the Ganga plains took place during this period, as proved by the presence of more than two hundred archaeological sites in Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Varanasi districts of Uttar Pradesh. Similarly, the effective colonization of the deltaic region of West Bengal and West Coast, particularly around Mumbai and in Kerala also took place during this period.

From about 9000 BC permanent new human settlements began to appear throughout the Middle East. The Neolithic18 Age is associated with the beginning of agriculture in a major way, which implies that people started to settle down permanently in one place, thus giving rise to the need of proper, functional dwellings. Villages started to emerge only in this era, due to the sedentary19 lifestyle of the people. Houses using different materials like mud bricks, started coming up, especially in the Levant region. The Middle East served as the source for many animals that could be domesticated, such as goats and pigs. This area was also the first region to domesticate the camel. The presence of these animals gave the region a large advantage in cultural and economic development. As the climate in the Middle East changed, and became drier, many of the farmers were forced to leave, taking their domesticated animals with them. There were certain changes which the Neolithic age brought about. For instance, the average human height went down from 5’ 10" for men and 5' 6" for women to 5' 3" and 5' 1". Also, the population went up drastically, owing to the sedentary lifestyles of the people. Other developments took place in pottery as well as tool making, towards the later part of the Neolithic age (4500 BC onwards). POST-MESOLITHIC/ PRE-POTTERY NEOLITHIC
18 The Neolithic Revolution was the first agricultural revolution—the transition from hunting and gathering communities, to agriculture and settlement.() 19 Lack of movement, stationary

Page 11


URFA Sites like Urfa in Anatolia were the first few where a lot of excavated structures have been found. They include a temple like structure with a lot of symbolism and low-relief sculptures. T shaped huge monoliths are associated with Urfa. Apparently, they are said to represent humans as they have limbs etched on them in low-relief. Also, a basic house module of 2-3 rectangular rooms can be derived from the findings. Use of dry masonry and sewage systems had started. The houses are characterized by thick, multilayered foundations made of large angular cobbles and boulders, the gaps filled with smaller stones so as to provide a relatively even surface to support the superstructure. The sewage system was well developed to and is believed to have another purpose as well – ventilation. The under-floor channels were at right angles to the main axis of the houses, which were covered in stone slabs but open to the sides. They served the drainage, aeration or the cooling of the houses. The people were permanent settlers despite not having started farming. In fact, their main stay was still hunting and gathering food. Votive20 offerings of small clay figurines and other sculptures have also been found. The freestanding anthropomorphic figures of limestone excavated at Nevali Cori belong to the earliest known life-size sculptures. Six miles from Urfa, in southeastern Turkey, startling archaeological discoveries of massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery have been made. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and is believed to be the site of the world's oldest temple. GOBEKLI TEPE Gobekli Tepe sits at the northern edge of the Fertile Crescent—an arc of mild climate and arable land from the Persian Gulf to present-day Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Egypt—and would have attracted hunter-gatherers from Africa and the Levant. Gobekli was a place of worship on an unprecedented scale—humanity's first "cathedral on a hill." () Similarly settlements like Jericho and Ain Ghazal in Jordan too, had rectangular houses with mud-bricks after the 9th century. They had evolved from circular dwellings made of mud brick found in Jericho during the 10th century. Even the walls and floor were plastered. The main utility of structures in these sites was for storage, worship and residing. JERICHO Jericho is the oldest walled town in the world. Its walls were first built around 8,000 BC - just after the start of agriculture. Before Jericho was founded people lived by hunting and also be gathering wild grains. However Jericho is sited on a spring and that enabled people to grow

20 A votive deposit or votive offering is an object left in a sacred place for ritual purposes

Page 12


crops of wheat and barley. They may have also irrigated their crops. Most of its people lived by growing crops although they also hunted animals. The first walls around Jericho were about 2 metres thick at the bottom they were made of boulders laid edge to edge without mortar. Neolithic Jericho probably had a population of about 2,000-3,000 many of whom would have been part-time soldiers. They would have fought with spears and bows and arrows. Jericho must have been wealthy for its people to build such fortifications, the first in the world. When the first walls were built about 8,000 BC pottery had not been invented, so bowls were made of stone. Food was cooked in clay ovens. The people of Jericho traded with their neighbours. Stones found in Neolithic Jericho came from as far away as Turkey showing that long distance trade was already established. Before 6,000 BC the people of Jericho also kept skulls in shrines. The skulls had plaster 'faces' added to them to make them look lifelike and they had cowrie shells in their eye sockets. This shows that the concept of life after death was well-established.() The people of Jericho knew how to make sun dried bricks and they used them to make houses. The houses had their floor levels below ground level, as a result of which they had 2 steps going down to the main floor level at the entry. They knew how to make mortar and used it to plaster walls and floors. Another interesting feature are the benches, which ran all along the walls of the house. AIN GHAZAL Ain Ghazal is renowned for a set of anthropomorphic statues found buried in pits in the vicinity of some special buildings that may have had ritual functions. These statues are halfsize human figures modelled in white plaster around a core of bundled twigs. The figures have painted clothes, hair, and in some cases, ornamental tattoos or body paint. The eyes are created using cowries’ shells with a bitumen pupil Most of the Ain Ghazal people buried some of their dead beneath the floors of their houses, others outside in the surrounding terrain. Of those buried inside, often later the head was retrieved and the skull buried in a separate shallow pit beneath the house floor. Also, many human remains have been found in what appears to be garbage pits, where domestic waste was disposed, indicating that not every deceased was ceremoniously put to rest. Why only a small, selected portion was properly buried and the majority just disposed of, remains unresolved.(). One possibility is social differences, though this is unlikely because such differences had not crept into society until much later. The people of Ain Ghazal had started farming legumes, chickpeas etc, to a small extent. They also domesticated goats. However, agriculture only caught on properly in the 7th century BC, with the Jarmo culture. The walls of the houses actually had lime plaster on the inside and mud plaster on the outside. Ain Ghazal had a population to the effect of about 3000 people. The population dropped majorly in 6500 BC, possibly owing to environmental degradation and climate change.
Page 13


POTTERY NEOLITHIC Pottery and tool making became more and more important around the 5 th century BC. However, they are present even in slightly earlier settlements like Jarmo in Iraq and Catalhayuk (or Catalhoyuk) in Anatolia. JARMO, IRAQ Due to the development of advanced stone tools that could be used for agriculture, farming became a way of life for the Jarmo people and hence it is known as the oldest agricultural community. Agricultural activity is attested by the presence of stone sickles, cutters, bowls and other objects, for harvesting, preparing and storing food, and also by receptacles of engraved marble. They made tools out of bones and used them as awls21, spoons; beads etc. pottery was handmade, simply designed with thick sides, treated with vegetable solvents. Further research has shown that the villagers of Jarmo grew wheat of two types, emmer and einkorn, a type of primitive barley and lentils (it is common to record the domestication of grains, less so of pulses). Their diet and that of their animals, also included species of wild plant, peas, acorns, carob seeds, pistachios and wild wheat. There is evidence that they had domesticated goats, sheep and dogs. On the higher levels of the site pigs have been found, together with the first evidence of pottery. They grew many types of crops and domesticated various animals. Architecturally speaking, they were pretty advanced and had proper foundations, tauf walls, and reed bedding. There are clay figures, zoomorphic or anthropomorphic, including figures of pregnant women (fertility goddesses) similar to the Mother Goddess found across the globe in many cultures. ÇATAL HAÝUK, TURKEY Catalhayuk is one of the best known Neolithic cities of Anatolia, renowned for its unique architecture. The site ruins represent a village of 300 mud b rick and plaster residences, one of the earliest villages found to date. The site was occupied from about 6300-5500 BC, and its most striking and famous feature are the shrines, shrines dedicated to what has been called the "Mother Goddess." Mud-brick houses were crammed together in an agglutinative manner. No footpaths or streets were used between dwellings, which were accessed by holes in the ceiling, and were reached by interior and exterior ladders.() The residences were accessed through the roof, into main rooms, each about 20x13 feet (6x4 m). The floors of the rooms were lime-plastered, and covered with reed mats. The walls of the main rooms were painted with red-colored panels, touched up over time. Built-in benches and platforms lined the walls; small niches and ovens were carved into them. Indoor grain bins were associated with some of the residences. Figurines were recovered from several of these seemingly utilitarian rooms. Non-utilitarian rooms were also present; they are apparently shrines. Elaborate wall paintings and displays of objects including decorated animal skulls were found in these rooms.()
21 a long pointed spike

Page 14


Catalhayuk was ahead of its time in terms of the tools that have been found there. Stone tools include delicately chipped arrow points, spearheads, and daggers; ground stone tools included mortars, pestles, querns, axes, adzes and the like. Bone tools have been recovered from the site as well, including awls, needles, hairpins, knife handles; wooden bowls and woven baskets have also been recovered. Ceramic vessels have also been recovered from all levels. Women predominate as the subjects of the art, but cattle, goats and other animal figurines are not uncommon either. Vivid murals and figurines are found throughout the settlement, on interior and exterior walls. The mother goddess has been depicted in abundance in terms of paintings as well as sculptures. As society progressed, there also seemed to be an increase in the belief of superstitions like afterlife etc. For instance the people of Catalhayuk believed in afterlife, and hence the burial was an elaborate affair where all the belongings of the deceased were buried along with him. MEHRGARH, PAKISTAN Mehrgarh, located in Baluchistan, Pakistan is one of the most important sites in the Indian context. It is considered as India’s earliest agriculture based community, dating back to around 7000 BC. The absence of early residential structures has been interpreted by some as further evidence of the site’s early occupation by mobile early humans possible travelling through the nearby pass seasonally(). As agriculture developed, the need to settle down arose, and permanent dwellings were made. The excavated houses were made of mud and mud-bricks. Multiple rooms without doors are believed to have been used for storing grain. This is quite similar to the construction techniques in other civilizations like Jarmo, Catalhayuk or even Jericho, for that matter. The domesticated animals comprise cattle, sheep, goat and waterbuffalo while the cultivated plants comprise several varieties of wheat and barley which is again, very similar to the Middle Eastern civilizations. There is evidence of extensive use of timber in the construction of houses, which is not the case with Middle Eastern civilizations, due to paucity of wood. Female terracotta figurines with pendulous breasts and stamped seals of terracotta and bone have been found. The mother goddess of Catalhayuk and these figurines are on the same lines, another similarity. The mother goddess or the goddess of fertility is seen across civilizations and millennia, in the form of paintings, sculptures and figurines. Figures of the mother goddess have been found in Cultures like Sumerian, Anatolian, Germanic, Greek and even in Hindu texts. The pottery of Mehrgarh was earlier hand made after which the wheel was introduced. However, Middle Eastern pottery is mostly only handmade. The discovery of a copper ring and a bead show the emergence of metal technology in Mehrgarh. The early Mehrgarh
Page 15


residents used local copper ore, basket containers lined with bitumen, and an array of bone tools. It was found that the people of Mehrgarh actually knew about dentistry and were quite advanced in it. Mehrgarh is now seen as a precursor to the Indus Valley Civilization. JHUSI The Neolithic phase at Jhusi is characterised by handmade pottery, bone tools and arrowheads, stone tools. A big structure that might have been used as hearth-cum-pottery-kiln has also been found, somewhat like Jarmo, Iraq. Recently a site near the confluence of Ganges and Yamuna rivers called Jhusi yielded a C14 dating of 7100 BC for its Neolithic levels. Historically, Jhusi was known as Prathisthanpuram. LAHURADEWA Lahuradewa, being present on the Ganga plain has extremely fertile soil. It is considered to have become a settlement because of the fact that agriculture was well supported by the soil as well as because of the presence of sufficient amount of water bodies. The continuous occurrence of micro charcoal in the lakebeds justifiably mitigates the human activities that persistently set fire to the vegetation in the area during past ca. 10,000 years. Palynological studies from lakebeds helped in reconstruction of vegetational history, sequential changes in the climate and early agricultural activities from early Holocene and

onwards in Middle Ganga Plain. The human groups at that early date, who subjected the vegetation to fire for environmental management, were those who brought into being a settled early farming culture at Lahuradewa – characterized by cord-impressed pottery. Primordially, the record of domesticated rice in the opening phase of Lahuradewa settlement, prima facie constitutes the evidence of early Holocene agriculture in Middle Ganga Plain. A certain kind of rice called Oryza sativa was grown widely. Intact rice grains and occasional finds of rachis and the husk pieces conform morphologically to those of existing domesticated forms of Oryza sativa, right from the opening phase of occupation during 7th millennium BC. (). The cultivated type of rice is a culmination due to manipulations by hunter-gatherers living in this area for thousands of years prior to the early farming communities. There is a strong possibility that people have been living in Ganga Plain since late Palaeolithic and interacted with the communities living in Vindhyas, Himalayas and other areas.() The settlers made wattle-and-daub dwellings having mud plastered screens made of reed like material. Aquatic fauna formed a considerable proportion of their subsistence economy. Also, these people were interacting directly or indirectly with distant regions to procure steatite/steatite beads and beads made of semiprecious stones.
Page 16


The art of ceramics and clay artifacts was also present, as indicated by the excavations.

The Chalcolithic period or Copper Age period (also known as the Eneolithic period), is a phase in the development of human culture in which the use of early metal tools appeared alongside the use of stone tools. The period is a transitional one outside of the traditional three-age system, and occurs between the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Copper was not widely exploited at first and efforts in alloying it with tin and other metals began quite early, making distinguishing the distinct Chalcolithic cultures and later periods difficult. The boundary between the copper and bronze ages is indistinct, since alloys sputtered in and out of use due to the erratic supply of tin. The emergence of metallurgy occurred first in the Fertile Crescent, where it gave rise to the Bronze Age in the 4th millennium BC. European archaeology generally avoids the use of 'Chalcolithic' (they prefer the term 'Copper Age'), while Middle-Eastern archaeologists regularly use it. The Copper Age in the Middle East and the Caucasus began in the late 5th millennium BC and lasted for about a millennium before it gave rise to the Early Bronze Age. Transition from the European Copper Age to the European Bronze Age occurred about a millennium after it did in the Middle East. Ceramic similarities between the Indus Civilization, southern Turkmenistan, and northern Iran during 4300–3300 BC of the Chalcolithic period suggest considerable mobility and trade amongst these regions.

In India, the earliest settlements belonging to the Chalcolithic phase extended from the Chhotanagpur plateau to the copper Gangetic basin. Some sites were found at Brahmagiri near Mysore and Navada Toli on the Narmada. The transition from use of stone to the use of metals was slow and long drawn. There is no doubt that there was an overlapping period when both stone and metals were used. This is proved by the close resemblance of metallic tools and implements with stone tools and implements from the same time. The Chalcolithic age or stone-copper age of India produced a splendid civilization in the Indus Valley, a civilization that slowly spread to the neighbouring regions. The economy of the Chalcolithic Indians was based on subsistence agriculture, stock-raising, hunting and fishing. Their tools consisted of a specialized blade and flake of salacious material like chalcedony and chert. Copper and bronze tools were present, albeit in limited numbers. Varied cultures spread across a wide region shared the common characteristic of painted pottery. Another striking feature was the burial practice for the dead. The dead were buried in northsouth position in Maharashtra but in east-west position in south India. In eastern India, only a fraction of population buried their dead.
Page 17


The largest settlement was found at a town called Diamabad, which, along with places like Inamagaon exhibit ‘town like’ characteristics. Inamagaon even has evidence of town planning. Evidence of Fortification first appears in the sites at Nagada, Inamagaon, Diamabad and Balathal. Evidence of baked brickwork has been found in Gilund, while the town of Ahar is believed to have had stone dwellings, where microliths have also been discovered. All dwellings dating back to this period in India were chiefly circular and rectangular. Flat copper axes have been found at the excavation sites at Jorwey and Chandoli. The chief crop of the Chalcolithic Indians living in the river basins was barley, although evidence of rice cultivation has been found at Inamgaon. Fire altars and workshops were prevalent during these times and an inner funeral system existed. Crafts during this time were mainly seen in different types of pottery found in different parts of the country. Red ware was found in Ahar, deep red ware in Kayatha, deep brown and black ware in Malwa, pictographic red and black ware in Saalda, Jorwey, and Prabhas, and finally polished red ware in Rangpur.

The characteristics of the Chalcolithic Age in the Middle East can be understood by focusing on a few sites of human settlement dating back to this period. HACILAR Hacilar was an early human settlement in southwestern Turkey, 25 km southwest of present day Burdur. It dated back to 7040 BC in its earliest stage of development. Archaeological remains indicate that the site was abandoned and reoccupied on more than one occasion in its history. Housing in Hacilar consisted of grouped units surrounding an inner courtyard. Each dwelling was built on a foundation of stone to protect against water damage. Walls were made of wood and daub or mud-brick that was mortared with lime. Wooden poles were located within each unit to support a flat roof. It is generally believed that these houses had an upper story made of wood. The interiors were finished smooth with plaster and were rarely painted. Over time changes were made to the housing units; Querns, braziers and mortars appeared in the floors. Recesses in walls were also put to good use as cupboards. The kitchen was separated from the living rooms and the upper levels were used as granaries and/or workshops. BEYCESULTAN Beycesultan is another archaeological site in western Anatolia, located about 5 km southwest of the modern-day city of Çiyril in Turkey, in a bend of an old tributary of Büyük Menderes River (Maeander River). Beycesultan was occupied by humans for long period of timebetween the Late Chalcolithic and the Late Bronze Age (Hittite Empire) and then also in the Byzantine period. Excavations began in 1954 and a Byzantine town was found first. Soon after, the excavators uncovered initial finds of even larger interest. The Hittite section of Beycesultan possibly corresponds to the city of Astarpa, known from Mursilis II's annals.
Page 18


The excavators reported the finding of a row of small houses that had been destroyed by fire, along with champagne-glass pottery. There was also a palace whose plan suggested a hint of a similarity to the Minoan Palace at Knossos, which was well-looted upon its destruction: The arrangement of spaces in the palace suggested an elaborate lifestyle. At one entrance of the palace was a kind of bathroom, where visitors washed themselves before making their bows at court. There was one odd feature of the inner chambers: floors were raised about a yard above the ground. Beneath these floors were small passages. They suggest air ducts of a heating system, but nothing of the sort is known to have existed until 1,000 years later. Outside the palace, the most interesting feature was a row of little shops. One was a Bronze Age pub with sunken vats for the wine supply aided by a lavish supply of glasses for serving the customers. It also had knucklebones, a gambling game commonly played amongst people of the region. ALIŞAR HÖYÜK The archaeological site of Alişar Höyük is situated near the village of Alişar in the Yozgat of Turkey. The site was inhabited from the Chalcolithic period in the fourth millennium BC until the Phrygian period in the first millennium BC. During the Early and Middle Bronze Age in the third millennium BC Alişar developed into a walled town. Eventually it became the most significant city in the region. Like Kanesh to the south, it was a center for trade attracting merchants from Assyria at the beginning of the second millennium BC. The city was then destroyed; probably due to the conquest by the semi-legendary Hittite king Anitta. He is said to have conquered the city of Kussar which can be identified with Alişar Hüyük. The Hittites later shifted their capital to Hattusa in the north. By the Hittite empire period 1400-1200 BC Alişar was nothing but a small provincial town probably known as Ankuwa. Like most Hittite settlements it was burnt and destroyed at the end of the Late Bronze Age in the twelfth century BC, although the Phrygians later occupied the site.

The Bronze Age of a culture is that period in its evolution when the most advanced metalworking (at least in systematic and widespread use) of that culture utilized the alloy bronze. This could either have been based on the local smelting of copper and tin from ores, or trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. Many Bronze Age cultures flourished in prehistoric times. Naturally occurring ores for bronze during this period typically included arsenic as a common impurity. Copper/tin ores were rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in western Asia before 3000 BC. The Bronze Age is regarded as the second part of the three-age system for prehistoric societies, though there were some cultures that had extensive written records during their Bronze Ages. In this system, in most areas of the world the Bronze Age followed the Neolithic age, and the Chalcolithic Age was just a period of transition.

Page 19


In Ancient Egypt, the Bronze Age begins in the Protodynastic period, c. 3150 BC. The Early Bronze Age included the Early Dynastic Period, the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period of Egypt. The Egyptian Middle Bronze Age corresponded with the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt (characterized by the invasion of the Hyksos). The advent of the New Kingdom of Egypt heralded the Late Bronze Age. LEVANT In the Levant region, the Bronze Age occurred chronologically in the Ebla (Early Bronze Age), the Amorite kingdoms (Middle Bronze Age) and thereafter in Mitanni, Ugarit and with the Aramaens (Late Bronze Age). ANATOLIA Bronze Age Anatolia included a number of city states and empires, including the Hittite Kingdom, Arzawa and Assuwa. PERSIAN PLATEAU In the Persian Plateau, the Bronze Age cities included Elam, Konar Sandal, the Kulli Culture, Tappeh Sialk, and the Oxus Civilization. MESOPOTAMIA Mesopotamia is a name for the Tigris–Euphrates region in the eastern Mediterranean, largely corresponding to Iraq, as well as northeastern Syria, some parts of southeastern Turkey, and some parts of the Khūzestān Province of southwestern Iran. In Mesopotamia, the Bronze Age begins at about 2900 BC in the late Uruk period, spanning the Early Dynastic period of Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, the Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian periods and the period of Kassite hegemony. Widely considered as the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires. In the Iron Age, it was ruled by the Neo-Assyrian Empire and Neo-Babylonian Empire, and later conquered by the Achaemenid Empire.

Chalcolithic or Copper age: ○ Ubaid period (ca. 5900 BCE–4400 BCE) ○ Uruk period (ca. 4400 BCE–3200 BCE) ○ Jemdet Nasr period (ca. 3100 BCE–2900 BCE) Early Bronze Age ○ Early Dynastic Sumerian city-states (ca. 2900 BCE–2350 BCE) ○ Akkadian Empire (ca. 2350 BCE–2193 BCE). ○ Third dynasty of Ur ("Sumerian Renaissance" or "Neo-Sumerian Period") (ca. 2119 BCE–2004 BCE) Middle Bronze Age ○ Early Assyrian kingdom (20th to 18th c. BCE) ○ First Babylonian Dynasty (18th to 17th c. BCE) Late Bronze Age ○ Kassite dynasty, Middle Assyrian period (16th to 12th c. BCE)
Page 20


Bronze Age collapse (12th to 11th c. BCE)

ARCHITECTURE OF BRONZE AGE MESOPOTAMIA The study of ancient Mesopotamian architecture is based on the available archaeological evidence, pictorial representation of buildings and texts on building practices. Scholarly literature usually concentrates on temples, palaces, city walls and gates and other monumental buildings, but occasionally there are works on residential architecture as well. Archaeological surface surveys also allow for the study of urban form in early Mesopotamian cities. Most notably known architectural remains from early Mesopotamia are the temple complexes at Uruk from the 4th millennium BC, and temples and palaces from the Early Dynastic period sites. Middle Bronze Age evidence is confined to the SyrianTurkish sites. Late Bronze Age palaces at are at Bogazkoy (Hattusha), Ugarit, Ashur and Nuzi, and at Assyrian, Babylonian , and Neo-Hittite sites. Houses are mostly known from Old Babylonian remains at Nippur and Ur. Among the textual sources on building construction and associated rituals, Gudea's cylinders from the late 3rd millennium BC are notable, as well as the Assyrian and Babylonian royal inscriptions. The materials used to build a Mesopotamian house were the same as those used today: mud brick, mud plaster and wooden doors, which were all naturally available around the city, although wood could not be naturally made workable during the particular time period described. Most houses had a square center room with other rooms attached to it, but a great variation in the size and materials used to build the houses suggest they were built by the inhabitants themselves. The smallest rooms may not have coincided with the poorest people; in fact it could be that the poorest people built houses out of perishable materials such as reeds on the outside of the city, but there is very little direct evidence for this. The palaces of the early Mesopotamian elites were large scale complexes, and were often lavishly decorated. Earliest examples are known from the Diyala River valley sites such as Khafajah and Tell Asmar. These third millennium BC palaces functioned as a large scale socio-economic institutions; therefore, along with residential and private function, they housed craftsmen workshops, food storehouses, ceremonial courtyards, and often associated with shrines. Assyrian palaces have become famous due to the pictorial and textual narrative programs on their walls, all carved on stone slabs known as orthostats. These pictorial programs either incorporated cultic scenes or the narrative accounts of the kings' military and civic accomplishments. Gates and important passageways were flanked with massive stone sculpture of apotropaic mythological figures. The architectural arrangement of these palaces was also organized around large and small courtyards. Usually the king's throne room opened to a massive ceremonial courtyard where important state councils met, state ceremonies performed. Massive amounts of ivory furniture pieces were found in many Assyrian palaces pointing out an intense trade relationship with North Syrian Neo-Hittite states at the time. There is also good evidence that bronze repousse bands decorated the wooden gates.
Page 21


Ziggurats were huge pyramidal temple towers built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley and western Iranian plateau, having the form of a terraced step pyramid of successively receding stories or levels. There are 32 ziggurats known at, and near, Mesopotamia. Twenty-eight of them are in Iraq, and four of them are in Iran. Ziggurats were built by the Sumerians, Babylonians, Elamites and Assyrians as monuments to local religions. The earliest examples of the ziggurat were raised platforms that date from the Ubaid period during the fourth millennium BC, and the latest date from the 6th century BC. The top of the ziggurat was flat, unlike many pyramids. Built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval, or square platform, the ziggurat was a pyramidal structure. Sun-baked bricks made up the core of the ziggurat with facings of fired bricks on the outside. The facings were often glazed in different colors and may have had astrological significance. Kings sometimes had their names engraved on these glazed bricks. The number of tiers ranged from two to seven, with a shrine or temple at the summit. Access to the shrine was provided by a series of ramps on one side of the ziggurat or by a spiral ramp from base to summit. It has been suggested that ziggurats were built to resemble mountains, but there is little textual or archaeological evidence to support that hypothesis. Ur-Nammu's ziggurat at Ur was designed as a three-stage construction; today only two of these survive. This entire mudbrick core structure was originally given a facing of baked brick envelope set in bitumen, circa 2.5 m on the first lowest stage, and 1.15 m on the second. Each of these baked bricks was stamped with the name of the king. The sloping walls of the stages were buttressed. The access to the top was by means of a triple monumental staircase, which all converged at a portal that opened on a landing between the first and second stages. The height of the first stage was about 11 m while the second stage rose some 5.7 m. Usually a third stage is reconstructed by the excavator of the ziggurat, and crowned by a temple. At the Tschoga Zanbil ziggurat archaeologists have found massive reed ropes that ran across the core of the ziggurat structure and tied together the mudbrick mass. The Mesopotamians lived a similar lifestyle to the Marsh Arabs, who live on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. During the rain bringing season sometimes the rivers would partially flood the land, so only the highest points or dirt mounds would not be covered with water. If this happened then the Mesopotamians would have to use boats to go to other people’s houses or to outside of the flooding areas. The river affected Mesopotamian life in many different ways. The Mesopotamians had complex and intricate ways of farming. They would use canals (which they often had to repair and re-dig) to irrigate during the dry season. The Mesopotamians had bucket lifting devices to move water between different levels in the canals and to bring water to the crops. The irrigation was counted on so crops could grow and the crops would be enough food to last through the winter. Irrigation in Mesopotamia played an important role. The Mesopotamians were the first people to invent writing, or an alphabet. At the beginning, writing was simple, a picture to show what you wanted to show. Eventually writing evolved to complex cuneiform. There were hundreds of letters in the cuneiform alphabet. The language Mesopotamians spoken was called Sumerian. Cuneiform has been adapted for use with Akkadian, Babylonian, Persian, and many other languages.
Page 22


Farmers grew food to feed the people of Mesopotamia, but the wealth of the cities of Mesopotamia came from merchants and craftspeople. The Mesopotamians placed great value on commerce. Mesopotamia didn’t have many natural resources, so they traded mostly grain and textiles. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers were responsible for getting the goods to and from Mesopotamia. They traded goods as far as Africa, Asia, and Europe. Mesopotamia didn’t use coins, but standards based on the weight of silver and grains were established. Money from taxes helped a program to build a bridge across the Euphrates river to trade even more. Without trade Mesopotamia would have easily failed. Mesopotamians created the first wheeled vehicles in about 3500 B.C.E. They first used the wheel to make wheel – thrown pottery and then in Uruk, while trying to figure out how to carry a heavy load of goods a man created a sort of wheel. He placed a block of wood on a log and used it to pull his goods. EBLA Ebla was an ancient city about 55 km (34 mi) southwest of Aleppo. It was an important citystate in two periods, first in the late third millennium BC, then again between 1800 and 1650 BC. The site is most famous for the archive of about 15,000 cuneiform tablets found there, dated from around 2250 BC, written in Sumerian script to record the Eblaite language — a previously unknown Semitic language. The name "Ebla" means "White Rock", and refers to the limestone outcrop on which the city was built. Eblamite is a hybrid cuneiform of Ebri/Hebrew and Sumerian. Although the site shows signs of continuous occupation from before 3000 BC, its power grew and reached its apogee in the second half of the following millennium. Ebla's first apogee was between ca. 2400 and 2240 BC; its name is mentioned in texts from Akkad from ca. 2300 BC. Most of the Ebla palace tablets, which date from that period, are about economic matters; they provide a good look into the everyday life of the inhabitants, as well as many important insights into the cultural, economic, and political life in northern Mesopotamia around the middle of the third millennium B.C. The texts are accounts of the state revenues, but they also include royal letters, Sumerian-Eblaite dictionaries, school texts and diplomatic documents, like treaties between Ebla and other towns of the region. At that time, Ebla was a major commercial center. Its major commercial rival was Mari, and Ebla is suspected in having a hand in Mari's first destruction. The tablets reveal that the city's inhabitants owned about 200,000 head of mixed cattle (sheep, goats, and cows). The city's main articles of trade were probably timber from the nearby mountains (and perhaps from Lebanon), and textiles (mentioned in Sumerian texts from the city-state of Lagash). Most of its trade seems to have been directed towards Mesopotamia (chiefly Kish), and contacts with Egypt are attested by pottery fragments with the names of pharaohs Khafreh and Pepi I. Handicrafts may also have been a major export: exquisite artifacts have been recovered from the ruins, including wood furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl and composite statues created from different colored stones. The artistic style at Ebla may have influenced the quality work of the Akkadian empire.

Page 23


The form of government at Ebla is not well known, but the city appears to have been ruled by a merchant aristocracy who elected a king and entrusted the city's defense to paid soldiers. 3rd millennium Ebla was a polytheistic society.Some well-known Semitic deities appear at Ebla, alongside some otherwise unknown ones , plus a few Sumerian gods and Hurrian gods. The four city gates were named after the gods Dagan, Baal (Hadda), Rasap, and Utu. Overall, about forty deities are mentioned in the tablets as receiving sacrifices. Three versions of a text described as an Eblaite creation hymn have been found. They have been translated as: Lord of heaven and earth: the earth was not, you created it, the light of day was not, you created it, the morning light you had not [yet] made exist. These lines seem to have points in common both with known Sumerian creation stories and with the Biblical account. Sargon of Akkad and his grandson Naram-sin, the conquerors of much of Mesopotamia, each claim to have destroyed Ebla; the exact date of destruction is the subject of continuing debate, but 2240 BC is a probable candidate. During the next three centuries, Ebla was able to regain some economic importance in the region, but never reached its former glory. It is possible the city had economic ties with the nearby city of Urshu, as is documented by economic texts from Drehem (a suburb of Nippur), and from findings in Kanesh. Several centuries after its destruction by the Akkadians, Ebla managed to recover some of its importance, and had a second apogee lasting from ca. 1850 to 1600 BC. Its people were then described as Amorites. Ebla is mentioned in texts from Alalakh from ca. 1750 BC. The city was destroyed again in the turbulent period of 1650 – 1600 BC, by a Hittite king (Mursili I or Hattusili I). Ebla never recovered from its second destruction. The city continued as a small village until the 7th century AD, then was deserted and forgotten until its archaeological rediscovery. CONCLUSION Even though humans evolved in Africa, it is the Middle East where civilization first developed. The Middle East acted as a sort of super highway connecting Africa and Eurasia. Middle East was inhabited not just by the homo sapiens but also by earlier species such as the homo habilis, homo erectus and homo neanderthalis. It pioneered the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer groups to large community settlements. With the evolution of humans, their shelters also evolved. Sedentary lifestyle and much better tools meant that dwellings advanced from the most basic cave and pit dwellings to large mud and stone structures. The Middle East is where farming first developed, and
Page 24


animals were first domesticated. Pottery, jewelry and elaborate burial traditions also stemmed in this region. This far back in time, there was hardly any difference in the lifestyles of early humans, whether in the Middle East or India. In the same time periods, contemporary sites in both regions were occupied by the same species who utilized the same tools and technologies. This means that despite the geographical variations, civilizations in general progressed at the same pace, with perhaps minor differences.

Page 25


(n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from (n.d.). Retrieved from (2003). Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Standard . Lloyd, C. (2009). What on Earth Happened? ...In Brief. Bloomsbury. Misra, V. Prehistoric human colonization of India. Reader’s Digest Vanished Civilizations. (2002). The Readers’ Digest Association Ltd. Saraswati research and education trust. (n.d.).

Page 26

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer: Get 4 months of Scribd and The New York Times for just $1.87 per week!

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times