This is an in-depth treatment of the antecedents and first flourescence of early state and urban societies in lowland Mesopotamia over nearly three millennia, from approximately 5000 to 2100 BC. The approach is explicitly anthropological, drawing on contemporary theoretical perspectives to enrich our understanding of the ancient Mesopotamian past. It explores the ways people of different genders and classes contributed and responded to political, economic, and ideological changes. The interpretations are based on studies of regional settlement patterns, faunal remains, artifact distributions and activity patterning, iconography, texts and burials.
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Abandonment Abu Salabikh activities Akkadian period alluvial lowlands alluvial plains ancient Mesopotamia archaeological archaeologists artifacts Asmar Bernbeck Bisutun buildings bullae caprids cemeteries changes cities city-states clay communities construction contexts cuneiform deities Delougaz differential Early Dynastic period Earthen pit economic Englund Eridu Euphrates evidence excavations fourth millennium Gelb gender goddess grave households houses ideology important Inanna inscriptions Iran irrigation Jemdet Nasr Jemdet Nasr period Khafajah labor Lagash land Late Ubaid Late Uruk material meat meters monumental Naram-Sin Nippur Nippur-Adab region Nissen oikoi oikos onager pigs political Pollock population Postgate pottery principal production proportions protocuneiform Rawlinson Razuk residents river Sargon scholars seals settlement patterns sheep and goats Shuruppak social society southern Mesopotamia southwestern Iran suggests Sumerian Susa Susiana Susiana Plain tablets Temple Oval texts third millennium tion tokens Tombs tribute Ubaid period urban Uruk period Uruk region wool writing Zagros Zagros Mountains