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Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of CivilizationThe Evolution of an Urban Landscape$
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Guillermo Algaze

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226013770

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226013787.001.0001

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Factors Hindering Our Understanding of the Sumerian Takeoff

Factors Hindering Our Understanding of the Sumerian Takeoff

(p.11) CHAPTER TWO Factors Hindering Our Understanding of the Sumerian Takeoff
Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization
University of Chicago Press

This chapter details available evidence that bears on the initial emergence of urban civilization in the Mesopotamian alluvium. It outlines important conceptual and methodological problems that hinder our understanding of the role of economic processes leading to that emergence and that, if left uncorrected, may well limit the kinds of future research that are needed to understand fully the Sumerian takeoff. These limitations will ultimately only be circumvented by a substantial amount of imaginative and carefully designed new research, and some possible avenues of investigation toward this end are suggested in the epilogue. However, it may be possible to look at existing data with new eyes by framing them in the context of pertinent models of modern urban growth derived from the work of economists and economic geographers.

Keywords:   urban civilization, Mesopotamia, alluvium, economic process, Sumerian civilization

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