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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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Early Mesopotamia Urbanism: How?

Early Mesopotamia Urbanism: How?

Chapter:
(p.64) CHAPTER FIVE Early Mesopotamia Urbanism: How?
Source:
Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226013787.003.0005

This chapter presents a speculative scenario to account for how the Sumerian takeoff could have resulted, in part, out of evolving, long-term trade patterns that ultimately favored the development of societies in the alluvial lowlands of Mesopotamia over that of polities in neighboring regions. This trade was, at first, largely internal and took place principally between individual southern polities exploiting rich but localized ecological niches within the Mesopotamian alluvium during the Late Ubaid and Early Uruk periods. By the Middle and Late Uruk periods, however, external trade between growing southern cities and societies at their periphery in control of coveted resources gained more prominence. As the exchange unfolded over time and as its scale and external scope increased, import substitution processes expanded economic activity in growing Uruk centers and fueled large-scale immigration to those centers and their immediate dependencies.

Keywords:   Sumerian takeoff, trade, Mesopotamia, Uruk periods, import substation, economic activity, immigration

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