Sumer is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia, modern-day southern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze ages, one of the first civilizations in the world along with Ancient Egypt and the Indus Valley. Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumerian farmers were able to grow an abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus of which enabled them to settle in one place. Prehistoric proto-writing dates back before 3000 BC; the earliest texts, from c. 3300 BC, come from the cities of Jemdet Nasr. Modern historians have suggested that Sumer was first permanently settled between c. 5500 and 4000 BC by a West Asian people who spoke the Sumerian language, an agglutinative language isolate. These prehistoric people are now called "proto-Euphrateans" or "Ubaidians", are theorized to have evolved from the Samarra culture of northern Mesopotamia; the Ubaidians, though never mentioned by the Sumerians themselves, are assumed by modern-day scholars to have been the first civilizing force in Sumer.
They drained the marshes for agriculture, developed trade, established industries, including weaving, metalwork and pottery. Some scholars contest the idea of a Proto-Euphratean language or one substrate language. Reliable historical records begin much later. Juris Zarins believes the Sumerians lived along the coast of Eastern Arabia, today's Persian Gulf region, before it was flooded at the end of the Ice Age. Sumerian civilization took form in the Uruk period, continuing into the Jemdet Nasr and Early Dynastic periods. During the 3rd millennium BC, a close cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians, who spoke a language isolate, Akkadians, which gave rise to widespread bilingualism; the influence of Sumerian on Akkadian is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the 3rd millennium BC as a Sprachbund. Sumer was conquered by the Semitic-speaking kings of the Akkadian Empire around 2270 BC, but Sumerian continued as a sacred language.
Native Sumerian rule re-emerged for about a century in the Third Dynasty of Ur at 2100–2000 BC, but the Akkadian language remained in use. The Sumerian city of Eridu, on the coast of the Persian Gulf, is considered to have been one of the oldest cities, where three separate cultures may have fused: that of peasant Ubaidian farmers, living in mud-brick huts and practicing irrigation; the term Sumerian is the common name given to the ancient non-Semitic-speaking inhabitants of Mesopotamia by the East Semitic-speaking Akkadians. The Sumerians referred to themselves as ùĝ saĝ gíg ga, phonetically /uŋ saŋ ɡi ɡa/ meaning "the black-headed people", to their land as ki-en-gi, meaning "place of the noble lords"; the Akkadian word Shumer may represent the geographical name in dialect, but the phonological development leading to the Akkadian term šumerû is uncertain. Hebrew Shinar, Egyptian Sngr, Hittite Šanhar, all referring to southern Mesopotamia, could be western variants of Shumer. In the late 4th millennium BC, Sumer was divided into many independent city-states, which were divided by canals and boundary stones.
Each was centered on a temple dedicated to the particular patron god or goddess of the city and ruled over by a priestly governor or by a king, intimately tied to the city's religious rites. The five "first" cities, said to have exercised pre-dynastic kingship "before the flood": Eridu Bad-tibira Larsa Sippar Shuruppak Other principal cities: Minor cities: Kuara Zabala Kisurra Marad Dilbat Borsippa Kutha Der Eshnunna Nagar 2 Apart from Mari, which lies full 330 kilometres north-west of Agade, but, credited in the king list as having "exercised kingship" in the Early Dynastic II period, Nagar, an outpost, these cities are all in the Euphrates-Tigris alluvial plain, south of Baghdad in what are now the Bābil, Diyala, Wāsit, Dhi Qar, Basra, Al-Muthannā and Al-Qādisiyyah governorates of Iraq; the Sumerian city-states rose to power during the prehistoric Uruk periods. Sumerian written history reaches back to the 27th century BC and before, but the historical record remains obscure until the Early Dynastic III period, c. the 23rd century BC, when a now deciphered syllabary writing system was developed, which has allowed archaeologists to read contemporary records and inscriptions.
Classical Sumer ends with the rise of the Akkadian Empire in the 23rd century BC. Following the Gutian period, there was a brief Sumerian Renaissance in the 21st century BC, cut short in the 20th century BC by invasions by the Amorites; the Amorite "dynasty of Isin"
The Ural pictograms are prehistoric pictograms in Ural dated to 3,000—2,000 years BC and located along the coasts of Tagil River, Neyva River, Rezh River, Yurozan River and some other sites. The color of the pictograms is different, varying from ochre mixed up with blood, to lilac and brown, while the thickness is between 10 and 20 mm; the existence of the Ural characters was known long ago. Peter the Great in 1699 ordered the scrivener Yakov Losyov to make an exact copy; the Ural pictograms span for about 800 km from north to south. The northernmost ones were found on the rivers Kolva and Vishera, while the southernmost ones were detected at Belaya River; the majority of Ural pictograms, were discovered along the Tagil River. The Ural pictograms are tied to the Finno-Ugric peoples; the pictograms were painted by finger or some tool from the ground level and artificial elevations, which allowed painting at the height of over three meters. Some pictogram lines are 4-5 cm thick; the images are aligned to the south.
The Ural pictograms include the images of birds, animals and various geometrical figures. The images of animals depict moose and roe deer; the birds are represented by waterfowl ducks and geese. Other images depict snakes and bear. Several pictograms of living beings feature skeleton pattern. In 2001 a carved image was found at the River Rezh, which disproved the long-standing opinion that all Ural pictograms are painted. According to Russian researcher Valeriy Chernetsov, who published The Rock Images of Ural, the Ural pictograms depict the hunting utensil; the pictograms, however, as emphasized by Chernetsov, have no direct association with fishing as no images of fishes have been found on sites. Media related to Rock art of the Ural at Wikimedia Commons Kamyana Mohyla Vinča signs
The Vinča symbols, sometimes called the Danube script, Vinča signs, Vinča script, Vinča–Turdaș script, Old European script, etc. are a set of symbols found upon Neolithic era artifacts from the Vinča culture of Central Europe and Southeastern Europe. Most historians agree that those symbols are not a writing system, but some kind of private symbols or ornaments. A minority of historians claim that this is the earliest known writing system that has influenced other early writing systems. In 1875, archaeological excavations led by the Hungarian archeologist Zsófia Torma at Tordos unearthed a cache of objects inscribed with unknown symbols. In 1908, a similar cache was found during excavations conducted by Serbian archaeologist Miloje Vasić in Vinča, a suburb of Belgrade, some 245 km from Turdaș. More such fragments were found in Banjica, another part of Belgrade. Since 1875, over one hundred and fifty Vinča sites have been identified in Serbia alone, but many, including Vinča itself, have not been excavated.
Thus, the culture of the whole area is called the Vinča culture, the symbols are called the Vinča–Turdaș script. The discovery of the Tărtăria tablets in Romania by a team led by Nicolae Vlassa in 1961 reignited the debate. Vlassa believed the inscriptions to be pictograms and other items found at the same place were subsequently carbon-dated to before 4000 BC, thirteen hundred years earlier than the date he expected, earlier than the writing systems of the Sumerians and Minoans; the authenticity of these tablets is disputed Most of the inscriptions are on pottery, with the remainder appearing on ceramic spindle whorls, a small collection of other objects. The symbols themselves consist of a variety of abstract and representative pictograms, including zoomorphic representations, combs or brush patterns and abstract symbols such as swastikas and chevrons. Over 85% of the inscriptions consist of a single symbol. Other objects include groups of symbols, of which some are arranged in no obvious pattern, with the result that neither the order nor the direction of the signs in these groups is determinable.
The usage of symbols varies between objects: symbols that appear by themselves tend exclusively to appear on pots, while symbols that are grouped with other symbols tend to appear on whorls. The importance of these findings lies in the fact that the bulk of the Vinča symbols were created in the period between 4500 and 4000 BC, with the ones on the Tărtăria clay tablets dating back to around 5300 BC; this means that the Vinča finds predate the proto-Sumerian pictographic script from Uruk, considered to be the oldest known writing system, by more than a thousand years. Analyses of the symbols showed that they have little similarity with Near Eastern writing, leading to the view that these symbols and the Sumerian script arose independently. Although a large number of symbols are known, most artifacts contain so few symbols that they are unlikely to represent a complete text; the only exception is the Sitovo inscription in Bulgaria, the dating of, disputed. A database of Vinca inscriptions, DatDas, has been developed by Marco Merlini: "DatDas organizes a catalogue of 5,421 actual signs.
These are recorded from a corpus of 1,178 inscriptions composed of two or more signs and 971 inscribed artifacts." The nature and purpose of the symbols is a mystery. Although attempts have been made to interpret the symbols, there is no agreement as to what they might mean. At first it was thought that the symbols were simple property marks, meaning "this belongs to X". A prominent holder of this view is archaeologist Peter Biehl; this theory is now abandoned, as the same symbols have been found throughout the territory of the Vinča culture, in locations hundreds of kilometers and years away from each other. The prevailing theory is that the symbols were used for religious purposes in a traditional agricultural society. If so, the fact that the same symbols were used for centuries with little change suggests that the ritual meaning and culture represented by the symbols remained constant for a long time, with no need for further development; the use of the symbols appears to have been abandoned at the start of the Bronze Age, suggesting that the new technology brought with it significant changes in social organization and beliefs.
One argument in favour of the ritual explanation is that the objects on which the symbols appear do not seem to have had much long-term significance to their owners – they are found in pits and other refuse areas. Certain objects, principally figurines, are most found buried under houses; this is consistent with the supposition that they were prepared for household religious ceremonies in which the signs incised on the objects represent expressions: a desire, vow, etc. After the ceremony was completed, the object would either have no further significance or would be buried ritually; some of the "comb" or "brush" symbols, which collectively compose as much as a sixth of all the symbols so far discovered, may represent numbers. Some scholars have pointed out that over a quarter of the inscriptions are located on the bottom of a pot, an ostensibly unlikely place for a religious inscription; the Vinča culture appears to hav
A reservoir is, most an enlarged natural or artificial lake, pond or impoundment created using a dam or lock to store water. Reservoirs can be created in a number of ways, including controlling a watercourse that drains an existing body of water, interrupting a watercourse to form an embayment within it, through excavation, or building any number of retaining walls or levees. Defined as a storage space for fluids, reservoirs may hold gasses, including hydrocarbons. Tank reservoirs elevated, or buried tanks. Tank reservoirs for water are called cisterns. Most underground reservoirs are used to store liquids, principally either water or petroleum, below ground. Reservoir is most an enlarged natural or artificial lake. A dam constructed in a valley relies on the natural topography to provide most of the basin of the reservoir. Dams are located at a narrow part of a valley downstream of a natural basin; the valley sides act as natural walls, with the dam located at the narrowest practical point to provide strength and the lowest cost of construction.
In many reservoir construction projects, people have to be moved and re-housed, historical artifacts moved or rare environments relocated. Examples include the temples of Abu Simbel, the relocation of the village of Capel Celyn during the construction of Llyn Celyn, the relocation of Borgo San Pietro of Petrella Salto during the construction of Lake Salto. Construction of a reservoir in a valley will need the river to be diverted during part of the build through a temporary tunnel or by-pass channel. In hilly regions, reservoirs are constructed by enlarging existing lakes. Sometimes in such reservoirs, the new top water level exceeds the watershed height on one or more of the feeder streams such as at Llyn Clywedog in Mid Wales. In such cases additional side dams are required to contain the reservoir. Where the topography is poorly suited to a single large reservoir, a number of smaller reservoirs may be constructed in a chain, as in the River Taff valley where the Llwyn-on, Cantref and Beacons Reservoirs form a chain up the valley.
Coastal reservoirs are fresh water storage reservoirs located on the sea coast near the river mouth to store the flood water of a river. As the land based reservoir construction is fraught with substantial land submergence, coastal reservoir is preferred economically and technically since it does not use scarce land area. Many coastal reservoirs were constructed in Europe. Saemanguem in South Korea, Marina Barrage in Singapore and Plover Cove in China, etc are few existing coastal reservoirs. Where water is pumped or siphoned from a river of variable quality or size, bank-side reservoirs may be built to store the water; such reservoirs are formed by excavation and by building a complete encircling bund or embankment, which may exceed 6 km in circumference. Both the floor of the reservoir and the bund must have an impermeable lining or core: these were made of puddled clay, but this has been superseded by the modern use of rolled clay; the water stored in such reservoirs may stay there for several months, during which time normal biological processes may reduce many contaminants and eliminate any turbidity.
The use of bank-side reservoirs allows water abstraction to be stopped for some time, when the river is unacceptably polluted or when flow conditions are low due to drought. The London water supply system is one example of the use of bank-side storage: the water is taken from the River Thames and River Lee. Service reservoirs store treated potable water close to the point of distribution. Many service reservoirs are constructed as water towers as elevated structures on concrete pillars where the landscape is flat. Other service reservoirs can be entirely underground in more hilly or mountainous country. In the United Kingdom, Thames Water has many underground reservoirs, sometimes called cisterns, built in the 1800s, most of which are lined with brick. A good example is the Honor Oak Reservoir in London, constructed between 1901 and 1909; when it was completed it was said to be the largest brick built underground reservoir in the world and it is still one of the largest in Europe. This reservoir now forms part of the southern extension of the Thames Water Ring Main.
The top of the reservoir is now used by the Aquarius Golf Club. Service reservoirs perform several functions, including ensuring sufficient head of water in the water distribution system and providing water capacity to out peak demand from consumers, enabling the treatment plant to run at optimum efficiency. Large service reservoirs can be managed to reduce the cost of pumping, by refilling the reservoir at times of day when energy costs are low. Circa 3 000 BC, the craters of extinct volcanoes in Arabia were used as reservoirs by farmers for their irrigation water. Dry climate and water scarcity in India led to early development of stepwells and water resource management techniques, including the building of a reservoir at Girnar in 3000 BC. Artificial lakes dating to the 5th century BC have been found in ancient Greece; the artificial Bhojsagar lake in present-day Madhya Pradesh state of India, constructed in the 11th century, covered 650 square kilometres. In Sri Lanka large reservoirs were created by ancient Sinhalese kings in order to save the water for irrigation.
The famous Sri Lankan king Pa
Molochna River, is a river in the Zaporizhia Oblast of south Ukraine. The name of the river translates as Milky; the river is connected with the Russian Mennonite culture, once based in the southeastern region of Ukraine since 1804 as Molotschna colony, part of the Russian Empire at that time. In antiquity the river was called Gerrus, it flows into the Molochnyi Estuary in the Azov Sea. Its length is 197 km and its drainage basin is 3,450 km². A former island in the river contains the archaeological site of Kamyana Mohyla. Tokmak Molochansk Melitopol Molotschna
In Old World archaeology, Mesolithic is the period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is used synonymously for outside northern Europe, for the corresponding period in the Levant and Caucasus; the Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia. It refers to the final period of hunter-gatherer cultures in Europe and Western Asia, between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution. In Europe it spans 15,000 to 5,000 BP; the term is less used of areas further east, not at all beyond Eurasia and North Africa. The type of culture associated with the Mesolithic varies between areas, but it is associated with a decline in the group hunting of large animals in favour of a broader hunter-gatherer way of life, the development of more sophisticated and smaller lithic tools and weapons than the heavy chipped equivalents typical of the Paleolithic. Depending on the region, some use of pottery and textiles may be found in sites allocated to the Mesolithic, but indications of agriculture are taken as marking transition into the Neolithic.
The more permanent settlements tend to be close to the sea or inland waters offering a good supply of food. Mesolithic societies are not seen as complex, burials are simple; the terms "Paleolithic" and "Neolithic" were introduced by John Lubbock in his work Pre-historic Times in 1865. The additional "Mesolithic" category was added as an intermediate category by Hodder Westropp in 1866. Westropp's suggestion was controversial. A British school led by John Evans denied any need for an intermediate: the ages blended together like the colors of a rainbow, he said. A European school led by Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet asserted that there was a gap between the earlier and later. Edouard Piette claimed to have filled the gap with his naming of the Azilian Culture. Knut Stjerna offered an alternative in the "Epipaleolithic", suggesting a final phase of the Paleolithic rather than an intermediate age in its own right inserted between the Paleolithic and Neolithic. By the time of Vere Gordon Childe's work, The Dawn of Europe, which affirms the Mesolithic, sufficient data had been collected to determine that a transitional period between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic was indeed a useful concept.
However, the terms "Mesolithic" and "Epipalaeolitic" remain in competition, with varying conventions of usage. In the archaeology of Northern Europe, for example for archaeological sites in Great Britain, Scandinavia and Russia, the term "Mesolithic" is always used. In the archaeology of other areas, the term "Epipaleolithic" may be preferred by most authors, or there may be divergences between authors over which term to use or what meaning to assign to each. In the New World, neither term is used. "Epipaleolithic" is sometimes used alongside "Mesolithic" for the final end of the Upper Paleolithic followed by the Mesolithic. As "Mesolithic" suggests an intermediate period, followed by the Neolithic, some authors prefer the term "Epipaleolithic" for hunter-gatherer cultures who are not succeeded by agricultural traditions, reserving "Mesolithic" for cultures who are succeeded by the Neolithic Revolution, such as the Natufian culture. Other authors use "Mesolithic" as a generic term for post-LGM hunter-gatherer cultures, whether they are transitional towards agriculture or not.
In addition, terminology appears to differ between archaeological sub-disciplines, with "Mesolithic" being used in European archaeology, while "Epipalaeolithic" is more common in Near Eastern archaeology. The Balkan Mesolithic begins around 15,000 years ago. In Western Europe, the Early Mesolithic, or Azilian, begins about 14,000 years ago, in the Franco-Cantabrian region of northern Spain and southern France. In other parts of Europe, the Mesolithic begins by 11,500 years ago, it ends with the introduction of farming, depending on the region between c. 8,500 and 5,500 years ago. Regions that experienced greater environmental effects as the last glacial period ended have a much more apparent Mesolithic era, lasting millennia. In northern Europe, for example, societies were able to live well on rich food supplies from the marshlands created by the warmer climate; such conditions produced distinctive human behaviors that are preserved in the material record, such as the Maglemosian and Azilian cultures.
Such conditions delayed the coming of the Neolithic until some 5,500 BP in northern Europe. The type of stone toolkit remains one of the most diagnostic features: the Mesolithic used a microlithic technology – composite devices manufactured with Mode V chipped stone tools, while the Paleolithic had utilized Modes I–IV. In some areas, such as Ireland, parts of Portugal, the Isle of Man and the Tyrrhenian Islands, a macrolithic technology was used in the Mesolithic. In the Neolithic, the microlithic technology was replaced by a macrolithic technology, with an increased use of polished stone tools such as stone axes. There is some evidence for the beginning of construction at sites with a ritual or astronomical significance, including Stonehenge, with a short row of large post holes aligned east-west, a possible "lunar calendar" at Warren Field in Scotland, with pits of post holes of varying sizes, thought to reflect the lunar phases. Both are dated to before c. 9,000 BP. As the "Neolithic package" (including farming, polished stone axes, timber longhouses and pot
Cuneiform or Sumerian cuneiform, one of the earliest systems of writing, was invented by the Sumerians. It is distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets, made by means of a blunt reed for a stylus; the name cuneiform itself means "wedge shaped". Emerging in Sumer in the late fourth millennium BC to convey the Sumerian language, a language isolate, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictograms, stemming from an earlier system of shaped tokens used for accounting. In the third millennium, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract as the number of characters in use grew smaller; the system consists of a combination of consonantal alphabetic and syllabic signs. The original Sumerian script was adapted for the writing of the Semitic Akkadian and Amorite languages, the language isolates Elamite, Hattic and Urartian, as well as Indo-European languages Hittite and Luwian. Cuneiform writing was replaced by the Phoenician alphabet during the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
By the second century AD, the script had become extinct, its last traces being found in Assyria and Babylonia, all knowledge of how to read it was lost until it began to be deciphered in the 19th century. Geoffrey Sampson stated that Egyptian hieroglyphs "came into existence a little after Sumerian script, invented under the influence of the latter", that it is "probable that the general idea of expressing words of a language in writing was brought to Egypt from Sumerian Mesopotamia". There are many instances of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations at the time of the invention of writing, standard reconstructions of the development of writing place the development of the Summerian proto-cuneiform script before the development of Egyptian hierogplyphs, with the suggestion the former influenced the latter. Between half a million and two million cuneiform tablets are estimated to have been excavated in modern times, of which only 30,000–100,000 have been read or published; the British Museum holds the largest collection, followed by the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin, the Louvre, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, the National Museum of Iraq, the Yale Babylonian Collection and Penn Museum.
Most of these have "lain in these collections for a century without being translated, studied or published", as there are only a few hundred qualified cuneiformists in the world. An ancient Mesopotamian poem gives the first known story of the invention of writing: Because the messager's mouth was heavy and he couldn't repeat, the Lord of Kulaba pattes some clay and put words on it, like a tablet; until there had been no putting words on clay. The cuneiform writing system was in use for more than three millennia, through several stages of development, from the 31st century BC down to the second century AD, it was replaced by alphabetic writing in the course of the Roman era, there are no cuneiform systems in current use. It had to be deciphered as a unknown writing system in 19th-century Assyriology. Successful completion of its deciphering is dated to 1857; the cuneiform script was developed from pictographic proto-writing in the late 4th millennium BC, stemming from the near eastern token system used for accounting.
These tokens were in use from the 9th millennium BC and remained in occasional use late in the 2nd millennium BC. It has been suggested that the token shapes were the original basis for some of the Sumerian pictographs. Mesopotamia's "proto-literate" period spans the 35th to 32nd centuries; the first documents unequivocally written in Sumerian date to the 31st century BC at Jemdet Nasr. Pictographs were either drawn on clay tablets in vertical columns with a sharpened reed stylus or incised in stone; this early style lacked the characteristic wedge shape of the strokes. Certain signs to indicate names of gods, cities, birds, etc. are known as determinatives and were the Sumerian signs of the terms in question, added as a guide for the reader. Proper names continued to be written in purely "logographic" fashion; the earliest known Sumerian king whose name appears on contemporary cuneiform tablets is Enmebaragesi of Kish. Surviving records only gradually become less fragmentary and more complete for the following reigns, but by the end of the pre-Sargonic period, it had become standard practice for each major city-state to date documents by year-names commemorating the exploits of its lugal.
From about 2900 BC, many pictographs began to lose their original function, a given sign could have various meanings depending on context. The sign inventory was reduced from some 1,500 signs to some 600 signs, writing became phonological. Determinative signs were re-introduced to avoid ambiguity. Cuneiform writing proper thus arises from the more primitive system of pictographs at about that time. In the mid-3rd millennium BC, the direction of writing was changed to left-to-right in horizontal rows and a new wedge-tipped stylus was introduced, pushed into the clay, producing wedge-shaped signs. By adjusting the relative position of the tablet to the stylus, the writer could use a single tool to make a variety of impressions. Cuneiform tablets could be fired in kilns to bake them hard, so provide a permanent record, or they could be left moist and recycled, if permanence was not needed. Man