The Uruk period existed from the protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia, following the Ubaid period and succeeded by the Jemdet Nasr period. Named after the Sumerian city of Uruk, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia and the Sumerian civilization; the late Uruk period saw the gradual emergence of the cuneiform script and corresponds to the Early Bronze Age. It was during this period that pottery painting declined as copper started to become popular, along with cylinder seals; the term Uruk period was coined at a conference in Baghdad in 1930, along with the preceding Ubaid period and following Jemdet Nasr period. The chronology of the Uruk period is debated and still uncertain, it is known that it covered most of the 4th millennium BC. But there is no agreement on the date when it began or ended and the major breaks within the period are difficult to determine; this is due to the fact that the original stratigraphy of the central quarter of Uruk is ancient and unclear and the excavations of it were conducted in the 1930s, before many modern dating techniques existed.
These problems are linked to the difficulty specialists have had establishing synchronisms between the different archaeological sites and a relative chronology, which would enable the development of a more reliable absolute chronology. The traditional chronology is imprecise and is based on some key soundages in the Eanna quarter at Uruk; the most ancient levels of these soundages belong to the end of the Ubaid period. The Uruk period is traditionally divided into many phases; the first two are "Old Uruk" "Middle Uruk". These first two phases are poorly known, their chronological limits are poorly defined. From the middle of the 4th millennium, it transitions to the best-known period, "Late Uruk", which continues until around 3200 or 3100 BC, it is in fact in this period that the features which are seen as most characteristic of the civilization of the Uruk period occur: high technological development, the development of important urban agglomerations with imposing monumental structures, the appearance of state institutions, the expansion of the Uruk civilization throughout the whole Near East.
This phase of "Late Uruk" is followed by another phase in which the Uruk civilization declined and a number of distinct local cultures developed throughout the Near East. This is known as the Jemdet Nasr period, after the archaeological site of that name, its exact nature is debated, it is difficult to distinguish its traits from those of the Uruk culture, so some scholars refer to it as the "Final Uruk" period instead. It lasted from around 3000 to 2900 BC. In 2001, a new chronology has been proposed by the members of a colloquium at Santa Fe, based on recent excavations at sites outside Mesopotamia; the consider the Uruk period to be the "Late Chalcolithic". Their LC 1 corresponds to the end of the Ubayd period and ends around 4200 BC, with the beginning of LC 2, the first phase of the Uruk period, they divide "Old Uruk" into two phases, with the dividing line placed around 4000 BC. Around 3800 BC, LC 3 begins, which corresponds to the "Middle Uruk" phase and continues until around 3400 BC, when it is succeeded by LC 4.
It transitions to LC 5, which continues until 3000 BC. Therefore, although the chronology of the Uruk period is full of uncertainties, it is agreed to have a rough span of a thousand years covering the period from 4000 to 3000 BC and to be divided into several phases: an initial urbanisation and elaboration of Urukian cultural traits marks the transition from the end of the Ubayd period a period of expansion, with a peak during which the characteristic traits of the'Uruk civilization' are definitively established, a retreat of Urukian influence and increase in cultural diversity in the Near East along with a decline of the'centre'; some researchers have attempted to explain this final stage as the arrival of new populations of Semitic origin, but there is no conclusive proof of this. In Lower Mesopotamia, this takes the form of the Jemdet Nasr period, which sees a shift to more concentrated habitation, undoubtedly accompanied by a reorganisation of power. In Lower Mesopotamia, the Early Dynastic Period begins around the start of the 3rd millennium BC, during which this region again exerts considerable influence over its neighbours.
Lower Mesopotamia is the core of the Uruk period culture and the region seems to have been the cultural centre of the time, since this is where the principle monuments are found and the most obvious traces of an urban society with state institutions developing in the second half of the 4th millennium BC, the first system of writing, it is the material and symbolic culture of this region which had the most influence on the rest of the Near East at this time. However, this region is not well-known archaeologically, since only the site of Uruk itself has provided traces of monumental architecture and administrative documents which justify seeing this region as the most dynamic and influential. At some other sites, construction from this period has been found, but they
Kish was an ancient tell of Sumer in Mesopotamia, considered to have been located near the modern Tell al-Uhaymir in the Babil Governorate of Iraq, east of Babylon and 80 km south of Baghdad. Kish was occupied from the Jemdet Nasr period, gaining prominence as one of the pre-eminent powers in the region during the early dynastic period; the Sumerian king list states that Kish was the first city to have kings following the deluge, beginning with Jushur. Jushur's successor is called Kullassina-bel, but this is a sentence in Akkadian meaning "All of them were lord". Thus, some scholars have suggested that this may have been intended to signify the absence of a central authority in Kish for a time; the names of the next nine kings of Kish preceding Etana are all Akkadian words for animals, e.g. Zuqaqip "scorpion"; the East Semitic nature of these and other early names associated with Kish reveals that its population had a strong Semitic component from the dawn of recorded history. Ignace Gelb identified Kish as the center of the earliest East Semitic culture which he calls the Kish civilization.
The twelfth king of Kish appearing on the Sumerian king list, Etana, is noted as "the shepherd, who ascended to heaven and consolidated all the foreign countries". Although his reign has yet to be archaeologically attested, his name is found in legendary tablets, Etana is sometimes regarded as the first king and founder of Kish; the twenty-first king of Kish on the list, said to have captured the weapons of Elam, is the first name confirmed by archaeological finds from his reign. He is known through other literary references, in which he and his son Aga of Kish are portrayed as contemporary rivals of Dumuzid, the Fisherman, Gilgamesh, early rulers of Uruk; some early kings of Kish are not named on the King list. These include Utug or Uhub, said to have defeated Hamazi in the earliest days, Mesilim, who built temples in Adab and Lagash, where he seems to have exercised some control; the Third Dynasty of Kish is unique in that it begins with a woman a tavern keeper, Kubau, as "king". She was deified as the goddess Kheba.
Afterwards, although its military and economic power was diminished, Kish retained a strong political and symbolic significance. Just as with Nippur to the south, control of Kish was a prime element in legitimizing dominance over the north of Mesopotamia; because of the city's symbolic value, strong rulers claimed the traditional title "King of Kish" if they were from Akkad, Ur, Isin, Larsa or Babylon. One of the earliest to adopt this title upon subjecting Kish to his empire was King Mesannepada of Ur. A few governors of Kish for other powers in times are known, including Ashduniarim and Iawium. Sargon of Akkad, the founder of the Akkadian Empire, came from the area nearby Kish, called Azupiranu, he would declare himself the king of Kish, as an attempt to signify his connection to the religiously important area. In Akkadian times the city's patron deity was Zababa, along with the goddess Inanna. Kish continued to be occupied through the pre-Babylonian, old Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian Empire and Neo-Babylonian periods, into classical Seleucid times, before being abandoned.
The Kish archaeological site is an oval area 8 by 3 km, transected by the dry former bed of the Euphrates River, encompassing around 40 mounds, the largest being Uhaimir and Ingharra. The most notable mounds are:- Tell Uhaimir - believed to be the location of the city of Kish, it means "the red" after the red bricks of the ziggurat there. Tell Ingharra - believed to be the location of Hursagkalamma, east of Kish home of a temple of Inanna. Tell Khazneh Tell el-Bender - held Parthian material Mound W - where a number of Neo-Assyrian tablets were discoveredAfter irregularly excavated tablets began appearing at the beginning of the twentieth century, François Thureau-Dangin identified the site as being Kish; those tablets ended up in a variety of museums. Because of its close proximity to Babylon the site was visited be a number of explorers and travelers in the 1800s, some involving excavation, most notably by the foreman of Hormuzd Rassam who dug there with a crew of 20 men for a number of months.
None of this early work was published. A French archaeological team under Henri de Genouillac excavated at Tell Uhaimir between 1912 and 1914, finding some 1,400 Old Babylonian tablets which were distributed to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum and the Louvre. A joint Field Museum and University of Oxford team under Stephen Langdon excavated from 1923 to 1933, with the recovered materials split between Chicago and the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford; the actual excavations at Tell Uhaimir were led by E. MacKay and by L. C. Watelin. Work on the faunal and flora remains. More a Japanese team from the Kokushikan University led by Ken Matsumoto excavated at Tell Uhaimir in 1988, 2000, 2001; the final season lasted only one week. Cities of the Ancient Near East Tell Short chronology timeline E. Mackay, Report on the Excavation of the "A" Cemetery at Kish, Mesopotamia, Pt. 1, A Sumerian Palace and the "A" Cemetery, Pt. 2, Chicago: Field Museum,1931 Nissen, Hans The early history of the ancient Near East, 9000–2000 B.
C. Elizabeth Lutzeir, trans. I. J. Gelb, Sargonic Texts in the Ashmolean Museum, Materials for the Assyrian Dictionary 5, University of Chicago Press, 1970 ISBN 0-226-6230
Bad-tibira, "Wall of the Copper Worker", or "Fortress of the Smiths", identified as modern Tell al-Madineh, between Ash Shatrah and Tell as-Senkereh in southern Iraq, was an ancient Sumerian city, which appears among antediluvian cities in the Sumerian King List. Its Akkadian name was Dûr-gurgurri, it was called Παντιβίβλος by Greek authors such as Berossus, transmitted by Abydenus and Apollodorus. This may reflect another version of the city's name, Patibira, "Canal of the Smiths". According to the Sumerian King List, Bad-tibira was the second city to "exercise kingship" in Sumer before the flood, following Eridu; these kings were said to be En-men-gal-ana and Dumuzid the Shepherd. The early Sumerian text Inanna's descent to the netherworld mentions the city's temple, E-mush-kalamma. In this tale, Inanna dissuades demons from the netherworld from taking Lulal, patron of Bad-tibira, living in squalor, they take Dumuzid, who lived in palatial opulence at Uruk. This Dumuzid is called "the Shepherd", who on the King List resides at Bad-Tibira in contrast to the post-diluvian Dumuzid, the Fisherman, who reigns in Uruk.
The "brotherhood text" in cuneiform inscriptions on cones plundered from the site in the 1930s records the friendship pact of Entemena, governor of Lagash, Lugal-kinishedudu, governor of Uruk. It identifies Entemena as the builder of the temple E-mush to Inanna and Dumuzid, under his local epithet Lugal-E-mush; some badly effaced half-bricks on the surface of the mound bore the inscription of Amar-Sin, of the Third Dynasty of Ur. Pieces of vitrified brick scattered over the surface of the large mound bore witness to the city's destruction by fire. Possession of the city passed between Larsa, whose king Sin-Iddinam claims to have built the great wall of Bad-tibira, Isin, whose king Lipit-Ishtar, "the shepherd of Nippur", claimed to have built the "House of Righteousness" there. Cities of the Ancient Near East W. F. Leemans, Tablets from Bad-tibira and Samsuiluna's Reconquest of the South, JEOL, vol. 15, pp. 214–218, 1957/58 Translation of Inana's descent to the nether world Foundation Peg of Entemena found at presumed site of Bad-tibara - British Museum
Jemdet Nasr period
The Jemdet Nasr Period is an archaeological culture in southern Mesopotamia. It is dated from 3100–2900 BC, it is named after the type site Tell Jemdet Nasr, where the assemblage typical for this period was first recognized. Its geographical distribution is limited to south-central Iraq; the culture of the proto-historical Jemdet Nasr period is a local development out of the preceding Uruk period and continues into the Early Dynastic I period. In the early 1900s, clay tablets with an archaic form of the Sumerian cuneiform script began to appear in the antiquities market. A collection of 36 tablets was bought by the German excavators of Shuruppak in 1903. While they thought that the tablets came from Tell Jemdet Nasr, it was shown that they came from nearby Tell Uqair. Similar tablets were offered for sale by a French antiquities dealer in 1915, these were again reported to have come from Tell Jemdet Nasr. Similar tablets, together with splendidly painted monochrome and polychrome pottery, were shown by local Arabs in 1925 to the Assyriologist Stephen Herbert Langdon director of the excavations at Tell al-Uhaymir.
The Arabs told Langdon the finds came from Jemdet Nasr, a site some 26 kilometres northeast of Tell al-Uhaymir. Langdon was sufficiently impressed, visited the site and started excavations in 1926, he uncovered a large mudbrick building containing more of the distinctive pottery and a collection of 150 to 180 clay tablets bearing the proto-cuneiform script. The importance of these finds was realized and the Jemdet Nasr Period was defined at a conference in Baghdad in 1930, where at the same time both the Uruk and Ubaid periods had been defined, it has been shown that some of the material culture, thought to be unique for the Jemdet Nasr Period occurred during the preceding Uruk Period and the subsequent Early Dynastic Period. It is believed that the Jemdet Nasr Period is still sufficiently distinct in its material culture as well as its socio-cultural characteristics to be recognized as a separate period. Since the first excavations at Tell Jemdet Nasr, the Jemdet Nasr Period has been found at numerous other archaeological sites across much of south-central Iraq, including Abu Salabikh, Khafajah, Tell Uqair, Ur, Uruk.
Older scientific literature used 3200–3000 BC as the beginning and end dates of the Jemdet Nasr Period. The period is nowadays dated from 3100–2900 BC based on radiocarbon dating; the Jemdet Nasr Period is contemporary with the early Ninevite V Period of Upper Mesopotamia and the Proto-Elamite Period of Iran, shares with these two periods characteristics such as an emerging bureaucracy and inequality. The hallmark of the Jemdet Nasr Period is its distinctive painted polychrome pottery. Designs are both figurative; this painted pottery makes up only a small percentage of the total assemblage and at various sites it has been found in archaeological contexts suggesting that it was associated with high-status individuals or activities. At the site of Jemdet Nasr, the painted pottery was found in the settlement's large central building, thought to have played a role in the administration of many economic activities. Painted Jemdet Nasr Period pots were found in similar contexts at Tell Fara and Tell Gubba, both in the Hamrin Mountains.
Apart from the distinctive pottery, the period is known as one of the formative stages in the development of the cuneiform script. The oldest clay tablets come from Uruk and date to the late fourth millennium BC earlier than the Jemdet Nasr Period. By the time of the Jemdet Nasr Period, the script had undergone a number of significant changes, it consisted of pictographs, but by the time of the Jemdet Nasr Period it was adopting simpler and more abstract designs. It is during this period that the script acquired its iconic wedge-shaped appearance. While the language in which these tablets were written cannot be identified with certainty, it is thought to have been Sumerian; the texts deal without exception with administrative matters such as the rationing of foodstuffs or listing objects and animals. Literary genres like hymns and king lists, which become popular in Mesopotamian history, are absent. Two different counting systems were in use: a sexagesimal system for animals and humans, for example, a bisexagesimal system for things like grain and fresh fish.
Contemporary archives have been found at Tell Uqair, Tell Khafajah, Uruk. The centralized buildings, administrative cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals from sites like Jemdet Nasr suggest that settlements of this period were organized, with a central administration regulating all aspects of the economy, from crafts to agriculture to the rationing of foodstuffs; the economy seems to have been concerned with subsistence based on agriculture and sheep-and-goat pastoralism and small-scale trade. Few precious stones or exotic trade goods have been found at sites of this period. However, the homogeneity of the pottery across the southern Mesopotamian plain suggests intensive contacts and trade between settlements; this is strengthened by the find of a sealing at Jemdet Nasr that lists a number of cities that can be identified, including Ur, Larsa. History of Mesopotamia Matthews, Secrets of the dark mound: Jemdet Nasr 1926-1928, Iraq Archaeological Reports, 6, Warminster: BSAI, ISBN 0-85668-735-9 Pollock, Susan, "Bureaucrats and managers and pastoralists, imperialists and traders: Research
Girsu was a city of ancient Sumer, situated some 25 km northwest of Lagash, at the site of modern Tell Telloh, Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq. Girsu was inhabited in the Ubaid period, but significant levels of activity began in the Early Dynastic period. At the time of Gudea, during the Second Dynasty of Lagash, Girsu became the capital of the Lagash kingdom and continued to be its religious center after political power had shifted to city of Lagash. During the Ur III period, Girsu was a major administrative center for the empire. After the fall of Ur, Girsu declined in importance, but remained inhabited until 200 BC. Telloh was the first Sumerian site to be extensively excavated, at first under the French vice-consul at Basra, Ernest de Sarzec, from 1877 to 1900, followed by his successor Gaston Cros from 1903–1909. Excavations continued under Abbé Henri de Genouillac in 1929–1931 and under André Parrot in 1931–1933, it was at Girsu. The site has suffered from poor excavation standards and from illegal excavations.
About 50,000 cuneiform tablets have been recovered from the site. Excavations at Tello have now resumed as part of a training program for Iraqi archaeologists organized by the American Schools of Oriental Research. A foundation tablet and a number of inscribed building cones have been found. Media related to Girsu at Wikimedia Commons Gudea cylinders Ningirsu Statues of Gudea Short chronology timeline Cities of the ancient Near East Harriet Crawford, The Construction Inférieure at Tello. A Reassessment, vol. 49, pp. 71–76, 1987 Benjamin R. Foster, The Sargonic Victory Stele from Telloh, Vol. 47, pp. 15–30, 1985 Claudia E. Suter, A Shulgi Statuette from Tello, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 43/45, pp. 63–70, Fragment of a stone plaque depicting Enannatum found in Tello, from the collection of the British Museum, on the site of Google Cultural Institute Images of Girsu - Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago Stele of the Vultures at the Louvre The world's oldest bridge is being preserved in Iraq The Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme: an update
The littoral zone or nearshore is the part of a sea, lake or river, close to the shore. In coastal environments the littoral zone extends from the high water mark, inundated, to shoreline areas that are permanently submerged, it always includes this intertidal zone and is used to mean the same as the intertidal zone. However, the meaning of "littoral zone" can extend well beyond the intertidal zone. There is no single definition. What is regarded as the full extent of the littoral zone, the way the littoral zone is divided into subregions, varies in different contexts; the use of the term varies from one part of the world to another, between different disciplines. For example, military commanders speak of the littoral in ways that are quite different from marine biologists; the adjacency of water gives a number of distinctive characteristics to littoral regions. The erosive power of water results in particular types of landforms, such as sand dunes, estuaries; the natural movement of the littoral along the coast is called the littoral drift.
Biologically, the ready availability of water enables a greater variety of plant and animal life, the formation of extensive wetlands. In addition, the additional local humidity due to evaporation creates a microclimate supporting unique types of organisms; the word "littoral" is used both as an adjective. It derives from the Latin noun litus, meaning "shore". In oceanography and marine biology, the idea of the littoral zone is extended to the edge of the continental shelf. Starting from the shoreline, the littoral zone begins at the spray region just above the high tide mark. From here, it moves to the intertidal region between the high and low water marks, out as far as the edge of the continental shelf; these three subregions are called, in order, the supralittoral zone, the eulittoral zone and the sublittoral zone. The supralittoral zone is the area above the spring high tide line, splashed, but not submerged by ocean water. Seawater penetrates these elevated areas only during storms with high tides.
Organisms here must cope with exposure to fresh water from rain, cold and predation by land animals and seabirds. At the top of this area, patches of dark lichens can appear as crusts on rocks; some types of periwinkles and detritus feeding Isopoda inhabit the lower supralittoral. The eulittoral zone is the intertidal zone known as the foreshore, it extends from the spring high tide line, inundated, to the spring low tide line, not inundated. The wave action and turbulence of recurring tides shapes and reforms cliffs and caves, offering a huge range of habitats for sedentary organisms. Protected rocky shorelines show a narrow homogenous eulittoral strip marked by the presence of barnacles. Exposed sites show a wider extension and are divided into further zones. For more on this, see intertidal ecology; the sublittoral zone starts below the eulittoral zone. This zone is permanently covered with seawater and is equivalent to the neritic zone. In physical oceanography, the sublittoral zone refers to coastal regions with significant tidal flows and energy dissipation, including non-linear flows, internal waves, river outflows and oceanic fronts.
In practice, this extends to the edge of the continental shelf, with depths around 200 meters. In marine biology, the sublittoral refers to the areas where sunlight reaches the ocean floor, that is, where the water is never so deep as to take it out of the photic zone; this results in high primary production and makes the sublittoral zone the location of the majority of sea life. As in physical oceanography, this zone extends to the edge of the continental shelf; the benthic zone in the sublittoral is much more stable than in the intertidal zone. Sublittoral corals do not have to deal with as much change as intertidal corals. Corals can live in both zones. Within the sublittoral, marine biologists identify the following: The infralittoral zone is the algal dominated zone to maybe five metres below the low water mark; the circalittoral zone is the region beyond the infralittoral, that is, below the algal zone and dominated by sessile animals such as oysters. Shallower regions of the sublittoral zone, extending not far from the shore, are sometimes referred to as the subtidal zone.
In freshwater situations, littoral zones occur on the edge of large lakes and rivers with extensive areas of wetland. Hence, they are sometimes referred to as fringing wetlands. Here, the effects of tides are minimal. For example, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources defines littoral as that portion of the lake, less than 15 feet in depth; the littoral zone may form a narrow or broad fringing wetland, with extensive areas of aquatic plants sorted by their tolerance to different water depths. Four zones are recognized, from higher to lower on the shore: wooded wetland, wet meadow and aquatic vegetation; the relative areas of these four types depends not only on the profile of the shoreline, but upon past water levels. The area of wet meadow is dependent upon past water levels.
The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia, dated to 5500–4800 BCE. It overlaps with Hassuna and early Ubaid. Samarran material culture was first recognized during excavations by German Archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld at the site of Samarra. Other sites where Samarran material has been found include Tell Shemshara, Tell es-Sawwan and Yarim Tepe. At Tell es-Sawwan, evidence of irrigation—including flax—establishes the presence of a prosperous settled culture with a organized social structure; the culture is known for its finely made pottery decorated with stylized animals, including birds, geometric designs on dark backgrounds. This exported type of pottery, one of the first widespread uniform pottery styles in the Ancient Near East, was first recognized at Samarra; the Samarran Culture was the precursor to the Mesopotamian culture of the Ubaid period. At Tell Sabi Abyad and other Late Neolithic sites in Syria, scholars adopt vague terms such as Samarra "influenced", Samarra-"related" or Samarra "impulses" because we do not understand the relationships with the traditional Samarra heartlands.
The term may be extended to include sites in Syria such as Tell Chagar Bazar, Tell Boueid II, Tell Sabi Abyad or Tell Halula, where similar pottery is being Fig. 1: Principal sites mentioned in the text. Excavated in Pre-Halaf to Early Halaf Transitional contexts The ceramic of this culture is named Samarra ware. Desert Kites Hassuna culture History of Mesopotamia