Chapter

Factors Hindering Our Understanding of the Sumerian Takeoff

in Ancient Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Civilization

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780226013770
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226013787 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226013787.003.0002
Factors Hindering Our Understanding of the Sumerian Takeoff

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  • Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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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

Chapter.  6166 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ancient History (Non-Classical, to 500 CE)

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