Was the Maikop culture the PIE homeland? May 4, 2018 18:28:10 GMT
Post by Admin on May 4, 2018 18:28:10 GMT
THE FIRST CITIES AND THEIR CONNECTION TO THE STEPPES
Steppe contact with the civilizations of Mesopotamia was, of course, much less direct than contact with Tripolye societies, but the southern door might have been the avenue through which wheeled vehicles first appeared in the steppes, so it was important. Our understanding of these contacts with the south has been completely rewritten in recent years.
Between 3700 and 3500 BCE the first cities in the world appeared among the irrigated lowlands of Mesopotamia. Old temple centers like Uruk and Ur had always been able to attract thousands of laborers from the farms of southern Iraq for building projects, but we are not certain why they began to live around the temples permanently (figure 12.8). This shift in population from the rural villages to the major temples created the first cities. During the Middle and Late Uruk periods (3700–3100 BCE) trade into and out of the new cities increased tremendously in the form of tribute, gift exchange, treaty making, and the glorification of the city temple and its earthly authorities.
Precious stones, metals, timber, and raw wool were among the imports. Woven textiles and manufactured metal objects probably were among the exports. During the Late Uruk period, wheeled vehicles pulled by oxen appeared as a new technology for land transport. New accounting methods were developed to keep track of imports, exports, and tax payments—cylinder seals for marking sealed packages and the sealed doors of storerooms, clay tokens indicating package contents, and, ultimately, writing.
The new cities had enormous appetites for copper, gold, and silver. Their agents began an extraordinary campaign, or perhaps competing campaigns by different cities, to obtain metals and semiprecious stones. The native chiefdoms of Eastern Anatolia already had access to rich deposits of copper ore, and had long been producing metal tools and weapons.
Emissaries from Uruk and other Sumerian cities began to appear in northern cities like Tell Brak and Tepe Gawra. South Mesopotamian garrisons built and occupied caravan forts on the Euphrates in Syria at Habubu Kabira. The “Uruk expansion” began during the Middle Uruk period about 3700 BCE and greatly intensified during Late Uruk, about 3350–3100 BCE.
The city of Susa in southwestern Iran might have become an Uruk colony. East of Susa on the Iranian plateau a series of large mudbrick edifices rose above the plains, protecting specialized copper production facilities that operated partly for the Uruk trade, regulated by local chiefs who used the urban tools of trade management: seals, sealed packages, sealed storerooms, and, finally, writing. Copper, lapis lazuli, turquoise, chlorite, and carnelian moved under their seals to Mesopotamia. Uruk-related trade centers on the Iranian plateau included Sialk IV1, Tal-i-Iblis V–VI, and Hissar II in central Iran. The tentacles of trade reached as far northeast as the settlement of Sarazm in the Zerafshan Valley of modern Tajikistan, probably established to control turquoise deposits in the deserts nearby.