Early Mesopotamian and Nile River Cultures Anthropology - The scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans. Archaeology - The systematic study of past human life and culture by the recovery and examination of remaining material evidence, such as graves, buildings, tools, and pottery History - The branch of knowledge that records and analyzes past events “much of our understanding of early humans still relies on considerable conjecture …” Paleolithic Age (Old Stone) 1. Characteristics a. hunting and gathering b. lived in small bands c. nomadic d. began to refine use of tools e. used fire and often lived in caves 2. Two important technological innovations: use of tools and fire Paleolithic Peoples: Example, San People of Southern Africa – Rock Art depicting Hunting and Spiritual Life Neolithic Age (New Stone) 10,000 – 4,000 BCE – stone tools for new uses: agriculture “… The biggest change was the shift from hunting animals and gathering plants for sustenance to producing food by systematic agriculture.” – – – – 9000 BCE - Farming began in west Asia (Mesopotamia) 7000 BCE – Towns emerged 6000 BCE – Farming in Egypt 3000 BCE – cities and states in west Asia & Egypt Characteristics: a. growing of crops b. utilizing beasts of burden c. domestication of animals Permanent Settlements Agricultural Development Led to Permanent Settlements: a. houses built for shelter and structures for storing food b. began to trade c. began to specialize in certain crafts d. divisions of labor developed e. Technical developments between 4,000 – 3,000 BCE– better tools – Asians discovered how to combine copper and tin to create bronze – harder substance than copper alone Women’s Work This rock painting from a cave in modern-day Algeria, dating from around the fourth millennium BCE, shows women harvesting grain. © Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY Early Complex Societies: Mesopotamia and Egypt Similarities? Documents to support your case? Early Complex Societies: Mesopotamia and Egypt Similarities 1. each developed in a river valley 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. urban focus new political and military structures new social structure based on economic power distinct religious structure development of writing new and significant artistic and intellectual activity Mesopotamia (The Fertile Crescent) Location: Tigris & Euphrates Rivers Link to PBS, “Braving Iraq” – story of Iraq’s Wetlands – (50 minutes) City States of Mesopotamia Settlement of various city-states in Mesopotamia (“between the rivers”) – Independent at times, sometimes united under same ruler Sumerian cities (Eridu, Ur, Uruk, Lagesh) Buildings of mud-brick, arch & dome structures and Ziggurats Produced woolen textiles, pottery, and metalwork Ziggurat and Royal Tombs at Ur … Link to video, “Royal Tombs of Ur” (7 minutes) Video on Bull-headed Lyre at Penn Museum Website for Exhibit, “Iraq’s Ancient Past” Religion Religious development reflected economic and social development – polytheistic – many gods, related to agriculture, nature, and kings – gods ruled the cities – theocracy – priesthood, division of labor – kingship was divine – examples: Gilgamesh, Hammurabi Hammurabi United Sumeria (1792-1750 BCE) Well-disciplined army Assimilated conquered cultures Built temples and defensive walls Irrigation canals Encouraged trade Code of Hammurabi – What does the Code tell us about Mesopotamian society and culture? Hammurabi’s Code Stele in Louvre Museum, Paris Hammurabi Code Stele Solid basalt (rock) block inscribed with code of laws (in Akkadian language) Hammurabi Receiving Code of Laws from Gods Carved top of stele Ishtar Gate (from Babylon) now in Pergamon Museum, Berlin Ishtar Gate Lion Ishtar Gate Dragon Earliest Preserved Writing System Earliest Writing – Cuneiform – wedgeshaped writing (from Ur) Written in fired clay Accounting Of what? Current Archaeology Assur – Assyrian/Babylonian city in northern Mesopotamia (current-day Iraq) Cuneiform was developed there Temples found – but many more thought buried Only recently safe to resume archaeological work But threatened by construction of a dam across the Tigris River Assur Site Video on Preservation Problems in Iraq (4 min.) Links to videos on current state of ancient sites of Ur Part One Part Two Nile River Societies 5500 BCE – 395 CE Nile River Lower Nile Upper Nile Flows Nile River Delta Egyptian Nile River Societies Importance of the Nile River – – “The Gift of the Nile” – Predictable flooding, silting, fertilizing of fields – Transportation and trade Nile Floods Flood levels in Sudan, 2001 Flooding in Egypt, 1965 Current uses of Nile waters Egyptian Kingdoms and Empire Egypt protected from invasion by seas and Sahara desert Saharan Desert Egyptian Kingdoms and Empire Link to Timeline Old Kingdom - divine kingship (pharaohs) – ruled by ma’at – idea of truth & justice – Only time when pharaohs were buried in pyramids Middle Kingdom – Golden Age – Stable in leadership – Pharaohs, “shepherds,” but still divine Spiritual Life No word for “Religion” – part of everyday life, beliefs, and actions Two groups of gods – sun and land – – Similarities and differences from Paleolithic beliefs? Pyramids – burial places for pharaohs – the largest are from Old Kingdom period The Giza Pyramids were built as tombs for the fourth dynasty kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure who ruled Egypt through 25892504 BCE. The largest is the Great Pyramid of Khufu, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Egyptian Kingdoms & Empire (continued) New Kingdom (1550-1085 BCE) – Pharaohs buried in Valley of the Kings – Kicked Hyksos conquerors out – Egypt expanded through military conquest – Most powerful state in Middle East Amenhotep, a.k.a. Akhenaten – tried to make Egypt monotheistic Ramses II restored Kingdom of Egypt Nubian Kingdoms on the Middle and Upper Nile Changing Relationships with Egyptian Kingdoms and Empire Two areas were often linked through trade, religion, and culture Dependent on Egypt at times Independent at times Ruled Egypt for a time Source of luxury materials for Egypt: gold, ivory, slaves, gems, elephants, lions, granite Received manufactured goods back from Egypt like linen cloth, glass, oils, wine & govt., religion Nubian Kingdoms on the Middle and Upper Nile Egypt Nubia Nubian Kingdoms and Cities 2500 BCE to Roman Period Kerma – large agricultural settlement on Middle Nile – invaded by Egypt and disappeared Napata – ruled Egypt during 25th dynasty Kush – had own pharaonic rulers Meroe – ruling city of Kush, further south, away from Egyptian domination Nubian Kingdoms and Cities Kerma Large agricultural settlement in Middle Nile area Conquered by Egyptian Thutmoses I Kerma then disappeared by about 1580 BCE The Western Deffufa (temple) of Kerma made of mud bricks Nubian/Kushite Sphinx of Taharqo Ruler, 690-664 BCE History of “Palestinian Territory” Also known as the Ancient Near East Constant conflict from within and with neighboring peoples Hebrew People and Canaan – historical figures 1. Abraham 2. Exodus from Egypt (1700 BCE) 3. King Saul and King David (1020-922 BCE) 4. Divided Kingdom – Israel and Judah (922 – 587 BCE) Problems in Ancient Palestine: Location, Location, Location? Map of Ancient Palestine Phoenicians Philistines Israelites, Hebrew Peoples Conquest of Hebrew People by Outside Invaders 1. Israel and the Assyrians (722 BCE) 2. Judah and Babylon (Mesopotamians) (587 BCE) 3. Exile of Hebrews in Babylon/Egypt Return from Exile of the Hebrews 1. Cyrus the Persian 2. Darius the Persian Flood Story Comparison – Religious and Cultural Traditions Discussion of Epic of Gilgamesh: Questions: 1. What can EofG tell us about Mesopotamian society, in particular? 2. What does the epic tell us about life, in general, in cultures of that time? 3. Similarities between EofG and other stories? Why so similar, in your view?