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6 - Urbanization and the techniques of communication: the Mesopotamian city of Uruk during the fourth millenniumBCE

from Part II - Early cities and information technologies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2015

Norman Yoffee
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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Summary

Urbanization in the Ancient Near East is inseparably tied to the name of the city of Uruk in southern Mesopotamia. This chapter discusses the earlier developments, focusing on the communication technologies, which can count as forerunners of writing. Presumably, Uruk was surrounded with a city wall built over during subsequent phases of city growth. The appearance of writing in southern Mesopotamia is preceded by a long development of various means of information storage and processing, related to the evolution of a stratified social system and highly differentiated economy. Information on the time before 3300, including both the older part of the Late Uruk period, and the Early Uruk and Late Ubaid periods, is scarce. The best evidence comes from a deep sounding in Uruk itself, which reaches back into the fifth millennium BCE. Finally, it presents a picture of the interdependence between urbanization and the development of communication technologies.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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