Northern Mesopotamia

Report
Water and Early Civilization
in Mesopotamia
Jason Ur
John L. Loeb Associate Professor
of the Social Sciences
Department of Anthropology
Harvard University
Wa te r i n C o n tex t : E x p l o r i n g w a te r i n t h e M i d d l e Ea st r e g i o n t h r o u g h G I S
m a p p i n g a n d c r o s s - d i s c i p l i n a r y p e r s p e c t i v e s – 2 8 S e p te m b e r 2 0 1 2
Foci
• “Greater Mesopotamia”
• Water at a Regional Scale
Modern
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia:
Geography
Rainfall in the Middle East
Seasonality of Temperature & Rainfall
(Mosul, Northern Mesopotamia)
Assyria
Northern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
April 2003 (MODIS Image)
Red = Vegetation (agriculture)
Uruk
Southern Mesopotamia
Northern Mesopotamia: Zagros Foothills
Northern Mesopotamia: Rain-Fed Agriculture
Mesopotamia
3 Nov 2003
Topography of
Southern Mesopotamia
Marshes of southern Mesopotamia
Water and Mesopotamian Origins
ca. 3000-1500 BC
Head of the Gulf?
Uruk
Irrigation in
Southern
Mesopotamia
Why irrigate?
• Quantity of water
• Timing of water
• Higher and more reliable yields
Water Transport
Mesopotamian
Cities
City of Ur, ca. 1700 BC
Salinization through Over-Irrigation
Mesopotamia as
a Riverine
Civilization
Settlement and
Watercourses
ca. 2000 BC
Water and
Kings
Hammurabi and
Shamash, the Sun God
The Dynamic Environment
Small Fluctuations: Oxbows
Levee Formation
Dramatic Shifts: River Avulsions
Abandonment
of the Central
Floodplain
Northern Mesopotamia
Assyria
Water in Northern
Mesopotamia
Uruk
Upper Tigris River Valley
Sennacherib
(704-681 BC)
Capitals of the
Neo-Assyrian
Empire
ca. 900-600 BC
The Assyrian Empire,
900-700 BC
MEDIA
SOUTHERN
MESOPOTAMIA
From Wilkinson et al. 2005, based on Roaf 1990
Assyrian Forced Migration of
Conquered Peoples
From Layard, Monuments of Nineveh vol. I
Nimrud
(ancient Kalkhu)
Negub Tunnel
Water for
Nimrud?
Local
Conforming
Irrigation
to
Topography
Nineveh (ca. 700 BC)
The Cross-Watershed Earthwork near Bandwai
Sennacherib’s “Northern System”
Maltai Canal
Faida Canal
Bandwai Canal
Uskof Canal
Khorsabad
CrossWatershed
Earthwork
Kisiri Canal
Dam at
al-Shallalat
Nineveh
CrossWatershed
Earthwork
Canalhead at
Khinis
Aqueduct
at Jerwan
Dam at
al-Shallalat
Nineveh
Ancient Canals near Bahrka
Satellite Image (1967)
View on Ground (2012)
The Collapse of Assyria
Qanat/Karez Irrigation
Ancient Karez
Satellite Image (1967)
View on Ground (2012)
Concluding Points
• Water was always a critical element
for early civilizations
• …but with human ingenuity
• Various levels of social organization
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
DR. JASON UR
[email protected]
http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~anthro/ur/

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