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Sumer

Sumer
Cities of Sumer (en).svg
Geographical range Near East - Middle East
Period Late Neolithic - Middle Bronze Age
Dates c. 4500 – c. 2004 BCE

Sumer (/ˈʃmər/) was the first urban civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia, modern-day southern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze ages, and arguably the first civilization in the world with Ancient Egypt and the Indus Valley. Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumerian farmers were able to grow an abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus of which enabled them to settle in one place.

Proto-writing in the prehistory dates back to c. 3000 BC. The earliest texts come from the cities of Uruk and Jemdet Nasr and date back to 3300 BC; early cuneiform writing emerged in 3000 BC.

Modern historians have suggested that Sumer was first permanently settled between c. 5500 and 4000 BC by a West Asian people who spoke the Sumerian language (pointing to the names of cities, rivers, basic occupations, etc., as evidence), an agglutinative language isolate.

These conjectured, prehistoric people are now called "proto-Euphrateans" or "Ubaidians", and are theorized to have evolved from the Samarra culture of northern Mesopotamia. The Ubaidians (though never mentioned by the Sumerians themselves) are assumed by modern-day scholars to have been the first civilizing force in Sumer, draining the marshes for agriculture, developing trade, and establishing industries, including weaving, leatherwork, metalwork, masonry, and pottery.


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