Ancient Mesopotamia: The Environmental Conditions Effects

Many scholars believe that in Mesopotamia, environmental conditions have had a significant effect on the development of a complex society. The environmental determinants include the production of food, settlement patterns, and social organization. The time under consideration is the late 5th and early 4th century BC. One of the pioneering books, that related the effect of environmental determinants in the formation of complex society in Mesopotamia, was Heartland of Cities. The focus of the book was to elucidate the effect of southern alluvium and the effect of irrigation agriculture on urbanization and settlement.

According to Adam, “institutional forms and trends of growth…Emphasizing basic similarities in structure rather than the many acknowledged formal features by which each culture is rendered distinguishable from all others, it seeks to demonstrate that both the societies in question [Uruk Mesopotamia and central Mexico] can usefully be regarded as variants of a single processual pattern”. He further states that in the formation of complex societies in the Uruk settlements, natural forces had an important contribution. Therefore reiterates what Adams (1981) emphasized that natural resources like agricultural production, environment, etc., had a strong effect on the built world by humans.

Therefore, it can be argued that the fundamentals that caused the changes in the Uruk settlement were predominantly natural. Further, many also make nature the baseline for the study of the origin of complexity. As in the case of modern ethnography, it can be asserted that complex human societies are an outcome of the interaction of human settlements with the natural environment. Therefore, the belief that has been asserted by scholars like Adams has been reinforced by modern ethnographic studies. Thus, through the usage of ethnographic methodology, the fullest knowledge regarding the Mesopotamian, complex societies may be derived, and the influence the environment had on their development can be ascertained.

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