Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ARCH 21908: Archaeology of the Ancient Near East : Early Bronze Age (EBA) Mesopotamia

This guide will help you get started with your research for Archaeology of the Ancient Near East

Early Bronze Age (EBA) Mesopotamia

Collapse of the Uruk cities left a vacuum in Mesopotamia. But that was soon filled by the first “civilizations” or city-states and empires of the world. In Mesopotamia these appeared in the Early Bronze Age (about 3,200–2,100 BCE). The main features of this period include the development of elaborate writing systems under the rule of multiple Sumerian city-states in southern Mesopotamia in the Early Dynastic Period. These city states, however, were soon unified by Sargon into the Akkadian Empire, the most extensive polity seen so far. The fall of Akkad, caused by a major and long-term drought, opened the door for the migration of Amorites to Mesopotamia as well as the establishment of the Third Dynasty of Ur or the Neo-Sumerian Empire, whose “royal cemetery” demonstrates the apex of social complexity and social stratification in the Near East. At the same time, the genesis of a new empire, the Elamites, was planted in southwestern Iran.

Key Sites

Arslantepe (Turkey)

Eridu (Iraq)

Hacinebi (Turkey)

Nippur (Iraq)

Tall-I Malyan (Iran)

Tell Leilan (Syria)

Ur (Iraq)

Key Citations

Adamo, Nasrat, and Nadhir Al-Ansari

2020  The Sumerians and the Akkadians : The Forerunners of the First Civilization (2900-2003BC). Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering 10(3):17–39.

Alden, John R., Dennis Heskel, Richard Hodges, Gregory A. Johnson, Philip L. Kohl, Manfred Korfmann, C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, A. Le Brun, F. Vallat, Louis D. Levine, Ronald T. Marchese, James Mellaart, Hans J. Nissen, Jim G. Shaffer, and Trevor Watkins

1982  Trade and Politics in Proto-Elamite Iran [and Comments and Reply]. Current Anthropology 23(6):613–640. DOI:10.1086/202914.

Alizadeh, Abbas

2010  The Rise of the Highland Elamite State in Southwestern Iran: “Enclosed” or Enclosing Nomadism? Current Anthropology 51(3):353–383. DOI:10.1086/652437.

Altman, Amnon

2004  Tracing the Earliest Recorded Concepts of International Law. The Early Dynastic Period in Southern Mesopotamia. Journal of the History of International Law 6(2):153–172. DOI:10.1163/1571805042782145.

Asher-Greve, Julia M.

2013  Women and Agency: A Survey From Late Uruk to the End of Ur III. In The Sumerian World, pp. 359–378. Routledge, Abingdon.

Cookson, Evangeline, Daniel J. Hill, and Dan Lawrence

2019  Impacts of long term climate change during the collapse of the Akkadian Empire. Journal of Archaeological Science 106:1–9. DOI:10.1016/j.jas.2019.03.009.

Couto-Ferreira, M. Erica

2017  “Let me be your canal”: some thoughts on agricultural landscape and female bodies in Sumero-Akkadian source. In The First Ninety Years: A Sumerian Celebration in Honor of Miguel Civil, edited by Lluís Feliu, Fumi Karahashi, and Gonzalo Rubio, pp. 54–69. Studies in ancient Near Eastern records volume 12. De Gruyter, Boston ; Berlin.

Englund, Robert K.

2015  Hard Work-Where Will It Get You? Labor Management in Ur III Mesopotamia. Journal of Near Eastern Studies. DOI:10.1086/373514, accessed August 26, 2020.

Pollock, Susan

1991  Of Priestesses, Princes and Poor Relations: The Dead in the Royal Cemetery of Ur. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 1(2):171–189.

Sallaberger, Walther

2014  The Value of Wool in Early Bronze Age Mesopotami. On the Control. In Wool Economy in the Ancient Near East, edited by Catherine Breniquet and Cecile Michel, pp. 94–114. Oxbow Books, Oxford.