Mesopotamia

Our early humans have been busy learning and developing new skills. After many years of moving around to find food, people started to gather and settle in what is named Mesopotamia. The land was good, and there was easy access to water and fishing. Life was somewhat easier.

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Farming meant new foods including wheat. Using a recipe from our book on Mesopotamia we made wheat and honey biscuits. While we didn’t make goat butter, we enjoyed the fact that our early friends had made this discovery and ate our bread with butter.

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We all agreed that this was a step up from our lizard stew and could be happy eating these food for a long time. We also enjoyed some of the new fruits that would have been found in Mesopotamia including apples, grapes, and pomegranates.
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As I read to the girls about the transition from nomad to farmer, they used legos to create an example of the first villages. They created small huts clustered together surrounded by a fence made of brush and spiked branches. The river ran nearby which the girls liked to pretend to take their newly domesticated animals to (the lego one eyed creatures).

WeavingWith the domestication of sheep and goats our early people began making cloth out of wool and goat hair. Working in their homes the women would weave the wool first into belts and then later into large garments.

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Mesopotamia is often credited with inventing the wheel, but we learned that it wasn’t a wheel for a cart but rather the potter’s wheel. These first wheels are termed slow wheels as they were turned by hand or foot as the potter made coil pots which allowed the potter to not get up and walk around the pot.

9.5-Madison-12Baked pottery is also new. The girls thought this would be the job they would pick if they had a choice. We tried our hand at pinch and coiled pots.

WritingWe learned that this clay was also used as clay tablets for a form of writing to record and communicate different types of information. The earliest writing was based on pictograms. Pictograms were used to communicate basic information about crops and taxes. Over time, the need for writing changed and the signs developed into a script we call cuneiform.

We start to also see evidence of religion in ancient Mesopotamia. Ziggurats were huge rectangular stepped tower with temples at the top. It was easy for the girls to grasp the advances in construction and building materials as they worked to create their own Ziggurat.

Tower of Bable

A cuneiform version of the familiar biblical story of the Tower of Babel from Sumer, the first civilization to appear in the ancient Near East, reads:  “The building of this tower (temple) highly offended the gods. In a night they (threw down) what man had built, and impeded their progress. They were scattered abroad, and their speech was strange.”