Our First Stop – Ancient Mesopotamia

Since I first decided to undertake the project of making this podcast, the going has been tough. Final exams, summer classes, and a hard drive crash have all conspired against what progress I originally made in researching the early part of the podcast, but as summer has worn on I've managed to get some writing done, and I hope to launch the podcast within a month or two.

My aim is to launch after I've recorded about 10 episodes or so, as I need a little cushion in case life gets crazy again. As I work through the process of writing and planning the episodes I'd like to post some updates and give a brief outline of how the podcast will progress to those of you kind enough to visit the website.

That all being said, our first episode will take us back to the dawn of history, where the proto-Sumerians known as the Ubaid people began the transition to a structured civilization. Their location in southern Mesopotamia had much to do with the early development of cities and the civilization there, but it also had much to do with the way mankind's early water travel developed. We will see how the main materials available to the Ubaid people were the reeds prevalent in the marshes of southern Mesopotamia and how they adapted reeds and the versatile substance bitumen to create their houses and their boats.

We'll consider what the early evidence of watercraft in southern Mesopotamia can tell us about the development of water travel, and we will also see just how much trade the earliest of people actually engaged in. It will be an interesting journey to a vital location in the development of civilization, and it will help us get started in our look at maritime history.

The image above shows the marsh homes and boats that are still in use in a region of southeast Iraq. This still extant culture gives us a great idea of what a portion of the Ubaid people and their Sumerian successors lived like in the marshes of southern Mesopotamia.

 

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