155. The Ubaid as grandfathers of Uruk and Sumerians.

How I envision Ubaid inhabiting submerged Persian Gulf Valley in Post 113.

PERU – 1981/01/01: Amazon River, Peru, Jivaro Indian Playing A Traditional Flute. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images) Notice that he cradles a blowgun in his left arm.

 

 

In prior posts, we hypothesized the emergence of the Ubaid culture of Eridu, Ur, and Susa as refugees from the now submerged Tigris-Euphrates-Persian Gulf Valley, who were forced upstream from the rising Persian Gulf until sea level stabilized and Eridu, Ur, and Susa were developed as early settlements—probably the latest of a series of structures that extends back beneath the Persian Gulf.

The Ubaid material culture spread rapidly upstream but seems to have thinned the further it left the delta. I’ve suggested much of that diffusion is akin to the modern global spread of technology—because the Ubaid pottery was a distinct improvement in satisfying the basic needs less satisfied by pre existing technology in the eyes of the importers.

This “pull” (not pushed) market for Ubaid innovation extended to tri-partite homes, which were a distinct functional upgrade from preceding hut layouts. Suburban cemeteries replaced less sanitary burial practices, like having grandma’s body plucked by vultures. Buttress and recessed architecture was an obvious improvement, because it is stronger and amenable to scaling upwards into larger public facilities including temples. Good ideas travel—in fact, it is impossible to stop them from traveling.

I think the Ubaid inventors were indigenous to the Persian Gulf, and had little reason to leave except for population pressure from the success of their agricultural innovations, or weather events that undercut harvests below the basic needs of existing population, or plagues, or invaders drove them out.

But, what evidence do we have that they left or died out? Far more likely is they remained, were infused by new blood, perhaps conquered and then absorbed their conquerors—perhaps several times. The language-isolate “proto-Euphratean” could have evolved from a pidgin of successive large infusions of diverse groups—like successive waves of invaders speaking proto Uralic, others speaking proto-Indo-European, others Out-of-Africa languages, and yet others proto-Dravidian. Remember, in a world of open borders and the phenomenal wealth of the new agriculture, success would have drawn aggression.

When the 5.9 KYA Event disturbed the equilibrium, the current amalgam inhabiting Southern Mesopotamia would certainly have felt the heat of increased invasions from the harder-hit northern steppes and now desiccated Arabian savannah. Since the polyglot population was already tempered by centuries of immigration and an emerging patois that served to unify, it is not a stretch to hypothesize that they were likely to respond to the 5.9 KYA stress as aggressors rather than victims.

And the evidence, although not all agree, was their destruction of Hamoukar in 3,500 BC, and takeover of their obsidian extraction, cutting, and production of tool and weapon points and edges.

That is now my working hypothesis.

Thanks for visiting,

R. E. J. Burke

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