Field Director Augusta McMahon at Cambridge University Dig at Tell Brak, Syria Credit
I set my coming novel at the end of the Ubaid Period, ca. 3800 BC. As we have seen in previous posts, this unique period follows the 5.9Kya Event which is suspected of stimulating the transition from Ubaid practices to Uruk practices in the early Sumerian culture. Thus, we might expect a recognizable cultural conflict between groups of “old school Ubaid” and groups of “new school Uruk” regarding religion, housing, farming, crafts, elites, urbanization, wealth building and regional politics. Such a conflict can only be identified in this preliterate period by a change in the material culture. This changed the culture at the city of Uruk directionally from a “staples financed” to a “wealth financed” economy based upon Gil Stein‘s 1994 “Economy, Ritual, and Power” and my previous posts on Uruk’s culture.
I strongly urge you to read Stein’s paper, which is the basis for my table below. Gil Stein is one of the foremost scholars on the Ubaid material culture. You might also take this opportunity to download the 404 page Beyond the Ubaid which is a collection of papers from a symposium on the Ubaid published by the Oriental Institute in 2010.
The following table reflects my own interpretation of Gil Stein’s paper in the first two columns, and my own conclusions about Uruk Inc.’s additions to the structure of the Ubaid Co-op culture. My comments therein about Uruk’s emergence as an aggressor are supported by my post 157 and others among the previous posts link above.
Since I’m currently writing a chapter in my novel about this cultural transition among the Ubaid inhabitants of the city of Uruk from a cooperative culture into the first large city state—an aggressive one at that—I’ve got enough material to carry me another week.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke