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The Enigmatic Founders of Civilization

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posted on May, 15 2017 @ 08:30 AM
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It is becoming increasingly apparent the tremendous role that Uruk played in the developing of civilizations across the Near East and beyond, what is little understood is how they exerted such influence and the ideology behind it, i'll try to adrress those issues to some extent.

As an example, it's generally considered that Uruk had contact with and thus played a role in the development of Pre-Dynastic Egypt, however the evidence indicates that in particular that contact was either with or through Susa in SW Iran.




Glyptics are one of the indicators of the existence of elites in contact with the Urukian sphere during the periods of Naqada IIb-c-d1 in Upper-Egypt. Cylinder-seals are relatively rare objects in the tombs and always associated with abundant and opulent funerary deposits. Sometimes lapis-lazuli, which must have been brought to Egypt by Urukian emissaries as well, is found in the same graves as the cylinder-seals


Earliest Cyclinder seal glyptic in Egypt

Susa is considered within the Urukian sphere however that relationship is not well understood nor the route of the transmission of the seals to Egypt, in fact though Susa was the end point of a whole series of staging posts that extended Urukian influence through Central Iran at Tepe Sialk and into NE Iran through sites such as Godin Tepe in aquiring resources from the highlands, and that they were working in conjunction with those populations, thus Susa was acting as a hub.

Iran and Uruk Mesopotamia.

The Comparative Stratigraphy of early Iran

Susa itself goes on to play a leading role in the development of Proto-Elamite culture, but i want to give consideration to the intermediate period of Jemdet Nasr that follows on from the Uruk period and leads onto Dynastic Sumer, the pottery and seal impressions of Jemdet Nasr indicate that this developed through Susa, that an administrative hub is established in Mesopotamia itself, that still served the interests of Uruk, the sign for this centre the UB sign, or pentagram.

Jemdet Nasr


Of the 243 tablets currently identified as dating to the Uruk III/Jemdet Nasr period (c.3000 BCE) , the UB symbol, or pentagram, occurs 46 times on 33




Seals found at Jemdet Nasr indicate groupings of signs representing the various City states of Mesopotamia bound together in a federation, the particular title of the UB administrative centre appears to have been NI-RU, and from there a ration based system appears to have been regulated, there is confusion though as the site could also be understood as UB, this seems however to indicate the supra-state community, the essential meaning bound as one, though the UB sign also had application in terms of angles/quarters the overall Pentagram concerns itself with all directions.

The notion of UB-me-ki rendered as Umma causes further confusion when the community translates to Giš(š)a, seemingly the City has two names and has relocated from Northern Mesopotamia to the South, but likely this is a transference of a community.


The geographical name UB(ki) of Late Uruk and Early Dynastic sources cannot be identical with UB-meki = Umma, because UB(ki) may have been the writing of several localities, none of which were situated in southern Mesopotamia.

Lambert was the first to discuss systematically the names of “Umma”. He identified two distinctive writings for the city: ĝešKUŠU2ki and UB-meki. After having studied lexical evidence, Lambert concluded that Babylonians believed “Umma” to be the Sumerian name of the city, while Kišša or Kissa was its Akkadian counterpart.


On the Sumerian City UB-meki

The term is actually still in common usage as Umma refers to the supra-national community of Islam, this from the Semitic loan of UB as hbr relating to binding also in the magical sense which explains a traditional association of the Pentagram.



It's the case then that one can discern a sense of purpose in the symbolism involved, that of binding together different regions and cultures, and also the case that the original focal point of that was Uruk and notably the cult of Inanna, in astrological terms the motif indicates the sub-division of the ecliptic plane into five sectors by the movements of Venus over an eight year period and it was also the case that the God of Umma was the son of Inanna, namely Sara, who had a sub-ordinate role towards the establishment of her cult.


Like Šara, Inana's beloved son, shoot forth with your barbed arrows like a sunbeam, shoot forth with reed-arrows like moonlight! May the barbed arrows be a horned viper to those they hit!


Sara eventually mellows into the basis for Eros, but his cult was also established at Mount Seir in Edom/Jordan and he was a Hurrian Deity that became adopted by the Nabateans;


The Nabateans had two principal gods in their pantheon. These deities were Dhu Shara, or Duchares and al-Uzza. Duchares means Lord of Shera (Seir), a local mountain and thunder god who was worshipped at a rock high place as a block of stone frequently squared, in the form of a Ka'aba. a 'cubic' black stone

A stele is dedicated to Qos-allah 'Qos is Allah' or 'Qos the god', by Qosmilk is found at Petra . Qos is identifiable with Kaush (Qaush) the God of the older Edomites.

There is continuing debate about the nature of Qos (qaus - bow) who has been identified both with a hunting bow (hunting god) and a rainbow (weather god) although the crescent above is also a bow.


Jordan appears to have been settled around 3,500 BC by groups acting in conjunction with Uruk, as a staging post into the Southern Levant;


The Early Bronze Age settlement phase of Jawa (3500–3000 BCE) is characterized by a highly sophisticated water storage system made of a series of pools, dams, and canals. In addition, recent archaeological and geoarchaeological surveys have uncovered agricultural terrace systems in the nearby vicinity.

Jemdet Nasr-Various seals and impressions relatively close to the Jawa repertoire have been found: e.g. net patterns in sub-circular registers dated in the Uruk era


Desert agricultural systems at Jawa

Ancient Jordanian settlements




edit on Kam531134vAmerica/ChicagoMonday1531 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 15 2017 @ 09:02 AM
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a reply to: Kantzveldt

Very interesting. Thanks! A period of history with which I am relatively unfamiliar.



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 09:35 AM
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a reply to: TonyS

Most people are relatively speaking, but the question raised here is that did civilization develop independently and organically in the various regions or was there a group that concerned itself with expanding such, the evidence is beginning to suggest that the latter was the case, that for example they had ongoing contact even with a region as distant as Egypt from Uruk over a period of 400 years, even before the Dynastic Period began.



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 12:07 PM
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originally posted by: Kantzveldt
As an example, it's generally considered that Uruk had contact with and thus played a role in the development of Pre-Dynastic Egypt


As far as I can tell, you are the only one maintaining this. The evidence contradicts this. There are some goods but no real indication of influence (just as we import goods from Malawi, but there's no evidence of Malawi influencing the United States.
edit on 15-5-2017 by Byrd because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 12:21 PM
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a reply to: Byrd

Not true, the contact with the Uruk sphere is generally accepted, did you read the link...?

Early Egyptian Glyptics

The issue has been with the route of transmission as there are no intermediary sites in Syria and the Levant containing these types of seal for that period which is why i consider the sea route through the gulf the likeliest, but the contact was over a 400 year period from 3,600 to 3,200 Bc, after that trade and contact through the Levant is well developed.


It could maybe involve the existence of another route for the earliest periods. The other route would consist of passing by the South by sea from Iran or from the Gulf, going around Arabia to reach the shores of Egypt and the Wadi Hammamât.

The agents of these trading expeditions may have used the region’s gold as an exchange good (Moorey 1990/68). This Southern route remains entirely hypothetical as long as no proof (a shipwreck or Iranian/Mesopotamian artefacts on the Egyptian coasts of the Red Sea) is found to support it.



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 03:13 PM
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Actually Kantz,

The levant is the early link between anatolia, mesopotamia and egypt, going back to nearly the end of the YD.
Lithics of patterns typical of the area near jericho, have turned up at Gobleki Tepi, early settlements along the nile, and in mesopotamia, just as items from those areas have turned in and around jericho.



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 03:49 PM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

Yes it was but the question is what was the political and cultural situation during the Uruk period, there is evidence to indicate conflict between the city states of Syria and Uruk such as Hamoukar


Excavation work undertaken in 2005 and 2006 has shown that this city was destroyed around 3500 BC. This may be the evidence of the earliest urban warfare attested so far in the archaeological record of the Near East. Slings and thousands of clay bullets have been found -- evidence of the siege that the city endured.

The city could have fallen victim to the Uruk expansion around 3500 BC. There are remains of an Uruk trading colony in the area.


The reason i concluded the OP with links to what i consider the extension of Uruk sphere influence into Northern Jordan circa 3,500 Bc at Jawa and elsewhere was to demonstrate that the land route through to the Southern Levant for Uruk was still work in progress at that period, they were expanding in conjunction with Iranian elements, by 3,300 Bc these had established Khirbet Kerek controlling the trans-Jordan region, it's the case that Jordan and Canaan became under NE Iranian/Hurrian control as evidenced through Trans-Caucasian pottery and that there was opposition to that, there is contact with the first Egyptian Dynasties evidenced at Khirbet Kerek, though the political situation was changing overall by that time.



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 04:01 PM
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a reply to: Kantzveldt

I have way too many questions just to understand what it is you are even talking about. Could you speak more generally about what it is you have discovered or attempt to explain here?



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 04:18 PM
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originally posted by: Kantzveldt
a reply to: Byrd

Not true, the contact with the Uruk sphere is generally accepted, did you read the link...?

Early Egyptian Glyptics



Yes, I did and I'm familiar with them. But this was simply a trading point or small group and was not the source of the Egyptian culture. The deposits are in general isolated and some are without other context (a gift from a distant person and nothing more, perhaps.)

People around the Mediterranean learned from each other (Pausanius, a geographer and historian of the 2nd Century AD says that Samians Rhoikos and Theodoros learned large scale bronze casting from the Egyptians - in the Archaic Period. (ref: Heinz, S. S. (2014). "Casting Technologies and Cultural Connections at an Egyptian Harbour Town.". Anatolica., 197-218. - specifically p.211) This does not mean that the Archaic Greeks learned Greek civilization from the Egyptians. Egyptians certainly had enclaves and colonies near there.

Trade does not mean civilization. It means contact and technology swapping.

Furthermore, there is evidence of Egyptian trading areas in southern Canaan during the Naqada III period

But Canaan did not learn civilization from Egypt. And Egyptian civilization begins at Naqada which is halfway down the Nile.



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 05:17 PM
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a reply to: LucidWarrior

It is a pity that when drawing on specialized evidence as required to make the case that tends to leave most behind, but basically what is involved is the development of the earliest advanced civilization of Uruk and those who facilitated such, the reason for it's importance related to the Ubaid period and the greater regional influence of that.



Further to the Ubaid period developments i have expanded upon the importance of the UB, as a community dedicated to the advancement of the cause of Uruk, which was that of the advancement of civilization and technological development, it was that same group which went on to colonize Canaan and found Jerusalem, they were very influential.

a reply to: Byrd

The contact was ongoing for a 400 year period, upon first arrival the natives were at the Late Neolithic stage they wore the seals as exotic items because they were not then capable of organizing administrative function , and thus they were taught accounting and record keeping over time and developed and practised this themselves.

I also made the case that advanced metallurgy and craft techniques would have been introduced by the Iranian elements along with minerals and ores from Iran and beyond, aside from these practical considerations the Urukian sphere was far more advanced in terms of organized religion and the ideologies required for civilization, the Egyptians had a great deal they could learn from them.

Dynastic Egypt is what emerged from this prolonged contact, they did very well for themselves but i think credit should be given were due, and there is something of an avoidance of the issue these days in terms of what is made commonly known, not that the experts are unaware though.
edit on Kpm531134vAmerica/ChicagoMonday1531 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 07:23 PM
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Cool thanks for the history lesson



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 09:54 PM
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a reply to: Kantzveldt



I also made the case that advanced metallurgy and craft techniques would have been introduced by the Iranian elements along with minerals and ores from Iran and beyond,

In that case, you would be both correct and incorrect.
You are incorrect in regards to the diffusion of copper alloy metallurgy, it is pretty clear that the origins of bronze are in the "tainted" copper ores of the balkans, and the Vinca.
The spread eastward around the north of the black sea has been clearly associated with the Indo european nomadic horsemen of the southern steppe. In this regard you are correct, the eastern branch(the indo iranians) of this broadly related yet diverse group of people, helped spread advanced techniques to the indignous copper users on the iranian plateau and eastward into the sub continent.
The evidence also clearly shows that metallurgy spreads from the caucus, across the armenian plateau, into mesopotia and back to the west.



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 11:08 PM
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originally posted by: punkinworks10
a reply to: Kantzveldt



I also made the case that advanced metallurgy and craft techniques would have been introduced by the Iranian elements along with minerals and ores from Iran and beyond,

In that case, you would be both correct and incorrect.
You are incorrect in regards to the diffusion of copper alloy metallurgy, it is pretty clear that the origins of bronze are in the "tainted" copper ores of the balkans, and the Vinca.


Allow me to modify that - any civilization with access to copper and other metals ALSO developed a type of bronze. In Egypt, as with some other areas, this continued well into the Iron Age when sources of tin weren't readily available.


See Hill, M. (2004). Royal Bronze Statuary from Ancient Egypt: with special attention to the kneeling pose. Brill.

Arsenical copper was also in use - while not quite as hard as bronze it's harder than copper.



posted on May, 15 2017 @ 11:59 PM
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originally posted by: Kantzveldt
The contact was ongoing for a 400 year period, upon first arrival the natives were at the Late Neolithic stage they wore the seals as exotic items because they were not then capable of organizing administrative function , and thus they were taught accounting and record keeping over time and developed and practised this themselves.


And where's your proof that they "were not capable of organizing administrative function" and that the Mesopotamians were? If you'll recall, Naqda II was not a culture of tiny villages.

What's your archaeological evidence for them being taught accounting and record keeping given that the Egyptians had footholds in the Sinai and northward and were actively trading there?



I also made the case that advanced metallurgy and craft techniques would have been introduced by the Iranian elements along with minerals and ores from Iran and beyond, aside from these practical considerations the Urukian sphere was far more advanced in terms of organized religion and the ideologies required for civilization, the Egyptians had a great deal they could learn from them.

But they didn't borrow any of their gods (which would have happened if they picked up religious thought from them.

And then there's this quote
"On the other hand, the historio-geographic distribution of the various occurrences of early writing systems seems to indicate, as Ignaz Gelb has pointed out in his famous „Study of Writing“ (Gelb, 1952, pp. 212-220), that the idea spread at the beginning of the third millennium B.C. from a center in Mesopotamia and Egypt in various directions Source: Damerow, Peter. "The origins of writing as a problem of historical epistemology." (1999).

So evidence says that everyone developed writing pretty much independently.

Furthermore, since writing emerges from accounting, the tokens and systems used in the Mesopotamian areas for accounting are NOT present in Egypt. If they learned it from the Mesopotamians, they would be using the same symbols.

Source: Schmandt-Besserat, Denise. "The origins of writing: an archaeologist's perspective." Written Communication 3.1 (1986): 31-45.


Dynastic Egypt is what emerged from this prolonged contact, they did very well for themselves but i think credit should be given were due, and there is something of an avoidance of the issue these days in terms of what is made commonly known, not that the experts are unaware though.

I think you have misinterpreted the evidence and are missing out on other evidence.


edit on 16-5-2017 by Byrd because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 16 2017 @ 12:21 AM
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a reply to: Kantzveldt


The Egyptian context is hence very different from that of Mesopotamia in Middle Uruk and this may explain why Egyptians did not initially use the cylinder-seal for management processes and why the seals were adopted as “exotic” and decorative objects, which were recognized as social markers. At first, the importation of the “seal” objects had nothing to do with any accounting system (no calculi bullae or clay tablets has been discovered in Egypt to date). The first independent accounting elements in Egypt are jar labels and those only appear as of the beginning of Naqada IIIa in the U-j tomb and are dissociated from glyptics. They indicate quantities and possibly origins of the products. Although glyptics start to be used to seal ceramic containers, bags or basketworks as early as Late Naqada IId, they are never used on independent administrative documents. Contrary to Mesopotamia, neither the accounting support nor the notation systems had undergone the various evolutionary stages which led to the tablet and to the first Mesopotamian pictograms [11]. The adoption of the first accounting systems in Egypt thus appear to be borrowed from eastern neighbours’ systems, which explains why they arrive, just as do glyptics, as a ready-to-use system. Besides, the ivory labels as shown in U-j tomb (Abydos) are connected with Egyptian W-class pottery and the seal impressions with jars imported from the Near-East.
grepal.free.fr...


These were items of trade, influence did not came from any special class of governing Near Easterners tutoring the natives, like I and others have said before, the immediate areas surrounding what would become a political entity called Egypt was much more important and influential than far away Uruk.

The following is a "North Saharan" — from "Kargur Talh" in particular — rendition dating to ca. 6ky to 7ky BP; it notably sports a male figure holding what appears to be a staff, reminiscent of the Was scepter..


3500 BC, found in the Hierakonpolis tomb 100, sporting several individuals holding what appear to be Was scepter.


The Mesolithic art of the Levante culture is so different from the Franco- Cantabric one that these cultures seem to be both historically and ethni- cally independent. Possibly both cultures had parallels in northern Africa: the Franco-Cantabric style resembles the rock engravings in the Sahara Atlas and the oasis Fezzan (south of Tripoli). Between 7000 and 6000 BP cultures based on cattle breeding reached this from Sudan. They continued the same realistic style (mainly with contours engraved in the rock) but with different contents. In a similar way the Levante style is imitated by Mesolithic rock-drawings in the mountains further south: Hoggar, Gilf Kebir a.o. Here the paintings on the rock show pictures of social life in a very vivid although formalized style. Figure 8 shows a family scene found in Kargur Talh
www.researchgate.net...[ /url]

Was scepter in later Ta- Seti, Egypt and Kush.

These are the originators of civilizations on the Nile, I cannot stress enough that movements in this part of Africa was every bit as dynamic as it was for Mesopotamia .



Perhaps the reason they thought the seals where just kool looking was because they had their own.
Putting it more bluntly these visitors did not jump start civilizations on the Nile.

Bone and ivory tags, pottery vessels, and clay seal impressions bearing hieroglyphs unearthed at Abydos, 300 miles south of Cairo, have been dated to between 3400 and 3200 B.C., making them the oldest known examples of Egyptian writing. The tags, each measuring 2 by 1 1/2 centimeters and containing between one and four glyphs, were discovered by excavators from the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo in the predynastic ruler Scorpion I's tomb. Institute director Günter Dreyer says the tags and ink-inscribed pottery vessels have been dated to 3200 B.C. based upon contextual and radiocarbon analysis. The seal impressions, from various tombs, date even further back, to 3400 B.C. These dates challenge the commonly held belief that early logographs, pictographic symbols representing a specific place, object, or quantity, first evolved into more complex phonetic symbols in Mesopotamia. Denise Schmandt-Besserat, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, explains as follows the reasons why it is now held that writing spread from Mesopotamia to Egypt. Mesopotamia provides data that illustrates the step by step evolution of data processing from 8000 B.C. to the present. Clay counters of many shapes - tokens - were used to count goods in early agricultural communities from 8000 to 3000 B.C.. When the Mesopotamian script written on clay tablets appeared, coinciding with the rise of the state, about 3200 B.C., it visibly evolved from the token system. Tokens and writing had an identical function. Both served strictly for accounting the same types of goods, namely small cattle, cereals, oil, textiles, etc. The written signs were traced in the shape of tokens, bearing the same markings. The signs were organized using the same order as the previous tokens. Apparently, about 3100 B.C., the Mesopotamian state administration required that the names of the individuals, that either received or gave the goods stipulated, be entered on the accounting tables
[url=http://]http://archive.archaeology.org/9903/newsbriefs/egypt.html




edit on 16-5-2017 by Spider879 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 16 2017 @ 12:24 AM
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Arsenical copper is one of the "tainted" ores i referenced, along with ores tainted with antimony and or zinc.
Bronzes have a widely varying range of hardness, in fact some tainted coppers are harder than some bronzes.



posted on May, 16 2017 @ 12:30 AM
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a reply to: Spider879

Is it just me, or do i see a shepards hook in the was scepter?



posted on May, 16 2017 @ 12:39 AM
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originally posted by: punkinworks10
a reply to: Spider879

Is it just me, or do i see a Sheppard's hook in the was scepter?

That's kind of what it is, they were cattle folks, the crook and frail are symbols of office of cattle keeping leaders across Africa especially east Africa down to today with the fly whisk .
The Pharaoh was the good Shepard and his people the divine herd.
edit on 16-5-2017 by Spider879 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 16 2017 @ 04:10 AM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

I was only discussing in terms of the Near East there, but yes you are correct it is Vinca culture that expands influence rapidly North of the Black Sea and kick starts the Kura Araxes developments of the Trans-Caucasus, that also explains why they would have worked in conjunction with Ubaid Uruk.


a reply to: Byrd

The paper on the seals discussed that initially the Egyptians had no practical usage for the seals they were acquiring, but you're talking about very early dates there and they went on to develop their own seals to be used in administrative practise.

As for adopting their own methodology the situation was similar with Susa, they adopted some of the Urukian systems of weights and measures but not all, and the development of Proto-Elamite is obviously very different then the script of Uruk, perhaps people were encouraged to think for themselves and come up with their own solutions.

Gods or at least their expression are generally rooted in the native language at a fundamental level, many closely related to expressions of natural phenomena, they also tended to be closely related to the local topography and flower and fauna as well as agricultural and craft practise, this was certainly the case in Mesopotamia, it's a question of how you organize them into a Pantheon.

a reply to: Spider879


Bone and ivory tags, pottery vessels, and clay seal impressions bearing hieroglyphs unearthed at Abydos, 300 miles south of Cairo, have been dated to between 3400 and 3200 B.C


Contact with the Urukian sphere had been ongoing for 200 years at that point, you aren't going to find any evidence of seals and hieroglyphs that predate such, nobody is saying that they didn't already have herding staffs by the way.
edit on Kam531135vAmerica/ChicagoTuesday1631 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 16 2017 @ 06:47 AM
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a reply to: Kantzveldt

They weren't simply herding staves but staves of political office, and I believe that glyphs, appeared in northern Sudan earlier than 3400 b.c but will double check later.
That and other symbols of royalty rule out the presence of a ruling class coming from outside, which would certainly turned up and displaced that of the locals,



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