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Table of Contents. Characteristics of a Civilization 9/24 Artifacts as Evidence 9/24 Analysis Worksheet 9/25 Analysis Worksheet 9/25. Ch 5 Was Ancient Sumer a Civilization?. Introduction. Was Sumer a civilization?

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Table of contents

Table of Contents

  • Characteristics of a Civilization 9/24

  • Artifacts as Evidence 9/24

  • Analysis Worksheet 9/25

  • Analysis Worksheet 9/25

Ch 5 was ancient sumer a civilization

Ch 5 Was Ancient Sumer a Civilization?



  • Was Sumer a civilization?

  • Mid 1800's archeologists began find artifacts in the area known as Mesopotamia

    • tablets, pottery, city ruins

    • written language

    • Standard of Ur

      • Found where the ancient city of Ur stood

      • Made of wood and decorated with pieces of shell and lapis lazuli

      • Shows Sumerians in times of peace and war

Characteristics of civilization

Characteristics of Civilization

  • Stable food supply

  • Social structure with different social levels and jobs

  • System of government

  • Religious system

  • Highly developed culture (Art)

  • Advances in technology

  • Highly developed written language

Stable food supply

Stable Food Supply

  • Complex irrigation systems

    • networks of canals, dams, and reservoirs

    • Provide crops with regular supply of water

  • Plow

    • Tool for tilling the soil to prepare it for planting

    • Made out of wood

    • One end bent for cutting into the ground to turn the soil

    • Farmers pushed or pulled the plow along the ground or used animals to pull it

Social structure

Social Structure

Different jobs and social levels. High levels have greater status than others

  • Upper class

    • priests, land owners, and government officials

    • largest and most luxurious home near the center of the city

    • houses were two stories high

    • whitewashed mud walls

  • Common class

    • merchants and craftspeople

      • Included highly skilled metal workers

        • worked with gold, silver, tin, lead, copper, and bronze

      • Made items for army, farmers and upper class

        • Made swords and arrowheads

        • Made tools like plows and hoes

        • Made mirrors and jewelry

    • farmers and fishermen

      • lived in small, mud-brick houses at the edge of the city

  • Slaves

    • Lived in their owners' homes

    • had not property of their own



  • Kings

    • Believed kings were chosen by the gods to rule in their place

    • Very powerful

    • Sumerians believed they must obey the will of the gods

    • Enforced laws and collected taxes

    • Built temples Made sure irrigation systems were maintained

    • Led army

  • Army

    • professional and temporary citizen-soldiers

    • foot soldiers

    • soldiers who drove chariots

  • Governors

    • ruled outlying towns

  • Scribes

    • helped record laws

    • First people to develop a system of written laws

  • Canal Officials

    • patrolled the canals

    • Looked for damage

    • Made sure farmers didn't take water illegally



  • Definition

    • a set of beliefs, usually in a god or gods, together with forms of worship

  • Influence

    • Sumerians tried to please gods

      • growing crops

      • settling disputes

    • Religion bound them together in a common way of life

  • expression

    • Built temples and religious towers called ziggurats

      • Ziggurats made of mud bricks

      • Special temps built at the top

      • Long staircase attached so gods could climb down to Earth

      • Kings and priests stood inside the towers to ask for the god's blessings

    • King's duty to build and maintain ziggurats

    • Built statues

      • showed people worshipping gods with eyes gazing upward

  • ceremonies

    • played music

    • may have involved human sacrifice

The arts

The Arts

  • Metalworkers

    • practical objects like weapons and cups

    • decorative items like mirrors and jewelry

  • Architecture

    • Designed temples and ziggurats

  • Musicians

    • Sumerians believed that music brought joy to the gods as well as people

    • Played instruments and sang during temple ceremonies

    • wrote love songs and entertained guests at feasts

    • Instruments

      • drums

      • pipes

      • lyre

        • wooden instrument made of a sound box and strings

        • decorated with precious stones and carvings made of horn



  • Wheel

    • most important invention

    • Uses

      • used as a surface for shaping clay into pots

      • on its side the wheel was used to create wheeled carts and chariots

  • arch

    • Inverted U or V

    • Made by stacking bricks made of clay and straw

    • rose in steps from the walls until they met in the center

    • Arches added strength and beauty to buildings



  • Cuneiform

    • Latin word for "wedge"

    • Etched into clay tablets with a wedge-shaped stylus

    • developed around 2400 BCE

    • Used to record information about the exchange of goods

    • May have begun with up to 2,000 symbols; reduced to 700

    • Based on pictographs



  • Sumerian culture was a civilization

  • Lasted 1,500 years from 35000 - 2000 BCE

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