Sumer was an ancient civilization in the southern part of Mesopotamia (modern day southeastern Iraq) that came into being around 3500 BC. It was one of the first civilizations in the world.
The Sumerian civilization grew on the fertile banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that flow into the Persian Gulf. Their culture is famous for its written
cuneiform script - where letters were formed by pressing a triangle shaped reed into wet-clay tiles. They are also credited with creating the wheel, and dividing a day into
24 hours, and each hour into 60 minutes. Sumerian communities were organized into city states, each ruled by a priest or king. One of the most famous Sumerian cities was Ur.
The Sumerians lost their identity with their language around 2000 BC, because a large group of different people, the Amorites, moved into their region. The Sumerians made their clothing by using the natural resources that were available to them. Clothing was made from wool or flax which Sumerians could raise and harvest. (Flax is a plant with blue flowers. The stems of these plants are used to
make the clothing.) How thick or how coarse the clothing was meant the season in which the clothes would be worn. Like us, heavier clothing would be worn in the winter and lighter clothing would be worn in the summer. Men were barechested and wore skirt-like garments that tied at the waist. Women usually wore gowns that covered them from their shoulders to their ankles. The right arm and shoulder
were left uncovered. Men were either clean shaven or had long hair and beards. Women wore their hair long, but they usually braided it and wrapped it around their heads. When entertaining guests, women would place headdresses in their hair. Although both rich and poor Sumerians wore the same style of clothing, the wealthier Sumerians wore clothing that was made out of expensive and luxurious materials.
Wealthy women and princesses also wore clothing that was colorful and bright. Both men and women wore earrings and necklaces. During celebrations, even more jewelry was worn. The wealthier Sumerians often wore beautiful gold and silver bracelets and earrings. Necklaces were also worn and were set with bright, precious stones. Some of these stones were the lapis lazuli and the carnelian.
Ur, was the one of the world's first cities. Ur was a Sumerian city-state, founded by the Sumerians
around the 26th century BC. Sumer was also an early civilization. Once a coastal city near the mouth
of the then Euphrates river on the Persian Gulf, Ur is now well inland, south of the Euphrates on its
right bank, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Nasiriyah, Iraq. It is close to the site of ancient Eridu.
Ur had three social classes. The richer, like governemnt officials priests and soldiers, were at the top.
The second level was for merchants, teachers, laborers, farmers and craftmakers. The bottom were for slaves captured in battle.
Burials at Ur give insight into people's social standing. Kings and queens were buried with treasure. Wealthy people were buried with less.
Since irrigation gave Ur abundant crops, not everybody needed to work on farms. People learned other skills.
Sir Leonard Woolley found a tablet that listed Ur's special workers.
The chisel workers made sculptures, the gem cutters made gems, and the fuller
stomped on woven wools to make them soft. The metal workers made weapons.
Cities have different groups. Some of the richer people were more powerful.
In the Sumerian city, the ziggurats stood like modern skyscrapers over the city. Some ziggurats stood 70 feet tall. Later the ziggurats became more than a place for gods. There were workshops for craftworkers.
For the priests, they were temples to do worship. There were big staricases to get up and down. The only level that remains today is the bottom. They tell a lot about the people who built them.
Sumerians had no tools and machinery like us. They were careful brick builders. Brickmakers formed mud bricks there were perfect. After drying they take them to the site and set them in place with bitumen.
Bitumen is a thick sticky black stuff. It's like asphalt, the stuff they use to pave roads. They braided reeds so they would be stronger, and hooked them up like steel cables.
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia. It was situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of
the Euphrates River. Uruk gives its name to the Uruk period, the protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia, about
4000 to 3100 BC. This was followed by the Jemdet Nasr period of Sumer proper. Uruk played a leading role in the early urbanization of Sumer in the mid 4th millennium BC.
At its height c 2900 BC, Uruk probably had 50,000–80,000 residents living in 6 km2 of walled area; the largest city in the world at the time.
According to the chronology in the Sumerian king list, the semi-mythical king Gilgamesh ruled Uruk in the 27th century BC.
The city lost its prime importance around 2000 BC, after the struggle of Babylonia with Elam. It remained inhabited throughout the Seleucid
and Parthian periods until it was finally abandoned during the Sassanid period, just before the Islamic conquest of Mesopotamia.
The site of Uruk was discovered in 1849. The Arabic name of lower Mesopotamia, al-ʿIrāq, is thought to be derived from the name Uruk.