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Urbanism in archaeology - Essay Example

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Urbanism means the way of development, shaping and modification of the built environment found in the towns and cities.It is not the planning of town as is usually understood by some people.It explains the way communities came into being in cities,and how they interacted with one another to give rise to the social systems. …
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Urbanism in archaeology
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Download file to see previous pages Urbanism means the way of development, shaping and modification of the built environment found in the towns and cities. It is not the planning of town as is usually understood by some people.It explains the way communities came into being in cities, and how they interacted with one another to give rise to the social systems. The concept of the contemporary world is totally incomplete without cities. According to an estimate, population of people that live in cities exceeds half of the total, and in the upcoming century, it is quite likely to approach two-thirds (Marcus and Sabloff 3). Cities used to be non-existent in the past. This has stirred up a lot of debate regarding the factors that have caused cities to form. Some scholars think that old scattered populations nucleated to create the cities while others believe in the role of several other factors. An in-depth analysis of the literature relevant to ancient cities is a potential means of identification of the factors that gave rise to urbanism. “These diverse settlements not only have much to tell us about the social, political, religious, and economic conditions of their times but also say something about our own” (Marcus and Sabloff 3). The division of class played an important role in maintaining the balance of social systems in cities and their civilization. Mesopotamian civilization is generally recognized as the first civilization (“The Birth of Civilization” 8). The modern Baghdad can be divided into two zones of ecology, namely the northern zone and the southern zone. Sumerians founded many of the ancient cities of Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium B.C.E. in Sumer that forms the southern Babylonia. Uruk was the a city in Sumer that was world’s largest city in 3000 B.C.E. However, many cities existed in Sumer before that. In the Early Dynastic Period that mainly ranged from 2800 B.C.E. to 2370 B.C.E., a lot of Sumerian cities were aligned north to south of Mesopotamia aside the watercourses (“The Birth of Civilization” 8). These cities included but were not limited to Ur, Lagash, Uruk, Shuruppak and Nippur. Many of these city-states had developed leagues of religious and political importance. These city-states quarreled with one another over possession of more resources and land for irrigation and agriculture. With the passage of time, stronger leagues gained hold of the weaker, and gradually increased enough to develop whole kingdoms which would in turn, rule many city-states. Ten major criteria of difference between the earliest and modern villages can be drawn from the archaeological data, which can be summarized as follows: Although most of the first cities are smaller than contemporary villages, they used to be considerably densely populated and voluminous as compared to the settlements that preceded them. The ancient urban population differed in function from a village. Most of the people living in cities were peasants, and would cultivate crops in the lands aside the cities. People who had other professions and lived in cities like merchants, priests and craftsmen used to acquire food from the surplus prepared by the peasants as a support. The peasants did not take any service or goods from them for offering them the fish or grains they collected. The primary producers were obliged to reserve a portion of the surplus for a divine king as tax. This was extremely necessary in order to generate capital. Monumental structures not only signified the concentration of the surplus of the society, but also distinguished cities from villages. A lot of temples were constructed in the Sumerian cities. However, many magazines and workshops were attached to them. Each temple had a big granary. Many examples of this trend can be noticed. The grand tombs of pharaohs dominated the Nile Valley. Likewise, the pyramids and temples of the Maya cities are quite well known. Therefore, it can be said that the social surplus in Sumer was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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