The great civilisations of Mesopotamia would not have been possible without food security. This cradle of civilization was also the cradle of domesticated wheat, barley and rye production and irrigation. It is widely believed that the cities of Sumer, the first urban societies established from the 5th millennium BC, were made possible by intensive, year-round agriculture supported by extensive irrigation and a dedicated, well-trained labour force. Interestingly grape wine production also evolved in the region in the same era utilising the Vitis vinifera vines native to the Zagros mountains east of Mesopotamia . This lecture will explore the invention of intensive irrigation and mono-cropping systems to provide stable food supplies by the Sumerians and the consequences of the mistakes they made leading to wastage of much of Mesopotamia’s fertile land. These mistakes are still being made in irrigation systems globally.
This lecture forms part of the ‘Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia Lecture Series' held at the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Museum.
|Building:||Elisabeth Murdoch Building|
|Address:||University of Melbourne|
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Next Free Public Lecture:
22 May 2013