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Geography of Mesopotamia

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1 Geography of Mesopotamia
6th Grade UBD - Unit 3 - Geography of Mesopotamia Geography of Mesopotamia

2 Preview Location- Mesopotamia was one of the earliest city-based civilizations established between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Land and Water- Mesopotamia had rich soil for growing crops. However, the climate and annual floods made farming difficult. Agricultural Innovations- Advances in agriculture helped Mesopotamians become better farmers. Trade- Mesopotamia did not produce all the resources it needed. But it did produce extra crops that could be used for trade.

3 Reach Into Your Background
Ancient Mesopotamia had a lot of dry land. Yet civilizations were able to develop there. How can people bring water to dry areas of land? (5 minutes)

4 Partner Activity Work with a neighbor and compare your answer with theirs. What things are the same and what things are different? (3 minutes)

5 Key Ideas- Location Mesopotamia was located where modern Iraq and eastern Syria are now. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers were the two main rivers in Mesopotamia. Eridu, Ur, and Uruk were three of Mesopotamia’s important cities. They were found along the Euphrates River.

6 Key Term Civilization- An advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached.

7 Locating Mesopotamia Mesopotamia was one of the earliest known civilizations in human history. Mesopotamia sprang up near the banks of a major river, where the land was fertile and good for growing crops.

8 Locating Mesopotamia The abundance of food grown in Mesopotamia allowed the civilization to expand and trade with other civilizations.

9 Locating Mesopotamia Mesopotamia was established in the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Fertile Crescent. The Fertile Crescent is a plain in Southwest Asia. 

10 Big Cities Most ancient cities that developed thousands of years ago do not exist today. How do we know about them? We can thank archaeologists who study the remains of long-gone places.

11 Big Cities Mesopotamia was a civilization made up of separate settlements sometimes called city-states. Each city-state usually was controlled by a strong ruler. At different points in history, different empires or kingdoms ruled these cities.

12 Key Term City-State- An independent kingdom or state made up of a city and the surrounding lands it controls.

13 Key Term Empire- A large group of territories and people who are ruled by a single sovereign leader or nation. 

14 Big Cities Eridu, Ur, and Uruk were three of Mesopotamia most important cities All three developed along the banks of rivers.

15 Key Ideas- Land and Water
Mesopotamians developed a system of irrigation to control water from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Irrigation provided water for crops year round. Annual floods destroyed crops, huts, and other structures. Irrigation stopped the rivers from flooding. With irrigation, the Mesopotamians produced more food than they needed.

16 Resources and Geography
The Tigris and Euphrates rivers flooded each year, bringing nutrient-rich silt to the river valley where Mesopotamia developed. This soil and the water from the rivers were both extremely important to agriculture. 

17 Key Term Silt- A mixture of rock and soil that is carried by water that creates fertile soil that is good for growing crops. 

18 Resources and Geography
Mesopotamians had to learn to adapt to the annual flooding and figure out a way to survive through the dry times when there was little water for crops in the fields.

19 Resources and Geography
To farm the land, the Mesopotamians had to learn to control the flooding. They had to learn how to capture river water to use year round. The answer was irrigation.

20 Key Term Irrigation- The artificial application of water to land.

21 Floods in the Fertile Crescent
Reading Handout- Floods in the Fertile Crescent

22 Key Ideas- Agricultural Innovations
Mesopotamians invented a seeder plow. It allowed them to plow and plant at the same time. Mesopotamians tamed and raised animals. The animals were used for food and farm work. Producing extra food meant that not everyone had to farm. People could do other things for work.

23 Agricultural Innovations
Mesopotamians developed irrigation techniques that allowed them to harness water from the rivers and control the flooding.

24 Agricultural Innovations
Mesopotamians built high walls of earth near the sides of the rivers. These are called levees or dikes. These walls of earth kept the water from flooding over the banks of the river.

25 Agricultural Innovations
Mesopotamians also built a system of canals and ditches. This system would drain off the high water, helping to prevent flooding. These advances helped to protect both crop fields and villages from flood damage.

26 Agricultural Innovations
They built dams to raise or lower the water levels in the canals and ditches. This meant they could provide more water for the crops when it was needed. They could also keep water out when it was not needed.

27 Agricultural Innovations
With large irrigation systems, they were able to produce enough crops to feed an entire city and then some! Irrigation was an important advance that allowed crops to thrive.

28 Key Term Levee- A ridge or embankment built along the edges of a river or stream to prevent flooding.

29 Key Term Dam- A barrier that people build across rivers or other bodies of water so they can store the water or move it to another location.

30 Agricultural Innovations
Mesopotamians domesticated animals and invented a new seeder plow that made planting more efficient.

31 Agricultural Innovations
Plows made out of metal are stronger and longer lasting than plows made of wood. Work animals such as cattle would pull the plow through the fields.

32 Agricultural Innovations
The advances in agriculture made it so that it was easier for people to grow more food. With this abundance of food people began to take on other roles in society.

33 Farming and Other Jobs As the cities grew, different members of Mesopotamian society continued to develop specialized skills that met the needs of people living in the cities.

34 Farming and Other Jobs Some people worked as potters, making pottery and utensils. Others also worked as weavers, making cloth. Scribes were employed to write texts and keep track of trading.

35 Key Term Scribe- A person who was educated and wrote books or other documents by hand.

36 Farming and Other Jobs Traders bought and sold goods, and musicians played music for people. Still, most people had jobs dealing with agricultural production.

37 Farming and Other Jobs Thanks to the farmers, cities were supported with surplus food and other jobs thrived. With plenty of food to feed everyone, the cities continued to grow.

38 Mesopotamian Farming Tools
Reading Handout- Mesopotamian Farming Tools

39 Key Ideas- Trade Mesopotamians traded grains, oils, and textiles with outside societies for goods such as gems and wood. Merchants traveled to trading centers by land or sea. They used boats and donkeys to transport their goods. Trade meant even more growth for Mesopotamia. Mesopotamians were able to meet all of their needs by trading. Trade also made Mesopotamia important to outside cultures.

40 Overseas and Land Travel
An abundance of agriculture allowed for a system of trade to spring up, first within individual cities and later between different cities and outside civilizations like ancient Egypt. 

41 Overseas and Land Travel
People in Mesopotamia traded food and available resources for goods and items they did not have locally. Goods were transported overland via donkey and carts or on the backs of traders.

42 Overseas and Land Travel
The rivers were also important means of transporting heavier or bulkier items. Sea routes for trade also sometimes included the Persian Gulf.

43 Key Term Commerce- The act of buying and selling goods and services.

44 Modern Day Connection Thousands of years later, our societies are still affected by the geography around us. Like the people of ancient Mesopotamia, we are constantly inventing tools and methods that help us use natural resources.

45 Independent Activity What has been the “muddiest” point so far in this lesson? That is, what topic remains the least clear to you? (4 minutes)

46 Partner Activity Work with a neighbor and compare your muddiest point with theirs. Compare what things are the same and what things are different? (3 minutes)

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