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The First States in Mesopotamia: Recent Research

The First States in Mesopotamia: Recent Research

Monday, February 26, 2007

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by the Anthropology Section


Discussants: Elsa M. Redmond, American Museum of Natural History; Charles S. Spencer, American Museum of Natural History.



Henry Wright, PhD
University of Michigan


The cultural heartland of Mesopotamia was the stage upon which the world's first states with their centralized governments and the world's first cities emerged 6000 years ago. This heartland is the region watered by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and their many tributaries; it includes parts of what would become modern Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.


While archaeologists seek to understand ancient processes of state and urban formation, the ecological, political, and ideological consequences of these long-ago events continue to affect our world today. New research, ongoing in spite of the current situation in the Near East, has exciting implications for our understanding of both ancient processes and their implications for the modern world.