Dawn of Urban Life Uncovered in Syria

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Before the invention of the wheel and writing, a prehistoric civilization in northern Mesopotamia engaged in trade, processed copper and developed the first social classes based on power and wealth.

Evidence of the civilization that formed the basis of urban life in the entire Middle East lies beneath three large mounds about three miles from the modern town of Raqqa in Syria, according to U.S. and Syrian archaeologists.

The mounds, the tallest standing some 50 feet high, cover about 31 acres and enclose the ruins of Tell Zeidan, a proto-urban community dating from between 6000 and 4000 B.C.

At this time, much of Mesopotamia shared a common culture, called Ubaid, which led to the emergence of the first true city centers in the subsequent Uruk period (about 4000 to 3100 B.C.).

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