Researchers rewrite origins of the urban sprawl
Surveys at the ancient settlement of Tell Brak, in north-east Syria, have produced fresh evidence that indicates the first urban settlements were the result of natural migration, and not the artificial creations of those in power.
Academics have traditionally believed that the growth of ancient cities resulted from the policies and demands of a centralized authority, such as a ruling monarch or religious institution.
But the new report, which appears in the August 31 edition of Science, suggests that in fact they came to exist of their own accord, as small groups of strangers clustered around a central point.
“The results cast doubt on the idea that early urbanism was a result of the actions of a single ruler or political body,” Dr Augusta McMahon, field director at Tell Brak, said. “In fact, it now seems that urbanism was the outcome of a series of choices made by relatively powerless individuals and small unrelated groups.”
The research team was led by the Harvard-based assistant professor of anthropology Jason Ur, and also comprised Dr Joan Oates from the University of Cambridge and Dr Philip Karsgaard, from the University of Edinburgh.
comments powered by Disqus
- Harvard acquires Thoreau's notes on the death of Margaret Fuller
- It’s a national historic site, but hardly anybody visits the Idaho internment camp where thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated in WW II
- Big-time Hollywood director makes a movie about Stonewall
- HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later
- A salute lost to history
- High school senior credited with debunking book by Professor Richard Jensen
- Historians at loggerheads over the AP standards
- Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
- U.K. Released Hundreds of Nazis After the Holocaust, Says Leading Historian
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?