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02/28/2024 05:30 PM ISAW Lecture Hall
Conceptual rendering of an ancient city, viewed from above, with flood waters covering fields and the area between buildings.

The Politics of Flood and Flow in Early Dynastic Lagash:

New Evidence for the Environmental Collapse of a Mesopotamian City

Reed Goodman

This lecture will take place in person at ISAW. Registration is required; click through for the registration link. New research in southern Iraq at the ancient city of Lagash, modern Tell al-Hiba, indicates that systemic flooding contributed to the site's demise at the end of Sumer's Early Dynastic period, circa 2,350 BCE. We know from contemporary sources that the "Lagash-Umma Border Conflict," comprising the earliest record in both text and image of organized violence, involved a territorial dispute between the rival city-states of Lagash and Umma over water in the Gu'edena, the ecologically rich "edge" of the Lower Mesopotamian floodplain.
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