The origins of Civilization are an intriguing aspect of our collective History, and research in this area has revealed that the origins of Civilization as we understand it lie in Ancient Mesopotamia.
However, prior to the rise of the Mesopotamian Civilization proper, there was a preceding period known as the Ubaid Culture.
In the History Of Civilization series, we will explore the current Historical paradigms on the origins of Civilization, and where appropriate consider alternative history arguments where they can help shed light on unresolved questions.
The Ubaid Culture
Before the emergence of the modern Sumerian Cities in the period 5500-4000 BC, a proto-Mesopotamian Culture emerged which was characterised by amongst other things decorated Ceramics, material structures, trade and early signs of Religious worship.
The settlements that arose during this period can be divided into Stages each demonstrating a heightened level of complexity in Settlements and material culture:
Trade in lapis lazuli, turquoise, and carnelian was the chief means by which the Ubaid Culture spread as the settlements grew larger and unified by a common Culture eventually leading to the emergence of the first Sumerian City State, Eridu.
Nevertheless, an unresolved mystery of the Ubaid period is the Ubaid Lizardmen serpent idols that were uncovered during archaeological excavations.
The Ubaid Lizardmen resemble what appear to be Serpent Gods which some suggest were responsible for infusing the Ubaid culture with the knowledge and tools to implement the early Ubaid period Civilization.
Unfortunately, unlike the Sumerians who developed Cuneiform writing, the Ubaid Culture did not develop writing.
As such, there is no written account of the role the Ubaid Lizardmen serpent idols played in Ubaid period Culture.
We are left to fill the gap utiising the Sumerian records which do not make a direct reference to the Ubaid Culture or Lizardmen.
In conclusion, the earliest proto-culture that exhibited the characteristics of Civilization as we know it today can be found in the Ubaid period Culture of Ancient Mesopotamia.
For this reason, it may be a mistake to characterise the Sumerian Civilization as having ‘suddenly’ arose because the Ubaid Culture is a clear indicator of its progressive development.
Nevertheless, there are some unanswered questions like the role of certain mysterious artefacts such as the Ubaid Lizardmen.