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Sumer and the Sumerians Paperback – April 26, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0521388504 ISBN-10: 0521388503

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (April 26, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521388503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521388504
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,903,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Up-to-date historical and archaeological sources are drawn on in a review of the extraordinary social and technological developments, from 3800 to 2000 BC, of one of the best-known ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia. -- Book Description

Book Description

Mesopotamia produced one of the best-known ancient civilizations, with a literate, urban culture and highly-developed political institutions. Writing primarily for a non-specialist audience but drawing on up-to-date historical and archaeological sources, Harriet Crawford reviews the extraordinary social and technological developments in the region over a period of two millennia, from 3800 to 2000 BC.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Michael Gunther on June 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
The cover blurb for "Sumer and the Sumerians" indicates that it is written "primarily for a non-specialist audience," but this is misleading; the book is actually an introductory textbook for university-level courses in Sumerian archaeology. As such, its primary scope is to introduce and summarize the archaeological evidence related to Sumerian chronology, settlement patterns, secular and religious architecture, grave goods, manufacturing, trade, and writing.
The book is written almost exclusively from an archaeological perspective. The outstandingly rich literature and art of ancient Sumeria is barely glanced at in passing. The book's prose is dry and academic, and it is illustrated meagrely, with black-and-white line drawings. Unless you are already deeply interested in Sumeria and the Sumerians, this book is unlikely to kindle your enthusiasm.
Although it can't be recommended for the general reader, serious university students will benefit from the book's high standard of scholarship and clear, if uninspiring, exposition. When used as a college text, it will need to be supplemented by visual aids and additional resources on the art, literature, and religion of Sumeria.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David Oldacre on February 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
This 182 page book is one of several I have read in recent months on ancient Mesopotamia, so I was familiar with many of the topics which are included. Professor Crawford states in the preface that the book is intended for students and especially those beginning to study the archaeology and history of the Ancient Near East. She also states that the book attempts to combine a chronological account with that of a number of major themes, her emphasis being on descriptions rather than explanations.

The book covers the development of the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia during the period c 3800BC to 2000BC, with the following themes described in separate chapters:

(1) Rediscovery of the Ancient Near East: the physical environment

(2) History, chronology, and social organization

(3) Patterns of settlement and agriculture

(4) Town planning and temple architecture

(5) Public building and private housing

(6) Life, death, and the meaning of the universe

(7) Manufacturing industry, and trade

(8) Writing and the arts

(9) Conclusions - the development of Sumerian society

The book includes 8 maps and 80 illustrations most of which I have seen in the other books I have read on the subject, although I do believe them to be representative of the period The reference section lists the works of some 150 authors, which includes some of the works of the early archaeologists, as well as more recent works of the 1970s and 1980s, and there is also a short index.

For me the first three chapters are the most useful part of the book and provide a very good introduction to the subject.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By M Manning on July 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book deals with archaeological evidence of the Sumer region in a comprehensive and highly illustrated volume. Crawford's book has little to do with the historical view of Sumer like so many other books on the subject. However, she does not wonder far from most traditional views of the Sumerians and always backs those views up with a hard archaeological background. The book covers the physical environment of Sumer, social organisation, Settlement and agriculture patterns, (temple, town, housing architecture), some religious background of Sumer, Manufacturing, trade and lastly the beginnning of literature in Sumer. I suggest this book for any archaeology student interested in the use of technic in the field and evidence gathered from those technics. Crawford's book is a very educational read of the root of Mesopotamian civilsation "Sumer".
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Christopher B. Siren on May 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Crawford examines Sumerian culture from an archaeological perspective. Unlike, Kramer's _The_Sumerians_ the focus is more on daily life than on mythology or historical figures. Her discussion of Sumerian religion deals more with its social aspects, how one buries the dead, how temples were laid out and the importance of the role of the priests in society, and less on the doings of the deities. Much more of the work is focused on what types of buildings the Sumerians lived in, what kinds of occupations they had, who they traded what with, and so forth. Also, throughout the work are a number of helpful maps and illustrations. The work appears to be fairly up to date and my first encounter with it was as reccommended reading for an undergraduate archaeology course.
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