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June 28 2014

The Mysterious Origins of the World’s First City-Builders


At some point near 5400 BCE, settlers in southern Mesopotamia—in what would now be called southeastern Iraq—founded Eridu, which historians now generally regard as the world’s first city. It had all the things we ordinarily associate with an ancient city: temples, administrative buildings, housing, agriculture, markets, art, and, of course, walls to keep out wild animals and bandits.

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