Re: Curse of Akkad - What happened to Sumer

Timo Niroma (
7 Aug 1996 14:04:41 GMT

In article <4u5s88$>, (HARRY R.
ERWIN) says:
>1. Mesopotamia has historically had a serious problem with salt-build-up
>in the soil.
>Harry Erwin, Internet:, Web Page:

Even the southern Mesopotamia did not suffer from salt during the
paradisal period of 2900 to 2200 BC. They built huge irrigation canals
with fresh water and Eufrat and Tigris (plus two now vanished rivers)
brought a more massive amount of fresh water into the South than today.
Best is this shown by the success of the agriculture and especially the
cultivation of wheat. Wheat is namely very sensitive to salt and a good
indicator in this issue.

The cultivation of wheat was steadily in increase during the golden
period, so that during the last phse, the Akkadian phase, its share of
all cultivation was about 20 percent. But during the 3rd dynasty of Ur or
about 2100 to 2000 the share of wheat had dropped to only 2 percent, and
when the Babylonian period began about 1800 BC there was no cultivation
of wheat at all, but barley came into its place.

So there can't have been any problems with salt during 2900-2200 BC. But
after that there was. If we didn't know that the amount of salt actually
rose in the soil after the Akkadian period ended, we could of course
think the other possibility: while the Sumerian identity changed to a
Babylonian identity, the people changed from bread to beer.