Skip to comments.Did Uruk soldiers kill their own people? 5,500 year old fratricide at Hamoukar Syria
Posted on 09/24/2010 3:17:03 PM PDT by Little Bill
Five years ago an archaeological team broke news of a major find that forever changed our views about the history of the Middle East.
Researchers from the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, and the Department of Antiquities in Syria, announced in a press release that they had found the earliest evidence for large scale organized warfare in the Mesopotamian world.
They had discovered that a city in Syria, named Hamoukar, had been destroyed in a battle that took place ca. 3500 BC by a hostile force. Using slings and clay bullets these troops took over the city, burning it in the process. Their motive may have been to gain control over trade in the area particularly that of copper coming from Southern Turkey.
The likeliest culprit for this act is a city named Uruk located to the south in modern day Iraq. The artifacts found at Hamoukar which postdate the battle, were created in the same style as those discovered at Uruk.
"If the Uruk people weren't the ones firing the sling bullets, they certainly benefited from it. They took over this place right after its destruction," site excavator Dr. Clemens Reichel told the New York Times, back in 2005.
But now archaeologists have made a new discovery that sheds more light on this battle. They have found evidence that an Uruk colony near Hamoukar was also destroyed in this conflict.
So, if the invading army was from Uruk, did they kill their own people? If so why?
The information was first released in the 2008-2009 annual report on the Oriental Institutes website. Before now it has not appeared in popular media. This story is a long one so bear with me....
An excavated part of Hamoukar, the city dates back at least 6,000 years.
Hamoukar is a city that flourished in northern Syria since at least 4000 BC. It was an ancient Pittsburgh, said Dr. Clemens Reichel, who, in addition to leading work at Hamoukar, is now also a professor at the University of Toronto and curator at the Royal Ontario Museum.
The citys industry and access to material made people come together.
The people obtained obsidian, a valuable substance in the ancient world, from volcanoes in modern day Turkey. To the south of Hamoukar archaeologists have found obsidian workshops spread across 280 hectares. These workshops were in use as early as 4500 BC.
In later times copper working became important to the citys economy, as the metal became increasingly popular in the Middle East.
The wealth of Hamoukar is reflected in its crafts. Numerous stamp seals of great artistry were found, one showing a lioness killing a calf or gazelle, another one a reclining leopard, and one showing a lively scene of two bears kissing each other.
>p>Archaeologists have found thousands of clay sealings once used to lock doors or containers and impressed with stamp seals. They tell of a bureaucratic system that was almost as complex as our own
paleo-muslims promoting their cause ?
They get credited with war now.
Ain't civilization grand!
That has a nice Ring to it!
Here is some more a bit older.
Answer: They were killed under Sumerian Obummercare because they couldn`t afford any health insurance and no money to pay the fine for not having any.
Perhaps the Hamoukarians wiped out the Urukian colony and so Uruk sent an army to retaliate and wipe out the Hamoukarians. Seems to me this is a more likely scenario.
Is this a ‘Burgh’ thing?
Yes, this is the one. Thanks for sending, now I can read it again.
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Of course they killed their own.
The Fighting Uruk Hai were well known for killing each other when Sauron or Saruman couldn’t point them at any other opponents.
Oh; excuse me. It said “Middle East”, not “Middle Earth”.
Fair question, as is: why did Sherman burn 'from Atlanta to the sea'; or why did the British burn Washington?
Civil wars and rebellions and their aftermaths somehow seem to have a way of being 'people killing their 'own' people'...can't imaging how that comes about, but it may be an answer to look for here. *<];-)
I also read the original, and then, as well as now, am intrigued by the 'clay bullets', as if the Middle East doesn't have enough stones to use. Never seems to be any shortage for the Palis to throw at Joooz; or Muslims to use for stoning women.
Quite simple. Standard shape, size and weight from a mold increases accuracy and thus lethality over random stones. Lead "bullets" for slings, when those became available during Hellenistic times, worked even better.
Beat me to it! :)
There's a difference?
The Moslems were well known for killing each other when __________ (fill in the blank with your fav) couldnt point them at any other opponents.
Clay bullets are lighter than stones, and more reliable (because they are manufactured, they have a regular shape and size). Sling weapons were enormously popular.
Whoops, thanks Sherman, I responded from the My Comments screen, instead of from within the topic. :’)
Do you know Liv Tyler? She talks like that, I hear.
Wow, just yesterday I was reading about this massacre in my Doctor’s waiting room (Discover Magazine) and was haunted by it....basically nothing has changed since the dawn of civilization. Didn’t think to look at the magazine’s date.
Believe it or not, things have improved quite a bit. A very interesting book presented here “War Before Civilization”.
In a nutshell, generally, the further back you go, the more likely that a human’s death is caused by homicide. The authors had to base their case for the most part on hard tissue evidence, which would make the numbers even higher when one considers the homicides carried out which traumatized only soft tissues.
The authors include early examples of what I suppose could be called prototypical socialized medicine. A number of the victims are elderly, showing signs of debilitation and old injuries prior to having their heads bashed in or getting a flint tipped arrow in the back.
This is a very interesting book, probably available for a very modest price on the used book market.
Of course they killed their own.
The Fighting Uruk Hai were well known for killing each other when Sauron or Saruman couldnt point them at any other opponents.
Meat’s back on the menu, boys!
I loved that scene, both in the books, and in the movie.
NEVER speak THAT language here again!
You’d imagine that clay “bullets” would also fragment on impact so that even a miss would cause some damage and some panic/chaos as they rained down en masse.
So its only a matter of time until Obamacare returns medicine to its primitive roots?
Death Panel Reviewer #1: "Patient is an elderly male in his mid-fifties with three cavities."
Death Panel Reviewer #2: "Medical estimates indicate the repair procedure will cost approximately $225.00"
Death Panel Reviewer #1:"Our SEIU cost to kill by head-smashing estimate is only $220.00, so bash his head in."
Death Panel Reviewer #2:"OK. Our next patient is suffering from a sprained ankle..."
Who writes this stuff? Are they describing a massive and connected industrial center or scattered and small workshops spread over 700 acres?
Lots of eye injuries, and the clear glass we know today wasn’t figured out until the 6th c AD.
They got beat by a more experienced army because they were Urukies.
Nobody horns in on my markets. That's the way it's always been.
Statute of limitations. Next case!
I don't know. It's all so confusing!
You application will be judged on the results of a test on local statue law.
Let us say that you are going to war with Elam and you order a bunch of First Quality spear points but there is some some uncertainty and a lot of second quality Spear points from manufacturing waste, how do I lay off cost of the first anticipation and dispose of the secondary concerns, if you don't go to war with the Elamites?