Thinking shaped by surroundings

Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Both cultures relied on farming to sustain the population. Their main source of water was the river.

In Mesopotamia, the river was turbulent and unpredictable. Floods occurred unexpectedly, its banks eroded and the river could even change its course. The people made a great effort to control the river and dug canals to irrigate the crops. Even then, the water could change. As it evaporated, it became more salty and threatened the fertility of the soil.

In the surrounding landscape, there was no access to stone, metal or trees. The people built their homes from baked clay bricks and drew on clay tablets to record their everyday lives. These were relatively fragile and less likely to last.

In Egypt, the river was constant and dependable. The volume and rise and fall of the water was regular. Planting and harvesting ran like clockwork. Stone was available in the landscape. The Egyptians used it for building materials and art and repeated the style of the past over and over again. The stone legacy seems indestructable in comparison.

%d bloggers like this: