"The Cradle of Civilization." Mesopotamia was located between the rivers Tigris and Euphratis (which flow from the Persian Gulf) in the near east. Humans first began to use agricultural techniques in the near east, including Mesopotamia. This is a lowland area with rich sediment build up in the soil from the regular flooding of the two rivers. Wild barley and a plant closely related to wheat were farmed and cultivated here for the first time. Within two thousand years thses grains became a staple part of the Mesopotamian's diet, which is actually a ver quick change from the nuts, seeds, seasonal fruit and meat that was consistantly man's diet (the hunter / gatherers) for tens of thousands of years, since the dawn of man. The advent of farming changed what and how humans ate in a remarkably short period of time. Another huge shift in diet was the invention of fermented drinks, or alcohol, in 3500BC. Although probably discovered because of rotting fruit, mostly fermented barley, the first beer, was drunk because fruit was less plentiful. Because of the new abundance of food, these begining farms soon grew into the first towns and cities, thus the cradle of civilization. Also, the Mesopotamians raised cattle which were probably used as status and wealth symbols, as well as beginning the first organized bartering system.
The Mesopotamians agreed on an approximate price or value of the cattle which were traded for other goods within Mesopotamia, such as mutton, goat meat, copper and obsidian (a valuable black volcanic glass) with other populations. In addition, the Sumerians from the city of Uruk in Mesopotamia invented the first written language. Writing first started as marks on clay tablets that symbolized objects or the numbers or amounts of objects. The Sumerians soon developed writing into a sophisticated system involving symbols that represented sounds instead of just symbols written for specific words. The ability to make new words from stringing together these symbols that stand for sounds meant almost limitless possibilities. The Mesopotamians invention of the written word is one of the most revolutionary inventions in the entire history of the human race, and is truly the basis for which every aspect of modern life is built upon.