by Lyudmila AVILOVA, Dr. Sc. (Hist.), Senior Researcher of the Bronze Age Department, RAS Institute of Archeology
The communication routes exist as long as the mankind exists. The earliest traffic arteries were represented by rivers exploited by man in the Mesolithic. Later on, in the New Stone Age (8th-5th millennia B.C.), land routes were developed due to which exchange of valuable raw materials (firestone, obsidian, lazurite, malachite, shells, ivory) took place between tribes sometimes at a distance of hundreds of kilometers. We mean here footpaths attached to the natural terrain--river valleys, mountain passages.
ROADS OF THE ANCIENT ASIA AND EGYPT
The ancient paths are traced by archeological findings in the settlements located along them. For example, an enormous network of communication routes has been reconstructed, which in the 4th millennium B.C. connected the Sumer centers of Northern Mesopotamia with the neighboring territories of Northern Syria, Eastern Anatolia and Western Iran. Contacts were conducted along the rivers Euphrates and Tigris in the direction of north-south and also by land caravan tracks in the direction of west-east. Large urban settlements were situated in strategic points. For instance, the city of Mozan had control over the Mardin mountain passage, which was used to get to the Ergani Maden prolific copper deposits, and another path passed through the city of Brak to Northern Syria valleys and further westward to Cilicia. The ancient roads are almost invisible in the area, but are seen on satellite photos, where they look like strips of the trampled down land, more compact than the surrounding lands. The beasts of burden such as onagers domesticated in Western Asia by the 4th millennium B.C. served as the earliest land transport means.
The cultural achievements were spread from the earliest center of civilization, i.e. Western Asia, to Europe by two ways--through the Balkans and Caucasia to the Black Sea ... Читать далее