Mesopotamian Gondoliers

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New remote sensing data collected via drone showed that an ancient city in modern-day southern Iraq closely resembled the famous Italian city of Venice, ART News reported.

The Mesopotamian city of Lagash was founded more than 4,600 years ago between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. First excavated more than 40 years ago, previous studies using satellite images had suggested that the city was built on 33 small marsh islands.

But new drone footage shows that it was made up of four marsh islands that were connected by waterways, according to a new study.

The discovery came about after a research team found evidence of unseen buried structures, including ruined buildings, streets, walls, and other features near ground level. They also came across the potential remnants of harbors and footbridges on each island that would have connected each sector.

But the findings also show that Lagash and Venice shared a few other commonalities in the way the two cities functioned: Each marsh in Lagash had developed its own distinct economic practice – similar to Venice.

Waterways crossed, for instance, on a marsh island where fishing and gathering reeds for use in construction were common. Other islands appeared surrounded by gated walls, enclosing streets and areas featuring large kilns, where farming and other activities like pottery making may have taken place.

The marsh islands also showed how the urban area developed over time: Some neighborhoods had well-planned layouts, while others were arranged haphazardly – which researchers suggest could be because of an influx of immigrants.

Sadly, Lagash didn’t evolve into another Venice because the city was largely abandoned nearly 3,600 years ago.

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