Image caption: Detail of an artist's reconstruction of a temple in the Eanna precinct located in the ancient Mesopotamian city of Uruk around 3200 B.C. (© Archaeology Illustrated), and an image of the foundation of a temple in Eanna (source:

The Evolution of Fragility: Towards a New History of the Ancient World


Museum Lecture Hall

Theories about societal collapse in the ancient world often suggest that something catastrophic happened to an otherwise integrated, stable community, such as climate change or an enemy invasion. New research, however, shows that early cities and states were far from stable and that intra-community struggle led to disintegration. Anthropologist Norman Yoffee takes a closer look at archaeological and historical evidence for resistance to the goals of rulers and breakdowns of order in early cities and states.

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