Transportation and Trade
Pre-History to 1500 CE
World Civilizations 1
February 25, 2013
Transportation and Trade
From the prehistoric time period to 1500 C.E. there have been many technological advances in the way of transportation and the way that different cultures have used their advances. In this, the student will attempt to convey to the reader ways that certain world culture areas evolved in the way of transportation to become more successful in transporting their goods for trade.
Starting with Ancient Mesopotamia (my personal favorite) there are very many different ways that the Mesopotamians changed their method of travel to accommodate their growing needs for certain goods. Starting by traveling on foot, Mesopotamians would take sling bags and fill them with their goods when they only had a few small items to transport. Maybe a small amount of Barley or wheat to make some bread with or some pickled or dried, salted fish would fit into most sling bags and the person would hang it over one shoulder like the way women carried babies in slings and just walk their route to get the goods t their destination. When they needed to carry moderate loads they would wrap a cloth around their bundle of goods that might also include some meats from beef, sheep, or goats and wrap the bundle onto their back and use their forehead as a balancing point to hold the package of goods steady and keep themselves balanced to be able to walk without problems. Heavier loads however, were loaded onto a quite large pallet and covered in a cloth and tied down with rope. Then the pallet was loaded onto the carrier’s back and carried that way. Due to the strain and limited space, they usually only kept meats and fish within the same or very nearby cities to avoid spoiling. In 3000 BC the Mesopotamians began utilizing donkeys as a mode of travel to carry goods. This enabled them to carry more and heavier items, and also they were able to carry different items as it was not as taxing on the individual traveling and the donkey could bear the weight instead. With the introduction of donkeys as domesticated animals the Mesopotamians were able to transport textiles (cloth and/or fabric). While this is too heavy for a human to be able to carry enough to make the trip lucrative for all involved, using a donkey made it a lot easier to transport. Tied to the back of a donkey in bundles, the ass could walk for miles without needing a break and was able to bear the heaviness of the load. Donkeys enabled Mesopotamians to be able to travel and carry goods as far away as Kanesh in Turkey. The donkeys were also able to transport items such as gold, silver, and precious stones. In order to make the stones enough to make the trip worthwhile, they could not just carry it on foot because it was too heavy once you had enough of these metals to prove enough to accomplish all needs. They could carry more grains also. The donkey was also able to carry wine and lapis lazuli (Mined in Afghanistan large chunks of it were able to be transported to make jewelry to trade. Without donkey assistance they would not have been able to carry enough back at once to make the amount of items needed to trade for survival or profit). Which were both very heavy and needed to be carried by an ulterior method to get to where it needed to go efficiently and effectively. Around 2500-2350 B.C., boats began being introduced to the Mesopotamians for a way to travel and transport their goods from place to place. Starting with gulf boats, they were Stronger than common river boats, used to transport goods from South Mesopotamia to the Gulf. Made out of reeds and other woods covered in bitumen (A natural tar-like substance that is derived from petroleum to make the wood waterproof). The Mesopotamians were able to continue to transport barley, wheat, and textiles, but now, more of them and much faster. They also became able to transport stone. Mesopotamian Kings sent expeditions in...
References: Leokum, A. "When Were Ships First Used" The Free Lance Star October 24, 1968, Tell Me Why! Pg. 23 Print.
Nelson, Eric. "All Roads Lead To Rome" Complete Idiot 's Guide to the Roman Empire August,
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