Which of the following was characteristic of the physical environments of early river-valley civilizations in the Near East?
Select an Answer
Cool summer temperatures encouraged the production of grain crops.
Tropical forests along the riverbanks provided the population with most of its food.
The rivers maintained a steady flow year-round, fed by melting mountain glaciers.
The rivers flowed through deep mountain valleys, which sheltered early civilizations.
Rainfall was low, requiring irrigation of crops with river water.
The earliest river-valley civilizations in the Near East arose in Lower Mesopotamia, the alluvial plain of the lower Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present-day central and southern Iraq. The region lies outside the Near East’s “Fertile Crescent” and is one of very low precipitation receiving on average between 4 and 10 inches of rainfall per year. On the other hand, with the development of early irrigation techniques and irrigation canal infrastructure (beginning circa 3,000 B.C.E.), Lower Mesopotamia could be transformed into an extremely productive agricultural environment, as the region’s rivers could provide not only sufficient water for irrigation but also fertile silt to improve the fertility of the soil.