Archaeology - 3rd Monday @ 13:30
Our topic in September was the Marsh Arabs of the Mesopotamian Marshes. The land around the final reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, now part of modern-day Iraq, has for thousands of years been the home of a people whose culture was adapted to living in a marsh environment. These people may have been descended from the ancient Sumerians. The Marsh Arabs, also known as Ma’dan, lived by harvesting reeds and rice, fishing and herding water buffalo. They built elaborate houses and communal buildings from woven reeds. During the late 20th century, the draining of most of the marshes for agriculture and oil exploration undermined this way of life and forced most of the population to leave. While some Marsh Arabs have now returned and restored parts of the original wetlands, the marshes are once again threatened by drought and the diversion of water upstream for use by other countries.