Diary Of A Mesopotamian Farmer

10,000 years ago


Name: Isam
Address: Large Mud Hut Near The River
Occupation: Farmer


¨ Cultivation of wheat, barley, flax, and peas.
¨ domestication of sheep, cows and goats
¨ tanning of leather
¨ developed method of irrigation to maintain crops

Daily responsibilities:

¨ Feed livestock at daybreak.
¨ retrieve milk from cows and goats
¨ carry milk to wife for cheese making
¨ check crops for weeds, pulling any I find
¨ turn livestock out to graze
¨ retrieve water from the river, using a goat to carry buckets
¨ carefully water crops
¨ harvest as necessary
¨ hand cultivate plots for re-planting
¨ round up livestock before dusk, return them to their enclosure

Weekly responsibilities:

¨ slaughter goat, sheep or cow for meat
¨ stretch hides for tanning
¨ make repairs on mud hut as necessary

Other activities:

When I am not working in my fields or trying to design a better irrigation system, I assist my neighbors with their livestock and crops. We trade often with each other – barley for wheat, mutton for beef, flaxen cloth for woven woolens, milk for cheese.

My wife is a skilled weaver and cheesemaker – she is known throughout the region for her finely woven flaxen linens and her rich and perfectly cured cheeses. She works daily to maintain our household,
filling the air with the scent of her rich lamb stews and unleavened bread, and working to spin yarn, weave fabric, and sew comfortable clothing for us. Our daughter assists her in these daily tasks. (Until his death recently from a mysterious fever, our son helped to tend the sheep. He fell ill shortly after several sheep had died, but the village healer could not help him. He suspected the boy may have been made ill by the sheep!)

It is my goal to improve irrigation and harvest methods, as well as ease the burden of working the soil, so that my entire day is not spent in the fields. I would like to spend a bit more time learning to fashion clay pots in which to store our grains, but this requires time and I am very tired at the end of the day.

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