Early Dynastic Period (Mesopotamia). Term describing the earliest historical period in Mesopotamia, dated 2900–2370 Bc on the middle chronology, 3100–2450 Bc on the high chronology (see Table 3, page 321). The term is derived from the Sumerian ‘king list’ which implies that Sumer was ruled by kings at this stage, although archaeological evidence for the existence of kingship is meagre before the middle of the period. Traditionally the period is divided by archaeologists into three — ED I, II and III — each of approximately 200 years duration. The Royal Tombs of UR belong the the ED III period. The Early Dynastic phase shows clear continuity from the preceding Jemdet Nasr, and represents a period of rapid political, cultural and artistic development which saw the establishment of independent states governed — ultimately at least — by kings.
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