Mesopotamia was known as the land between two rivers, the Tigris to the north and the Euphrates to the south. Rains were seasonal in this area, which meant that the land flooded in the winter and spring and water was scarce at other times. Farming in the region depended on irrigation from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. In ancient times, many resources in Mesopotamia were scarce or absent, which stimulated trade within the region and beyond. Supported by lucrative trade with its neighbors, Mesopotamia grew to become a powerful empire. Mashkan-shapir was a typical Mesopotamian city, located about 20 miles from the Tigris River and connected to the river by a network of canals. Poisoned fields: A contributor to collapse Along with factors such as war and changes in the environment, scientists now believe irrigation techniques played an important role in Mashkan-shapir's collapse. In Mesopotamia, irrigation was essential for crop production. Could this happen today?
• Ancient History