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Sumer facts for kids

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(circa 4500 BC – 1900 BC)

Cities of Sumer (en).svg
General location on a modern map, and main cities of Sumer with ancient coastline. The coastline was nearly reaching Ur in ancient times.
Geographical range Mesopotamia, Near East, Middle East
Period Late Neolithic, Middle Bronze Age
Dates c. 4500 – c. 1900 BC
Preceded by Ubaid period
Followed by Akkadian Empire
Sumerian cities

Sumer was an ancient civilization in the southern part of Mesopotamia (modern day southeastern Iraq) that started around 3500 BC. It was one of the first civilizations in the world. The Sumerian civilization grew along the Tigris and Euphrates. This land was good for growing food. Sumerian culture is famous for its written cuneiform script - where letters were formed by pressing a triangle shaped reed into wet-clay tiles. They are also credited with creating the wheel, and dividing a day into 24 hours, and each hour into 60 minutes.

Sumerian communities were organized into city-states, each ruled by a priest or king, until Akkad conquered them in the third millennium BC. One of the most famous Sumerian cities was Ur.

The Sumerians lost their identity with their language around 2000 BC, because a large group of different people, the Amorites, moved into their region.


The Sumerians made their clothing by using the natural resources that were available to them. Clothing was made from wool or flax which Sumerians could raise and harvest. How thick or how coarse the clothing was meant the season in which the clothes would be worn. Like us, heavier clothing would be worn in the winter and lighter clothing would be worn in the summer.

Men were barechested and wore skirt-like clothes that tied at the waist. Women usually wore dresses that covered them from their shoulders to their ankles. The right arm and shoulder were left uncovered. Men were either clean shaven or had long hair and beards. Women wore their hair long, but they usually braided it and wrapped it around their heads. When entertaining guests, women placed headdresses in their hair.

Although both rich and poor Sumerians wore the same style of clothing, the richer Sumerians wore clothing that was made out of expensive and luxurious materials. Rich women and princesses also wore clothing that was colorful and bright.

Both men and women wore earrings and necklaces. During celebrations, even more jewelry was worn. The wealthier Sumerians often wore beautiful gold and silver bracelets and earrings. Sumerians also wore necklaces with bright, precious stones. Some of these stones were lapis lazuli and carnelian.

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Sumer Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.