Archaeological term referring to levels of Mesopotamian sites from the end of the Jemdet Nasr period (c. 2900 B.C.) to the reign of Sargon of Akkad (c. 2330). There are three subdivisions: Early Dynastic (ED) I (2900–2750), ED II (2750–2600), ED III A(2600–2500), and ED III B (2500–2330). The first historical records that appeared were from Early Dynastic III A, brief inscriptions from Kish, Ur, and Uruk. Other texts, mainly of administrative purpose, were discovered at Abu Salabik and Fara (ancient Shuruppak).
   The Early Dynastic period saw the emergence of several important city-states and a marked trend toward urbanization. There was much competition between individual cities, not only for power and influence but for water rights and territorial boundaries. The documents found at Fara refer to large institutional organizations that could command thousands of men for various civic and military tasks. There may also have been coalitions of cities, such as the still poorly documented “Kengi-League.” Toward the end of Early Dynastic III, Uruk had achieved prominence under the leadership of Lugalzagesi.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

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