‘The beginning of cities, 3600–2900 bce’ starts this history of the ancient Near East by looking at the beginning of the period of prosperity in Mesopotamia, focusing in particular on the city of Uruk. We actually know very little about the people who lived at this time as historic events were only retold orally through the generations. When the southern Mesopotamian communities expanded to become cities, a new method of recording was conceived: writing. Most of what we know can be gleaned from early written evidence. How aware were the people of Uruk about how technologically and economically advanced their civilization was?