The economy of ancient Mesopotamia, which was scarce in local natural resources, relied heavily on trade with neighboring regions. Goods such as textiles, grain and oils were exchanged for hardwood, precious stones and wine, according to The British Museum.
Mesopotamia was an area in the eastern Mediterranean bordered by the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. The Ancient History Encyclopedia describes its location as corresponding with modern-day Iran, Turkey and Syria. Established around 5,000 B.C.E., Mesopotamia is often described as the "cradle of civilization" due to the fact that it was the birthplace of both the modern city system and the written language. Penn Museum tells us that as early settlements grew into cities, their need for goods and materials also grew. Trading reached a high point around 3,000 B.C., with established routes carrying goods to and from the Indus Valley, Anatolia, Syria and other nearby regions. Historians know that trade was organized by both private merchants and the state. Goods were transported by local waterways, including the major river systems, as well as by foot or on donkeys. A sea route via the Persian Gulf would have been very active during this time, as would an eastern route through the Zagros Mountains, which led to the bountiful Iranian plateau.