Sumer – approximately “land of the civilized kings” or “native land” was an ancient civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern-day southern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age. Although the earliest forms of writing in the region do not go back much further than c. 3500 BCE, modern historians have suggested that Sumer was first permanently settled between c. 5500 and 4000 BCE by a non-Semitic people who spoke the Sumerian language (pointing to the names of cities, rivers, basic occupations, etc. as evidence). These conjectured, prehistoric people are now called “proto-Euphrateans” or “Ubaidians”, and are theorized to have evolved from the Samarra culture of northern Mesopotamia (Assyria). The Ubaidians were the first civilizing force in Sumer, draining the marshes for agriculture, developing trade, and establishing industries, including weaving, leatherwork, metalwork, masonry, and pottery.