Excavations at Warka, Ur, Kish, Tello, Fara, and other sites reveal the existence of a Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic culture in southern Mesopotamia during the 4th millennium B.C. It has been divided into four periods: c. 4000 B.C. The Al Ubaid period began
probably shortly before 4000 B.C. and was characterized by a simple agricultural economy and the use of painted pottery with geometric designs. The Uruk period, which followed, saw the first development of monumental architecture, copper, seals, and pictographic
c. 3200-3000 B.C. The Jemdet Nasr period marked the culmination of the prehistoric culture and led up to the Early Dynastic (Sumerian) period and the beginning of recorded history. A similar progress can be traced in northern Mesopotamia, though the lowest levels at Nineveh, Gawra, and Arpachiyah show a somewhat different culture, marked by the brilliant Tell Halaf pottery.