Mesopotamia isn’t the most abundant in natural resources, which is one of the reasons why these societies had to make the most out of what was available. They also received goods from long distance trade, spoils of war, and exotic goods that were usually still in the form of raw materials. Most importantly they had to come up with new ways to use their resources in order to survive.
The economy was primarily based on agriculture, mainly for the cultivation of barley. Barley was often used as a method of payment for wages and daily rations. Wheat was also used as well as barley to make beer. Other items included wheat, flax, dates, figs, and grapes. Flax was mainly used to produce oil and linen. Wool production was large with the need for textiles. Sheep and goats also provided milk, meat, and hides in order to produce leather. Donkeys were the main source of transportation. The Mesopotamian diet usually consisted of pigs, fish, birds, and wild mammals.
Clay was quite obviously used to create pottery for cooking, food storage, and food serving. It was also used to produce a variety of tools, most notably cuneiform inscriptions. I really want to know how they made sickles out of clay though, it seems really interesting.
There were two primary ways to obtain fundamental materials. It was either by war or by trade. These good were usually offered as tribute or taken as loot by the military. While Mesopotamian society was dependent upon tribute, military expeditions were only encouraged after the harvest, this allowed the farmers to become soldiers. In the case of King Lugalbanda he did something a little different and offered grain in exchange for precious stones.
When it came to exports, Mesopotamia had so little to offer. Cereals, being the main export, were hard to to transport due to how heavy and bulky they were. So what did the Mesopotamians do? They started to import tin, just to export it to the major metal industry of Anatolia. This is due to Anatolia having easier access to wood than Mesopotamia, it was essential as fuel for the furnaces.
These people were extremely good at adapting to their environment and finding ways to shape their lifestyle around what the land had to offer even though they were never truly unified. That is one of the things I find most incredible about Mesopotamia.