Presentation on theme: "Land between two rivers"— Presentation transcript:
1Land between two rivers MesopotamiaLand between two rivers
2Timeline Early establishment of cities Ubaid Phase 5900- 4000 BC Uruk period BCEarly Dynastic BCAkkadian Period BCNeo Sumerian BCOld Babylonian period BCOld Assyrian period BCMiddle Assyrian BCNeo Assyrian BCNeo Babylonian BCPersian and Hellenistic period BC
3Popular imaginationAncient Sumeria and Babylon known from Old Testament, but periods before these Biblical stories is largely unknown.Mesopotamian cities and rulers had profound impact on Egypt, Elamites in Iran and development of urban life, art, and the practice of war for conquest.
4Ubaid Excavations at Tell al-Ubaid were initiated in 1919. Pottery fragments on the dessert surface hinted at city beneath the sand.Early field seasons revealed copper statues, remnants of sculptured lions, eagles, stags, and bulls. Also found: handcrafted pottery, utensils, fragments of wooden columns, and jewelry with inlaid mother-of-pearl.
5Ubaid and Uruk period Excavations at Eridu were begun in 1942. Deposits suggested 2000 years of occupation.Earliest phases extended back to the Ubaid period around 5900 BC.Burials (many with grave offerings), pottery, sculpture, pictographic images, temple foundations: all revealed a well ordered society with sophisticated artistic traditions.
7Ubaid painted pottery sherds Ubaid painted pottery sherds. Distribution of such shards helps identify the range scope of cultural influence throughout the region.
8Ancient environmental evidence suggest the area was once better watered, with easy access to the river delta (today a desert region).Based on comparative pottery studies and temple style it is evident the Ubaid culture eventually extended across all of southern Mesopotamia.
9Excavation extend to a depth of 60 feet to reach “sterile” soils. Ubaid culture is noted for pottery of distinctive style, and for a mixed lifestyle of agriculture, animal husbandry, and fishing.Ubaid was true city.Social stratificationwas well established.Clay boat model, Eridu 4000BC. Earliest known boat representation.
13British soldiers deployed in Iraq, at tell al-Ubaid British soldiers deployed in Iraq, at tell al-Ubaid. Courtesy British Museum.
14Uruk (Erech in Old Testament) Mentioned in Epic of Gilgamesh:“…the outer walls shine with the brilliance of copper…the inner wall has no equal…the wall is great; is it not burnt brick and good?”The site is marked by a 40 foot tall temple (an early ziggurat).Remains of mud-brick walls run for 5 miles.Strong evidence for craft specialization and revealed clear signs of division of labor along with class distinctions.
18Mosaic columns made from thousands of cones. Carved alabaster female figurine.
19Excavations Ongoing since 1922 by German archaeologists. Site is marked on landscape by tall ziggurat.The “white temple” was devoted to Inanna: goddess of love and war (same as Ishtar).Tokens and administrative records indicate writing 300 years before the Egyptians.One mystery remains: where had the inhabitants come from?
21Surprising findCambridge archaeologist Joan Oates discovered 8000-year old site at Choga Mami.Predates Ubaid. Pushes early Sumerian culture back in time an additional 2500 years.The earliest houses of Mesopotamia.Several communal granaries uncovered.Pottery styles similar to Ubaid types.Evidence of irrigation canals.
22Small details reveal much Cylinder sealsPersonal tokensMosaicsEarly pictographic writing—eventually evolve into cuneiformTemple construction.Cultural trajectory leads to Sumerian civilization.Images to follow courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
32Various cylinder seals and their impressions.Seals are used to identify property or for official signatures.Seals frequently portray familiar mythical scenes or everyday life in unique fashion.These are clay, Jamdat Nasr phase, 3000BC.
33Wall plaque. Banquet with musicians. Limestone. From Khafajah, Sin Temple, level IX, early Dynastic 2550 BCThree registers. Display scene. This piece in Oriental Museum of Chicago. Missing piece is in Baghdad, Iraq National Museum.Fragment here is part of a door lock.
34Sumeria and the Royal City of Ur Research in the 1920s was spurred by interest in “Biblical Archaeology”Sir Leonard Woolley began work at Ur in (joint effort by the British Museum and University of Pennsylvania).Ur is described in Genesis as birthplace of Abraham, patriarch of the Jews.Excavations from eventually included a Royal Sumerian tomb.
36Woolley and T.E. Lawrence. Woolley poses for photographers.
37University of Pennsylvania archives. Wooley excavation at Ur.
38Summary First writing. First known use of the wheel. First cities with monumental architecture.Well defined class structure.Earliest “literature” and epic stories.First use of administrative accounting.Strong concept of private ownership.First examples of seafaring.
39Next weekThe Royal tomb of UrExpansion and empire