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Ancient Near-East Blog

The Ziggurat of Ur

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Ziggurat of Ur, c. 2100 B.C.E. mud brick and baked brick, Tell el-Mukayyar, Iraq (largely reconstructed)

The Great Ziggurat


The ziggurat is the most distinctive architectural invention of the Ancient Near East. Like an ancient Egyptian pyramid, an ancient Near Eastern ziggurat has four sides and rises up to the realm of the gods. However, unlike Egy...

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Perforated Relief of Ur-Nanshe

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Perforated relief of Ur-Nanshe, king of Lagash, limestone, Early Third Dynasty (2550–2500 B.C.E.), found in Telloh or Tello (ancient city of Girsu). 15-¼ x 18-¼ inches / 39 x 46.5 cm (Musée du Louvre)

Archaeologists believe that the years 2800-2350 B.C.E. in Mesopotamia saw both increased population and a drier climate. This would have increased competit...

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Standard of Ur, c. 2600-2400 B.C.E.

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

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Standard of Ur, c. 2600-2400 B.C.E., 21.59 x 49.5 x 12 cm (British Museum) Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker & Dr. Beth Harris. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.

Standard of Ur and other objects from the Royal Graves

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Postcard; printed; photograph showing archaeological excavations at Ur, with Arab workmen standing for scale in the excavated street of an early second millennium B.C.E. residential quarter © Trustees of the British Museum

The City of Ur


Known today as Tell el-Muqayyar, the "Mound of Pitch," the site was occupied from around 50...

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Standing Male Worshipper from Tell Asmar

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

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Standing Male Worshipper from Tell Asmar


Standing Male Worshipper (votive figure), c. 2900-2600 B.C.E., from the Square Temple at Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar, Iraq), Sumerian, Early Dynastic I-II, gypsum alabaster, shell, black limestone, bitumen, 11 5/8 x 5 1/8 x 3 7/8 inches / 29.5 x...

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Cylinder seals

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Cylinder Seal (with modern impression), royal worshipper before a god on a throne with bull's legs; human-headed bulls below, c. 1820-1730 B.C.E. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Sign with a Cylinder Seal


Cuneiform was used for official accounting, governmental and theological pronouncements and a wide range of correspondence. Nearl...

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Writing Cuneiform

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

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Over five thousand years ago, people living in Mesopotamia developed a form of writing to record and communicate different types of information.

The earliest writing wa...
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Posted on May 19, 2016 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Early Writing Tablet recording the allocation of beer, 3100-3000 B.C.E, Late Prehistoric period, clay, probably from southern Iraq.

© Trustees of the British Museum. The symbol for beer, an upright jar with pointed base, appears three times on the tablet. Beer was the most popular drink in Mesopotamia and was issued as rations to workers. Alongside the pictographs a...

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Archaeological Reconstructions

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Reconstruction drawing of Nimrud, the site of an ancient Assyrian palace, by James Fergusson for Sir Henry Layard, published in 1853. The columns depicted here were never found. The reconstruction is clearly influenced by what was known at that time of Greco-Roman architecture and by John Martin’s Fall of Nineveh (1829).

Reconstructions of an...
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The White Temple and Ziggurat of Uruk

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Archaeological site at Uruk (modern Warka) in Iraq (photo: SAC Andy Holmes (RAF)/MOD, Open Government Licence v1.0)

Uruk (modern Warka in Iraq)—where city life began more than five thousand years ago and where the first writing emerged—was clearly one of the most important places in southern Mesopotamia. Within Uruk, the greatest monument wa...
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