Mesopotamia: Modern Day Iraq, name given to them by Greeks meaning Between two Rivers.
They were Sumer, Assyria, Babylonia, ect
Levant: Along the coast of the mediterranean
Arabian Peninsula: includes modern day Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Katar
Geography: Area is extremely diverse, desert, forrest, mountain chains, alluvial planes with
sediment carrying rivers, diff environments impacted the settlements differently.
Alluvial Planes: Planes with rivers running through carrying sediment that would dump on
banks during ﬂooding making the land good for cultivation
Evironmental effect on society: More marginal places rely on herding, coastal areas are big
traders, desert isolates you, mespotamian foothills allowed for a lot of intermingling of people
which inﬂuenced the culture
Tigress and Euphrates: Source in the mountains in Eastern Turkey. The Tigress has off
ﬂowing rivers. In the North they carve through limestone, the south is ﬂatter and the banks see
Canals: common in southern iraq because it is so ﬂat, not enough rainfall to survive without
Mud Brick: Very little stone in southern iraq leaves them to rely on mud brick for building, made
of clay, chopped straw, moulded and dried in the sun.
dried dung: useful for fuel because of the scarcity of wood. Burns at high temperatures, good
Nipur: Settled 4,500 years ago, many centuries of occupation, was an important holy city for
Uruk: Southern Iraq, one of the worlds earliest cities occupied by 4000 BCE.
Assyria: In northern iraq so has a different environment. Have enough rainfall to practice
agriculture without irregation. Breadbasket of the mediterranean. Cities like Nineveh founded
here, Numrud. Area is green and fertile, stonier in the North
Tell Halaf: In the west, rolling plans covered in grass in the steppe lands. This is in modern NE
Phoenicians: Sea faring community, were always in search of Tin to make bronze.
Israel and Jordan: Jericho has the distinction of being one of the most ancient towns dating
back 10,000 years ago. Also had city Jerusalem. Water source is sea of Galilel. Dead sea area
supports no life. Hill countries to the west of the dead sea.
Tell: An ancient settlement, mounded high because of different levels of occupations. Is Arabic
for Hill. quite diverse in countours, have high and low points
Tell Brak: Famous site in NE Syria
Tell Mardikh: In Syria, can see the high acropolis and circular remains of a city wall, gaps
Tell Hazor: Northern Israel, mentioned in the Hebrew bible. See distinct high mound separate
from lower town.
Formation process: Settlers build, trash piles up and after a while mud brick begins to
deteriorate so they build on a larger level, something causes them to abandon site. Wind and
rain further deteriorate, the land covers over with grass, new people come and build there, now
have even more elevation and protection. Same process repeats itself
Broad Horizontal Exposure: One method of excavation. Dig across the entire face of site, laid
out like grid with square trenches separated by Partitions. allows a wide area image, but only
see one historical area
Baulks: unexcavated areas of the square trenches, left up to record the stratigraphy of what
Page 1 of 9 you've dug through. The drawbacks are that you might be leaving important things unseen in
Deep Sounding: method of digging very deeply, allows you to pick up on all levels of
occupation. White tags mark levels and features. Gives you good historical overview and
access to artefacts from each period but only a small sample and makes you destroy earlier
levels to get to later ones.
Top Plan: shows birds eye view of site, boxed numbers stand for lots or locus numbers
Locus: associated with the space of a room or particular feature, way to divide things up
Tools: picks, shovels, Gufas, trowels, dust pans, dirt sifting, dental picks and paint brushes.
Pottery collection: collect it according to the locus its found it, washed, recorded and counted,
ﬁnd thousands of pieces on each site.
Period Chronology: Neolithic- Chalcolithic- Bronze Age- Iron Age
5000-4000 BCE: We see people have mastered irrigation in southern mesopotamia because of
evidence of crops. They were simple farming folk, mostly growing barley, small villages with
mud brick houses. No cities yet but small towns
Eridu: 4000 BCE, right by Euphrates river. Remains of temple walls. Was a large building with
ornate buttresses and recesses, has offering table and altar at opposite ends of temple.
Uruk: 4000-3000 BCE. Mesopotamia’s ﬁrst city. Multi period occupation site. Experienced great
growth in this period, around 50,000 people.
▯ White Temple Anu Ziggurat: temple sits on top of the Ziggurat, was white washed and
▯ gleamed in the sun. Lots of labouring and engineering into it
▯ Eanna Temple Precinct: 3100 BCE. Was a cluster of temples thought to be different
▯ cultic buildings, named after Sumerian goddess of love Eanna. Pillars decorated with ▯
▯ clay cones painted to create mosaic patterns
▯ Warka Vase: 3000 BCE: was looted during US occupation of Baghdad, returned in
▯ pieces. Was a vase for rituals of Eanna, carved of alabaster, registers of plants, ▯▯
▯ animals, people and the goddess at the top
▯ Female Head: Limestone, looks like a mask, hollowed out eyes to inlay stones in.
▯ Early Writing: Tablet found at Uruk, our earliest example of writing. Looks like circles ▯
▯ and diffferent impressions in the clay, pictorial. Called Cuneiform
Early Dynastic Period/ Sumerian Period: 2900-2350 BCE: Named after sumerian inhabitants,
Sumer was not the only important city in this period, had many blossoming along southern
planes. Each had people, houses, temples, workshops, urban space, and outer territory like
ﬁelds and orchards.
▯ Political set up: Each city in this period was politically autonomous, no higher control
▯ over entire land. Temples and attendants hold lots of power, would control large tracts ▯
▯ of land and merchants who carried out economic ventures. Temple heads did a lot of
▯ admin stuff, The priests developed into city rulers.
▯ Suruppak City: Families became wealthy outside religious sphere, i.e. through trade or
▯ military. Here we see the growth of secular kingship.
Lagash: A powerful city state, had Three urban centres: Girsu, Lagash, Zurghul. State grows to
prominence in 2400 BCE, time of Early Dynastic III. Lots of monuments found in Girsu
▯ Stele of the Vultures: 2400 BCE, a stone monument that stood in a temple area.
Commemorative of kings victory against city of Umma. City ruler is prominently displayed,
covered in sumerian inscriptions telling us his name and conquests. Also see shown the god of
▯ Ningirsu: God of Lagash,
▯ Khafajeh: Site that has a massive oval temple complex in the middle of the city. Made ▯
Page 2 of 9 ▯ of mud brick. Shows us the importance of the temple institution and religious growth.
▯ Temple surrounded by storage place and workshops, so also an economic powerhouse ▯
▯ of the city. People owned lots of property and agricultural land here.
Ur: In the far south, mentioned as birthplace of Abraham in the bible. Famous for the royal
▯ Royal Cemetery: UR III: has several rich burials full of trasures, ie. gilded bull heads,
▯ musical instruments, has evidence of human sacriﬁce.
▯ Queen Puabi’s Tomb: name found on a bead. She has her own personal tomb, laid out
▯ on table and surrounded by possessions. Bodies of bodyguards and servants killed
▯ at time of her death and buried to serve her in afterlife.
Akkadian Empire: 2334-2193 BCE: the city began to look outwards to control other territory
and conquer. Akkhad is the homeland, all previously independent states now governed by king
King Sargon: First to make a big move to control more than his own city. His background
origins are unknown but we know he was able to conquer the area of sumer and establish a
kingdom. Was an ambitious military leader, campaigns on the north and east, extending
boarders and searching for resources. He secured trade routes to important sources like
copper, tin, stone timber, all which southern mesopotamia was poor in. Sargon and his people
are a different ehtnic group than sumerians, from Northern south Iraq, and Akkadians speak the
earlier Semetic language we know.
Victory Stele of Naram-Sin: 2250-2218 BCE: Sargons grandson followed same path as
Sargon and campaigned throughout mesopotamia to expand and keep trade routes. Stele
celebrates conquest of Zigguras moutnains. Use of hierarchy of scale, looking up towards sun
god. He is the ﬁrst mortal to wear horned helmets, only seen in god images before, he is
regarding himself as divine.
Ur III Dynasty: 2112-2004 BCE: The akkadian empire eventually falls and we see the
resurgence of sumerian cities again, especially southern ones. Ur was one of the main cities .
First king is Ur-Nammu. Had a highly centralized admin system, state controlled with extensive
bureaucracy that keeps a careful order, Scribes record taxes and tributes. There are canals, a
palace. We know this from thousands of tablets found at Ur and other cities that served as tax
Ur-Nammu: ﬁrst king of the Ur III dynasty.
▯ Ziggurat of Ur-Nammu: Built by king Ur-Nammy. These ziggurats are now more ▯▯
▯ complex with three levels, temple on the top, This was was for the moon god Nanna.
Fall of Ur III: Shortly after reign of second king UR III showed signs of weakness. Many foreign
people pressing in from several fronts, i.e. the Elamites, the Amorites, all tribal people with
pastoral nomadic backgrounds.
Isin-Larsa Period: 2004-1793 BCE Another period of individual cities controlling their own
immediate territory. Period named after the cities with the most control, Isin and Larsa. Both
looked to conquer more area and were in competition. Cities controlled by Amorite kings who
had gained power. Babylon is another Amorite city that gains control and slowly begins to take
over all of southern mesopotamia, bringing in the Old Babylonian Period
Old Babylonian Period: 1792-1595 BCE:
Law Code Stele of Hammurabi: Written by the ﬁrst king of the Old Babylonian Period. Made of
black Basalt. has 282 legal pronouncements in cuneiform. a commemoration to show him as a
great law maker. Top of stele shows king standing in gesture of piety in front of seated god
Shamash, of justice and law.
New Amorite Dynasty at Mari: 18th Cent BCE: Other developments happening outside of
Page 3 of 9 Mari: Mari is located along the Euphrates in modern Syria. Grew to be an important city, is
located along several major trade routes. if you were coming from the south there are two roots
that diverge around Mari, and they would inﬂict heavy tolls and tariffs on anyone coming though
▯ Palace of Zimri-Lim: Zimri-Lim was one of the main Amorite kings at Mari. This palace ▯
▯ is one of the best preserved from the second millennium BCE. was destroyed by ﬁre and
▯ never occupied again. Layout is a sprawling multi room palace in mud brick.
Ashur: Located along the Tigris river in northern Iraq, another city with a good trade location.
Trade of tin and other materials coming from the west would have made Ashur merchants
responsible for conveying material to the near east.
Tin: Came from inland iran or afghanistan.
Kassite Dynasty: 1490-1155 BCE Took over the whole area, weren't native to Mesopotamia
but quickly learned Akkadian. They adopted other cultural features and the Babylonian religion
already in place.
Dur-Kurigalzu: The Kassites established the capital city at Dur-Kurigalzu. The ruins of the
Ziggurat are still seen, also remains of a palace, but it is all under a modern suburb.
Kingdom of Hurrians: 1500-1350 BCE : see the emergence of a number of co existing
kingdoms in the North. This one is in the area of North Syria, established kingdom in city of
Mitanni, don't know a lot about them
Assyria 1360-1200 BCE: Appears in area of Ashur, a very powerful dynasty of kings that take
over some of the mitanni Kingdom. They were militaristic, prided themselves on conquest,
battleﬁeld successes, ruthless soldiers. Know about them from detailed descriptions.
Hittites 1400-1200 BCE: Further north than Mitanni, dominated region of Turkey. Similar
militaristic style as Assyria, extend their territory successfully through campaigns.
▯ Hattusas: Capital city of the Hittites. Lots of stone available for architecture that still
Egypt: On the rise during this period and become a force to be reckoned with in the 2nd
millemium. Period of the new kingdom and Pharaohs start to campaign out to Israel, Lebanon,
Ugarit: A major port city for trade. Well excavated, had good connections with places in the med
sea. Found lots of imported
Invasion of Sea Peoples: comes around 1200 BCE, a big event that seem to end all the
bronze age kingdoms. Attacking along the coast and working inland, even Egyptians targeted by
Ramses III Was able to beat them back. Also invasion of the Aramaeans, goes into a confusing
dark age and things don't settle down till 900 BCE when we se the return of inscriptions.
Neo-Assyrian Period: 883-859 BCE In northern mesopotamia around the city of Ashur, and
they expand with a new dynasty of kings.
Ashurnasirpal II: First king of the Neo-Assyrian period. Greatly expanded Assyria and
controlled all of northern mesopotamia. Wanted to build a new city that reﬂected the glory of the
▯ Nimrud: the location of king Ashurnasirpal’s capital. Put a lot of resources into
▯ embellishing the city.
▯ Northwest Palace: large throne room to receive foreign dignitaries. Main rooms ▯▯
▯ decorated with carved wall reliefs
▯ Wall Reliefs: show winged genies, who are protective deities. also scenes based on
▯ underscoring the power of the King, and the gods protecting his people. Gods shown
▯ with human bodies, wings and heads of birds. Genies shown with seed and buckets
▯ next to trees, many interpretations as to what this could mean. ie. putting seeds of
▯ fertility on the tree?
Page 4 of 9 ▯ Hunting Scenes: images of the king hunting, lots of lion hunts. Shows how he can
▯ conquer powerful beasts, and by extension nature. Shows values like bravery, prowess
▯ Assyrian Army Besieging walled city: a siege scene, bringing down enemy walls.
▯ King often shown participating,
Lamassu: statues of human headed winged bulls that stand in doorways of major rooms that
were thought to protect the palace from evil forces entering.
Sargon II: 721-705 BCE: a Late Assyrian king. Ruled 100 years after Ashurnasirpal. empire has
been expanded to include most of mesopotamia and parts of Syria. he captured the kingdom of
Israel, campaigned into turkey and armenia. Claimed to have conquered the mountain people of
Uratu but know he could never incorporate them into the empire.
▯ Dur-Sharrukin: Sargon moved the capital to Dur-Sharrukin, aka Sargon’s fortress
Sennacherib: 704-681 BCE: Succeeded Sargon II, campaigned down to Judah, successfully
captured Lachish. He was proud of this and had a whole room decorated to show his capture.
▯ Nineveh: Moved capital from Dur-Sharrukin to Nineveh. Made it a grandiose city, not a ▯
▯ lot of surviving mud brick but have remaining carved stone wall reliefs.
Ashurbanipal: 668-627 BCE: The empire reaches its greatest extent in his reign. He leaves the
capital at Nineveh but builds a new palace, again decorated with sculptured wall reliefs. Images
of him defeating lions on foot, ﬁne details. Successfully fought against Elamites, banquet scenes
show the king celebrating his success.
Fall of Neo-Assyrian: Babylonia revolts against Assyria and establishes their own kingdom,
Assyria fell in 612 BCE when Nineveh was conquered.
Neo-Babylonian Empire: The Babylonians take over the old Assyrian territory
Nebuchadnezzar: Famous king of the Babylonian empire c. 604-562 BCE. He is named in the
bible. It was under his reign the kingdom of Judah was captured and the city of Jerusalem
sacked. He embellished the city of Babylon during reign i.e. the Temple of Marduk: Marduk was
the patron diety of the city. Also location of Hanging gardens in his palace, would have required
▯ Ishtar Gate: Famous elaborate gate used for the kings processions. Reconstructed in ▯
▯ Berlin. Covered in blue glazed brick, images of dragons.
Persian Empire: 559-331 BCE. They brought the N