It is unknown which culture was the first to create music, but a set of beautiful Sumerian instruments from the city of Ur provide us with some insight into the world of ancient music. The famous Lyres of Ur, which are somewhat similar to modern harps, are the oldest stringed instruments unearthed to date. The Golden Lyre, found in the Great Death Pit at the Royal Cemetery of Ur (in southern Iraq), got its name because the whole head of the bull is made of gold. The eyes are made of inlaid mother-of-pearl and lapis lazuli. Research has shown that the bull played a key role in the religious imagination of the Sumerians: it could serve as the deity’s divine animal or the god himself could take on the form of a bull.
Elaborate hairstyles became important for both men and women in Mesopotamia. The kings began to wear a full beard and long braided hair tied in a large bun at the nape of his neck. Women continued to wear their hair long, twisting it into large buns that covered the top of the head to the base of the neck and adorning it with ribbons and pins. The wealthiest people decorated their elaborate hairstyles with beautifully made jewelry of gold and silver. The gold of the helmet of Meskalamdug was expertly formed to resemble the hairstyle popular for men of the time: waves around the face with a bun tied in the back.
The Laws of Eshnunna are believed to be about two generations older than the Code of Hammurabi and the differences between the Code of Hammurabi and the Laws of Eshnunna significantly contributed to illuminating the development of ancient and cuneiform law.
What connects Bengal and the Indus Valley Civilisation? A 2,500-year-old archaeological site, suffering from neglect might have the answer. A thriving settlement between the 4th century BCE and 12th century CE, Chandraketugarh is often thought to be the kingdom of Gangaridai as referred to by ancient Greek and Roman writers. Apart from its historical significance, Chandraketugarh is of great cultural importance, associated with Bengali poet and astrologer Khana, the daughter-in-law of Varahamihira, the famed astronomer and mathematician who was part of Chandragupta Vikramaditya’s court.
The earliest cookbooks found around the world give people today a fascinating look at not only what the people of the time ate but also their lifestyles, mainly of those from the upper class. The oldest known documented recipes in the world come from the ancient city of Babylon. The Mesopotamian recipe book is the oldest and the first documented cuisine in the world, of which only three Babylonian cuneiform tablets are extant today and is a set of cracked tablets engraved by an early civilization’s version of a master chef going back to 1700 BCE. The recipes are elaborate and often call for rare ingredients. The dishes were slow-cooked in a covered pot to make the food extra tasty. Ancient foodies seem to have preferred fowl and mutton.
Although Shaduppum was established as early as the late third millenium BCE, during the days of Sargon of Akkad, Shaduppum didn’t rise to prominence until the second millennium BCE, where it seems to have been a heavily fortified administrative station for the kingdom of Eshnunna, and its name means “the treasury.” Among the tablets from Shaduppum are two with parts of the Laws of Eshnunna as well as some important mathematical tablets, which are not only interesting, but surprising too. There remains much we don’t know about Shaduppum, that we may never know, but one thing is clear: Shaduppum was a city that had a little bit of everything that made it a Mesopotamian city worth a look.
The city of Babylon, whose ruins are located in present-day Iraq around 100 kilometres south-west of Baghdad, was founded 4000 years ago as a small port town on the river Euphrates. It became a major military power under Hammurabi, who ruled from 1792 to 1750 BCE. We visited the heritage site yesterday. The summer is extremely hot in Iraq with temperature hovering around 50 degrees Celsius and still we went ahead with our plan.
The Warka Vase, a.k.a. the Uruk Vase, a carved alabaster stone vessel, is one of the earliest surviving works of narrative relief sculpture. It was found in the temple complex of the Sumerian goddess Inanna in the ruins of the ancient city of Uruk, located in southern Iraq.
There was a section of the facade of the temple of Inanna at Uruk. A wall of baked bricks with buttresses and recesses. This wall was a section of the front facade the temple of the goddess Inanna in Warka, which was built by Karaindash, the Kassite king (1445-1427 BCE) and replaced the wall of mosaic which decorated the facade of the temple Warka since the Jamdat Nasir period.
Archaeologists have made a first of its kind discovery of a rare couple’s grave — the skeletal remains of a young man and woman, interred with his face turned towards her — has been excavated at the Harappan settlement at Rakhigarhi in Haryana, about 150km from Delhi. Rakhigarhi is the site of a pre-Indus Valley Civilisation settlement going back to about 6500 BCE.