Roasting small chunks of meat is a process dating back to antiquity. Evidence of hominin use of fire and cooking in the Middle East dates back as far as 790,000 years. In the end, it doesn’t really matter who invented kebab. What matters is that fire has touched meat, that the meat is good, and the company is even better.
Winged genie is the conventional term for a recurring motif in the iconography of Assyrian sculpture. Winged genii are usually bearded male figures sporting birds’ wings. The genie symbolised both protection and fertility — its role was to safeguard and replenish the ancient kingdom of Assyria.
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.
The Ajanta Caves are 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 CE in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India. The first Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta date from the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE. During the Gupta period (5th and 6th centuries CE), many more richly decorated caves were added to the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a considerable artistic influence. The caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
The Iraq Museum is one of the best archaeological museums in the world, containing the material evidence for the development of civilised human society from the very beginning of its history. The museum enshrines Iraq as the cradle of civilisation, the source of writing and statehood. Their collection covers over 5,000 years of Mesopotamian history.
The Lamassu is a celestial being from ancient Mesopotamian religion bearing the head of a man, the wings of an eagle, and the hulking body of a bull, sometimes with the horns and the ears of a bull. The Lamassu combines the strength of a bull, the freedom of an eagle, and the intelligence of a human being.
Masgouf is one of the most popular Iraqi dishes – traditionally cooked on the shores of the river Tigris, a seasoned butterflied carp cooked next to an open fire. Originating in the basin of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, grilled fish has been around since the Babylonian times. It’s one of those unique, exotic foods you just have to try in Baghdad.
The origin of the symbol zero has long been one of the world’s greatest mathematical mysteries. New carbon dating research commissioned by the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries into the ancient Indian Bakhshali manuscript, held at the Bodleian, has revealed it to be hundreds of years older than initially thought, making it the world’s oldest recorded origin of the zero symbol that we use today.