Golden Lyre of Ur | Mesopotamia

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. Continue reading Golden Lyre of Ur | Mesopotamia

Gold Helmet of Meskalamdug | Mesopotamia

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. Continue reading Gold Helmet of Meskalamdug | Mesopotamia

Mundeshwari Mandir | Oldest Hindu Temple in India

The Mundeshwari Temple is located at Ramgarh village of Bhagwanpur block in Kaimur district in the Indian state of Bihar on the Mundeshwari Hills. It is an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and Shakti. It is believed that rituals and worship have been performed here without a break, hence the Mundeshwari temple is considered as the oldest functional Hindu temple of India. The temple is an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected monument since 1915. Continue reading Mundeshwari Mandir | Oldest Hindu Temple in India

Chandraketugarh | A Lost Civilization

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. Continue reading Chandraketugarh | A Lost Civilization

The Great Ziggurat of Ur | Mesopotamia

Ziggurats were built by ancient Sumerians, Akkadians, Elamites, Eblaites and Babylonians for local religions. Each ziggurat was part of a temple complex that included other buildings. The precursors of the ziggurat were raised platforms that date from the Ubaid period during the sixth millennium BCE. The Ziggurat at Ur and the temple on its top were built around 2100 BCE by the king Ur-Nammu of the Third Dynasty of Ur for the moon goddess Nanna, the divine patron of the city state. Continue reading The Great Ziggurat of Ur | Mesopotamia

Oldest Cookbook from Ancient Mesopotamia

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. Continue reading Oldest Cookbook from Ancient Mesopotamia

Ancient City Shaduppum | Mesopotamia

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. Continue reading Ancient City Shaduppum | Mesopotamia

Ancient Temple of Ninmakh | Mesopotamia

Located in the fabled ancient city of Babylon, adjacent to the Processional Way and the iconic Ishtar Gate, the Ninmakh Temple was rebuilt several times during the reigns of Esarhaddon, Assurbanipal, and Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BCE. Ninmakh is the Sumerian Mother Goddess and one of the oldest and most important in the Mesopotamian Pantheon. She is principally a fertility goddess. Ninmakh subsumed the characteristics of similar deities like Ki (earth) and others, and was later herself subsumed by the fertility goddess Inanna/Ishtar. Continue reading Ancient Temple of Ninmakh | Mesopotamia

Ancient City of Babylon | Mesopotamia

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. Continue reading Ancient City of Babylon | Mesopotamia