Iraq Excavation of 1899 (02:39)
The excavation finds ancient Babylon's gate to the goddess Ishtar and the “Code of Hammurabi." This civilization's contributions to us today include its buildings, art, and intellectual and social systems.
"Land Between Two Rivers" (02:18)
The Tigris River, which flows through Baghdad, the capitol of Irag, and the Euphrates nurture the growth of Mesopotamia. Since the Gulf War life is difficult although ancient customs still thrive.
Ziggurat of Ur (03:23)
This 4,100 year-old sacred site with royal palace and tomb shows evidence of a once prosperous region. Treasures from the region show an extravagant past culture.
Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (05:06)
The Cayonu settlement begins the art of farming by cultivating wild wheat in the Fertile Crescent, now the home to the Kurds. Eventually the inhabitants migrate south, taking along wheat.
Ziggurats of Uruk and Nippur (02:28)
Ruins in the Summerian City-State of Uruk show the cultivation of wheat in ancient times. A map from the Ziggurat of Nippur indicates the change in the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
Junction of the Rivers (03:55)
The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers join in Al Qurnah, creating marsh lands. In ancient times and today reeds are used for building. Canals and irrigation benefit the abundant harvest of wheat and dates.
Canals and Agriculture (02:26)
Village men meet in a reed house, or Madif, to make major decisions, especially about the rivers and agriculture. A water gate made from baked bricks is found in Girsu, now known as Telloh.
Symbols, or cuneiforms, help keep track of the harvest. Cuneiform tablets reveal the Sumerian society, including the invention of farming tools and its rise as a thriving urban civilization.
City of Ur in Sumeria (05:56)
Computer graphics show what the walled city once looked like with its mud brick houses, Ziggurat, and peasant houses along the Euphrates River outside the walls.
"Epic of Gilgamesh" and Queen's Lyre (02:46)
The hero Gilgamesh is revered for being a responsible man but also for living life to the fullest. The lyre, in the shape of a bull to represent fertility, accompanies hymns sung in the temple.
Blue Lapis Stone Trade Route (02:37)
Artifacts contain blue lapis stone which came to Sumeria through the trading of wheat, barley, and textiles over 3,000 years prior to the Silk Road.
Contracts and Laws (02:45)
Cylindrical seals of stone rolled in clay become the first known contracts. People of Sumer develop the concept of law. The Code of Hammurabi codifies the laws and social structure of everyday life.
Flood Plain (04:36)
Sumerians use a water-resistant bitumen substance from Hit on the walls of the Ziggurats to protect themselves from flooding. The Ziggurats serve as shelter during the floods or God's wrath.
Gilgamesh Tames Nature (01:51)
A tale of Gilgamesh shows how the people regarded nature. Gilgamesh kills Humbaba, the evil God of the cedar forest so the people could use the trees and advance civilization.
Standard of Ur (04:38)
This artifact from the height of Sumerian affluence shows merchants, craftsmen, priests, scribes, and musicians enjoying Ur's resources. Lower Mesopotamia street life is shown in a 3-D graphic.
Decline of Sumeria (02:25)
Salt from irrigation damages the wheat crops, the foundation of prosperity, and only barley is harvested. Invasion from enemies cause the weakened Sumer's collapse in 2004 B.C.
Review of Mesopotamia's Survival (02:36)
Focusing on the present, Sumerians use wisdom and technology to enrich their daily lives and thus enriches all subsequent civilization.
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