Ancient Iraq: Third Edition by Georges Roux

By Georges Roux

Newly revised and containing info from fresh excavations and stumbled on artifacts, Ancient Iraq covers the political, cultural, and socio-economic background from Mesopotamia days of prehistory to the Christian period.

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Several areas are treated in the same way and may or may not join together. Whenever desirable, digging is pushed in depth underneath the uppermost and consequently more recent buildings, which are destroyed in order to bring older buildings to light. In one or more points a shaft or ‘test-pit’ may be sunk down to the virgin soil, giving a cross-section of the mound, a summary as it were of its various occupation levels. Some parts of the site remain, of necessity, untouched, but this is of little importance if the main monuments such as temples and palaces and a selection of private houses have been unearthed.

Stone tools from Iraqi Kurdistan. 2. Typical buildings and objects from the Hassuna, Halaf and Ubaid periods. 3. Examples of decorated pottery from the Neolithic to Jemat Nasr period. 4. Diagrammatic section through the archaic levels of Uruk. 5. Cylinder-seals from the Uruk period. 6. Cuneiform signs through the ages. 7. Investiture of Zimri-Lim as King of Mari by the goddess Ishtar. 8. The world as seen by the Sumerians. 9. The oval temple of Khafaje. 10. The ‘helmet’ of Meskalamdug, King of Ur.

These materials were already being imported from abroad in proto-historical times, thus enabling a Chalcolithic culture to develop in a country conspicuous for the absence of metal. Copper was first discovered, it is generally believed, in north-western Iran or in the Caucasus, and was perhaps originally obtained from Azerbaijan or Armenia. Soon, however, were found alternative sources of supplies, such as Anatolia (which later produced iron), Cyprus and the country called in cuneiform texts Magan, which has tentatively been identified with the mountainous part of Oman.

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