The wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia lecture series

Playlist

Details and Transcripts

Edge of Empire: Archaeology on the Assyrian Frontier

Dr Andrew Jamieson | 20 September 2012

Discover the archaeological wonders of Tell Ahmar, a Neo Assyrian colony on the edge of the empire.

For over a decade archaeologists from the University of Melbourne have been excavating the Neo Assyrian site at Tell Ahmar on the east bank of the Euphrates

Shalmaneser III conquered the town in 856 BCE and transformed it into an Assyrian royal city. Many features of this outpost are dominated by Assyrian traditions – town planning, defences, palace architecture, sculpture, and other luxury artefacts reflect strong cultural influences from the Assyrian heartland

This lecture will examine the Neo Assyrian colony of Tell Ahmar, located on the edge of the empire, and the archaeology of the Assyrian frontier.

Speaker

Dr Andrew Jamieson is a lecturer and curator of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Melbourne. His research interests include the archaeology of the ancient Near East and Egypt and he specialises in the study of ancient ceramics and archaeological artefact collections.

This lecture was proudly supported by the University of Melbourne, University Partner

The destruction of heritage in Iraq since 2003

 Dr Benjamin Isakhan | 6 September 2012

Dr Benjamin Isakhan explored the fate of material in Iraq in the past nine years.

Since the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces in 2003, Iraq has endured an extraordinary period of destruction of cultural heritage.

This has included the attack on the Iraq National Museum in the very earliest days of the war. Since then, Iraq’s Mesopotamian heritage has also been systematically smuggled out of the country while coalition forces have converted key sites such as the ancient city of Babylon into modern military bases.

This lecture will examine the recent fate of Iraq’s Mesopotamian heritage and discusses the urgent need for appropriate management and protection.

Speaker 

Dr Benjamin Isakhan is Australian Research Council Discovery (DECRA) Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalization, Deakin University. He has published widely on the politics and history of Iraq and his current research includes the ARC-funded project ‘Measuring the Destruction of Heritage and Spikes of Violence in Iraq’.

This lecture was proudly supported by the University of Melbourne, University Partner

First Empires: Sumer, Assyria and Babylon

Dr Andrew Jamieson | 30 August 2012

Share in the unearthing of archaeological discoveries from the world’s first Mesopotamian empires.

The foundations of western civilisation were established by ancient societies which developed and evolved in Mesopotamia. It was here, in a land through which the Tigris and Euphrates rivers flowed, that some of the world’s first great empires flourished.

In what is now known as north east Syria and south east Turkey, experiments were made in agriculture and irrigation, writing was invented, cities and complex society emerged and art, literature, science and mathematics developed.

This lecture will look at the Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian empires and the archaeological discoveries associated with these great Mesopotamian civilisations.

Speaker

Dr Andrew Jamieson is a lecturer and curator of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Melbourne. His research interests include the archaeology of the ancient Near East and Egypt and he specialises in the study of ancient ceramics and archaeological artefact collections.

This lecture was proudly supported by the University of Melbourne, University Partner

The Politics of Ancient Mesopotamia: Prelude to Democracy?

Dr Benjamin Isakhan | 23 August 2012

Conventional wisdom asserts that the empires of ancient Mesopotamia were ruled by blood-thirsty tyrants with a penchant for megalomania and a lust for power.

However, archaeological work conducted during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has begun to unearth a more sophisticated political landscape. Many of the empires of ancient Mesopotamia can be seen to have practised forms of governance remarkably similar to the democratic systems employed by the Greeks many centuries later.

This lecture will examine the democratic tendencies of various Mesopotamian empires and trace their influence on later Grecian developments.

Speaker

Dr Benjamin Isakhan is Australian Research Council Discovery (DECRA) Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalization, Deakin University. He has published widely on the politics and history of Iraq and his current research includes the ARC-funded project ‘Measuring the Destruction of Heritage and Spikes of Violence in Iraq’.

This lecture was proudly supported by the University of Melbourne, University Partner

Ancient Assyrian: Palaces Power and Propaganda

Colin Hope | 19 July 2012

The empires of the Assyrian and the Babylonians dominated the Near East during the first half of the first millennium BCE. The palaces erected by the rulers at such sites at Nimrud, Nineveh and Babylon were amongst the most spectacular structures in the region, lined with elaborately-carved and painted reliefs and inlaid tiles, and entrances protected by huge winged bulls.

These structures displayed the might of empire and were intended to fill the viewer, both local and foreign, with fear of the ruler. But they are also the source of thousands of inscribed clay tablets that reveal major cultural achievements that have influenced the development of western culture.

This talk will focus upon the use of monumental art to carry messages of power and propaganda, and outline the cultural achievements of their builders.

Speaker

Colin Hope is an Associate Professor at Monash University and Director of its Centre for Archaeology & Ancient History. He has participated extensively in archaeological fieldwork around the Middle East, in Jordan, Syria and the Sinai, as well as throughout Egypt. He has for many years also lectured on the cultural evolution of ancient Iraq and her impact upon the region.

This lecture was proudly supported by the University of Melbourne, University Partner

The Sumerians and the Death Pits of Ur

Colin Hope | 19 July 2012

The Sumerians developed a distinctive culture in the southernmost part of Iraq. During the Early Dynastic Period (circa 3000-2300 BCE) their influence extended into Syria and Iran.

By the Early Dynastic III period, high-ranking members of the society were buried in elaborate tombs with an astonishing array of highly-crafted and valuable goods. Leonard Woolley's discovery of the Great Death Pits at Ur during the 1920s and 1930s was one of the most controversial of the time because of the inclusion of sacrificial retainers or servants.

Speaker

Colin Hope is an Associate Professor at Monash University and Director of its Centre for Archaeology & Ancient History. He has participated extensively in archaeological fieldwork around the Middle East, in Jordan, Syria and the Sinai, as well as throughout Egypt and has for many years lectured on the cultural evolution of ancient Iraq and its impact upon the region.

This lecture was proudly supported by the University of Melbourne, University Partner

How did writing begin?

Tony Sagona | 10 May 2012

It’s hard to conceive of a world without writing now that it is pivotal to our daily existence. Yet the earliest known system of writing is only about 5,500 years old. The first true writing dates from Mesopotamia around 3,500 BC, where it played a crucial role in the development of the first cities and states, and the development of civilisation.

Speaker

Antonio (Tony) Sagona is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Melbourne. He has carried out fieldwork in Turkey, the Caucasus, Syria and Australia, and is published widely, primarily on the history and civilisations of the ancient Near East.

This lecture was proudly supported by the University of Melbourne, University Partner

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