* Photo of Sumerian statuette (detail) from Iraq: Tell Asmar,
Square Temple I, Shrine IIEarly Dynastic I-II, ca. 2900-2600 B.C.E.
Shalom provides you with dozens of links and resources from the World Wide Web on Ancient Near Eastern material. Use this site to access educational material, research topics, or even pleasure reading.
NEW!!!!!What did ancient fertility goddesses have to do with the seasons? Why were temple prostitutes so important to the peoples of the ancient Near East? Read about the fertility cults!
NEW!!!!! Since humankind first began to live in cities, war has been an integrated portion of life. How were the ancients any different than us? What weapons did they use? Read about ancient Near Eastern warfare!
Writing is such an integral part of our society that it is often taken for granted. Where did it come from? What was it first used for?
Mesopotamia, the land between the rivers, remains today rich with the history and culture of the past civilizations that bore its name. In its infancy, this fertile crescent would help hunters and gathers transition into a more sedintary style of life. It would witness the development of farming, the wheel, religion, language and the law. It would be here that ancient dynasties would war for control and build some of the first empires. This is Mesopotamia.
The remains of Sumer, the first of these great civilizations to raise cities out of the dust, tell us of fantastic buildings, strange ceremonies, and the complex issues of people crowded together. Out of this people would arise a mythology which scholars say significantly impacted the writings of the Hebrew bible.
It would be Assyria , the mighty empire from northern Mesopotamia, that would eventually descend upon Israel and carry over 200,000 captives back with it. Masters of warfare and home to thousands of gods, these people who lived in such towns as Nineveh, finaly fell to the Babylonians.
Known for the hanging gardens, Hammurabi's law, and towering ziggaruts, Babylon emerged around 2000 BCE as a leading empire in Mesopotamia. Under the leadership of such famous kings as Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon took control of Syria and Palestine, destorying Jerusalem and carried the Jews into exile.
Persia, with is political organization and militarily efficiency, quickly spread its empire throughout the Mesopotamian region and beyond. Through contributions to architecture, ideas, economics, religion, and law, the Persians have had lasting influence on the entire world.
NEW! Just added! Visit the photo gallery for the newly added pictures of Egypt! Everything from the pyramids to the colossal statue of Ramses! Don't miss these original shots!
The Genesis flood narratives have long intrigued scholars and fascinated Christians. Are they based on myth, history or both? What role did the Mesopotamian stories of Gilgamesh influence the accounts of the Hebrew bible? Read an interesting view of this complex piece of ancient literature.
The Israel Archaeological Society is taking volunteers to Israel for an archaeological dig this summer and during the month of December! Visit their web site to find out more!
James A. Michener's The Source starts at an archaeological dig in Northern Israel and from there begins to explore the history of the country from the dawn of civilization and the evolution of a people's faith.
Click here to find out more!
Have you read the latest issue of Archaeology online? Read full-text articles and search their back issues. You may also order a subscription to this publication.
Click here to check it out.
OLDEST KNOWN SYNAGOGUE IN ISRAEL FOUND BY HEBREW UNIVERSITY ARCHAEOLOGICAL TEAM !
The Hebrew University Report of the Find
Resources for Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University and the Semitic Museum of Harvard University
The Near East Collection at Yale University
Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at University of Washington
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at University of Chicago