Saturday, April 2, 2011

Just finished.....

....reading "Sumer and the Sumerians"  by Harriet Crawford, a professor at Camebridge University.  It was rather a dull recitation of archaelogical digs in Iraq, where the findings seem to have been sparse because of conditions there.  Sumeria was the ancient civilization that grew up in southern Iraq, one of the earliest known civilizations.  I found that Mosul in the north is the ancient city of Ninevah.  She describes the geography of the region, what is known of craftsmen and trade, language and writing.  Early tokens were used to record business transactions, and as they became more frequent, tokens were drawn on pots and tablets, other designs were drawn which came to signify sounds, and more abstract ideas were then expressed in writing.  The final chapter ties everything together, and she comments how digs became impossible after sanctions were imposed on Iraq and then the two wars.  Archeologists from around the world gave support to Iraqi archaelogists since their ability to connect with outside research was stopped.  Many artifacts were stolen from museums during the wars and though some have been returned many thousands are still missing.

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