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Wonders of Mesopotamia unveiled in Australia

by e-Travel Blackboard: N.J. May 04, 2012.

Posted: Sunday, May 06, 2012 at 05:37 AM UT

Statue of King Ashurnasirpal II
Statue of King Ashurnasirpal II.
Jewellery set of cylinder and stamp seals
Jewellery set of cylinder and stamp seals.
Glazed ceramic jar
Glazed ceramic jar.

Off the back of the record breaking Tutankhamun exhibition last year, Melbourne Museum has unveiled the secrets and ‘rich’ history of Assyria, Sumer and Babylon with its new Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamiashowcase.

Launched today and running through to 7 October this year, the exhibition covers the past times, innovation and invention of the ancient civilisation inhabiting the land known to the Greeks and Western civilisation as Mesopotamia but to the populace as ‘Beth Nahrain’ - the ‘Land of the Rivers’.

Through an array of artefacts discovered during the mid nineteenth and twentieth century the display will showcase the Assyrian, Sumer and Babylonian people’s influence on modern civilisation from the invention of writing, 60-second minute and systems of law and government.

Operating under the themes of palaces and royal power, religious beliefs and rituals, burial practises and royal tombs and the myths and legends surrounding ancient Mesopotamia, Melbourne Victoria chief executive Dr Patrick Greene described the objects as the region’s “forgotten wonders”.

“Mesopotamia played an extraordinary role in the development of human civilisation,” Dr Greene said.

“The art and literature, reliefs and ritual objects recovered from the region provide a remarkable record of how great knowledge has been passed from the ancient to the modern world.

“The excavation of the ancient cities of Ur, Nineveh and Nimrud were rivalled in significance only by the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.”

Wonders of Mesopotamia ticket holder and Australian university student with an Assyrian background, Sarah Givargiz told e-Travel Blackboard she was among other Australian Assyrians keen to see their ancestors’ influence and heritage showcased to the Australian public.

I often get asked ‘what’s Assyrian’ or ‘where is your country’,” Ms Givargiz said.
In high school we’re shown and taught about Egypt and Greece but finally we get to see Mesopotamia and especially the Assyrians recognised for their contributions to modern civilisation.

I've always wanted to know more about my own cultural heritage and to see these artefacts is truly going to be a heart-felt and proud experience for me.

The exhibition holds up to 170 artefacts from the Mesopotamian culture and region which occupies what is now modern Iraq, north east Syria, and south east Turkey.

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