National Geographic : 2003 Jul
CREAT pHI URES OF OUR CA UNIVERSE LOST WORLD? Agallery of priceless artifacts from the Iraq Museum inBaghdad Mosque door DATE:12th century A.D. Adorned with floral and geometric designs, a rare two-panel door from a mosque in the city of Mosul was crafted 500 years after Islam took root in Iraq. STATUS:Stolen Statue of Sumerian worshiper DATE:circa 2600 B.C. This stone statue was placed in a temple to pray perpetually for the life of the donor. Religion and ritual per formed a fundamental role in the lives of early Mesopotamians. STATUS:Unknown LYNNABERCROMBIE Cuneiform calendar from Nlmrud DATE:circa 850 B.C. Written almost 2,500 years after Sumerians created cuneiform the world's first writing -this small tablet listed daily instruc tions for the seventh month of the year. Example: Avoid eating garlic on the second day or risk a death in the family. STATUS:Unknown Warka head DATE: circa 3000 B.C. One of the most re fined pieces of early sculpture, this life-size marble head of a woman originally had a headdress and eyes and eyebrows of inlaid stone. It was possibly part of a statue of Inana, Sumerian goddess of love and war. STATUS:Stolen Bassetkl statue DATE:circa 2250 s.c. An inscription on the base of the 350 pound cast-copper monument proclaims the military victories of an Akkadian king. Though only the bot tom half of the male figure was intact when discovered, it was prized for its realism. Such statues were commonly depicted in artwork from the time, but this was the only example discov ered so far. STATUS:Stolen Gold bull headed lyre DATE:circa 2500 B.C . An exquisite example of the lyre-an instru ment invented by the Sumerians around 3200 B.c. - from the royal cemetery of Ur.The gold-covered bull's head was at tached to a sound box decorated with colored stones and bits of shell. STATUS:Gold torn off Shanidar skull DATE:circa 50,000 years old Skeletons from Shani dar Cave are the only Neandertal fossils found to date in south west Asia east of the Jordan River.This skull belonged to a male who suffered severe injuries yet lived to the relatively old age of 45-evidence of social behavior: To survive he must have been cared for by members of his group. STATUS:Unknown Boat model DATE:circa 4500 B.c . Found in an Ubaid grave at a site called Eridu, a baked clay model of a boat (its wood mast is restored) is the best preserved example of early water transport in Mesopotamia. STATUS:Unknown GIANNIDAGLIORTI,CORBIS Warka vase DATE:circa 3000 B.C . One of the earliest depictions of the hierarchy of the world as understood by the Mesopotamians: plants, animals, hu mans, and gods.The alabaster vase was a valuable commodity in its time. STATUS:Stolen SIALA/AnI nKSUUIn, N1 Lions of Tell Harmal DATE:circa 1800 B.c . Two large, snarling lions in terra-cotta guarded the entrance to a temple. ToMeso potamians they were fearful symbols of gods and kings. STATUS:Heads smashed LYNNABERCRMB Lioness killing a iLYNNABERCR E Nublan shepherd Little king DATE:late eighth DATE:circa 3000 B.C. century B.C . With inlaid eyes of Made of ivory; color shell and lapis lazuli, was added with inlays wa, tde ,it , ,a mts nnely carved ala baster figure stands just seven inches tall. Found beneath a temple in the ancient city of Uruk (today's Warka), it was likely a portrait of En, the city's ruler. STATUS:Unknown LYNNABERCROMBIE Stone statue of a Sumerian scribe DATE:circa 2400 s.c. This high official of the city of Girsu may have established a system of weights and mea sures. Stone blocks roughly equivalent to 24 ounces have been found inscribed with his name. STATUS:Unknown of gold, carnelian, and lapis lazuli. STATUS:Unknown LYNNABERCROMBIE Lizard-faced terra-cotta figurine DATE:circa 4000 B.c. This curious effigy of a human male is characteristic of the Ubaid culture. Male and female figurines with lizard-like faces have been found in graves and temples at Ur and Eridu. STATUS:Unknown -C lemens Reichel, Marisa J.Larson, and JeanneE. Peters Artifact status accu rate at press time. For updates on the status of artifacts and links to other sites and resources about Iraq's heritage-go to national geographic.com/ngm/0307.