The Amorites were an ancient Semitic-speaking people from Syria who occupied large parts of southern Mesopotamia from the 21st century BC to the end of the 17th century BC, where they established several prominent city states in existing locations, notably Babylon, raised from a small town to an independent state and a major city. The term Amurru in Akkadian and Sumerian texts refers to their principal deity; the Amorites are mentioned in the Bible as inhabitants of Canaan both before and after the conquest of the land under Joshua. In the earliest Sumerian sources concerning the Amorites, beginning about 2400 BC, the land of the Amorites is associated not with Mesopotamia but with the lands to the west of the Euphrates, including Canaan and what was to become Syria by the 3rd century BC known as The land of the Amurru, as Aram and Eber-Nari, they appear as an uncivilized and nomadic people in early Mesopotamian writings from Sumer and Assyria connected with the mountainous region now called Jebel Bishri in northern Syria called the "mountain of the Amorites".
The ethnic terms Mar.tu, Amurru and Amor were used for them in Sumerian and Ancient Egyptian respectively. From the 21st century BC triggered by a long major drought starting about 2200 BC, a large-scale migration of Amorite tribes infiltrated southern Mesopotamia, they were one of the instruments of the downfall of the Third Dynasty of Ur, Amorite dynasties not only usurped the long-extant native city-states such as Isin, Larsa and Kish, but established new ones, the most famous of, to become Babylon, although it was a minor insignificant state. Known Amorites wrote in a dialect of Akkadian found on tablets at Mari dating from 1800–1750 BC. Since the language shows northwest Semitic forms and constructions, the Amorite language is a Northwest Semitic language, one of the Canaanite languages; the main sources for the limited knowledge about Amorite are the proper names, not Akkadian in style, that are preserved in such texts. The Akkadian language of the native Semitic states and polities of Mesopotamia, was from the east Semitic, as was the Eblaite of the northern Levant.
In the earliest Sumerian texts, all western lands beyond the Euphrates, including the modern Levant, were known as "the land of the mar.tu". The term appears in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, which describes it in the time of Enmerkar as one of the regions inhabited by speakers of a different language. Another text known as Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird describes how, 50 years into Enmerkar's reign, the Martu people arose in Sumer and Akkad, necessitating the building of a wall to protect Uruk. There are sparse mentions in tablets from the East Semitic-speaking kingdom of Ebla, dating from 2500 BC to the destruction of the city c. 2250 BC: from the perspective of the Eblaites, the Amorites were a rural group living in the narrow basin of the middle and upper Euphrates in northern Syria. For the Akkadian kings of central Mesopotamia Mar.tu was one of the "Four Quarters" surrounding Akkad, along with Subartu/Assyria and Elam. Naram-Sin of Akkad records successful campaigns against them in northern Syria c. 2240 BC, his successor, Shar-Kali-Sharri, followed suit.
By the time of the last days of the Third Dynasty of Ur, the immigrating Amorites had become such a force that kings such as Shu-Sin were obliged to construct a 270-kilometre wall from the Tigris to the Euphrates to hold them off. The Amorites appear as nomadic tribes under chiefs, who forced themselves into lands they needed to graze their herds; some of the Akkadian literature of this era speaks disparagingly of the Amorites and implies that the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speakers of Mesopotamia viewed their nomadic and primitive way of life with disgust and contempt: The MAR. TU who know no grain.... The MAR. TU who know no house nor town, the boors of the mountains.... The MAR. TU who digs up truffles... who does not bend his knees, who eats raw meat, who has no house during his lifetime, not buried after death "They have prepared wheat and gú-nunuz as a confection, but an Amorite will eat it without recognizing what it contains!"As the centralized structure of the Third Dynasty collapsed, the component regions, such as Assyria in the north and the city-states of the south such as Isin and Eshnunna, began to reassert their former independence, the areas in southern Mesopotamia with Amorites were no exception.
Elsewhere, the armies of Elam, in southern Iran, were attacking and weakening the empire, making it vulnerable. Many Amorite chieftains in southern Mesopotamia aggressively took advantage of the failing empire to seize power for themselves. There was not an Amorite invasion of southern Mesopotamia as such, but Amorites ascended to power in many locations during the reign of the last king of the Neo-Sumerian Empire, Ibbi-Sin. Leaders with Amorite names assumed power in various places, usurping native Akkadian rulers, including in Isin and Larsa; the small town of Babylon, unimportant both politically and militarily, was raised to the status of a minor independent city-state, under Sumu-abum in 1894 BC. The Elamites sacked Ur in c. 2004 BC. Some time the Old Assyrian Empire became the most powerful entity in Mesopotamia preceding
Idrimi was the king of Alalakh in the 15th century BC. He was a Hurrianised son of Ilim-Ilimma I the king of Halab, now Aleppo, deposed by the new regional master, Barattarna or Parshatatar, king of the Mitanni, he succeeded in gaining the throne of Alalakh with the assistance of a group known as the Habiru. Idrimi ruled from Alalakh as a vassal to the Mitanni state, he invaded the Hittite territories to the north, resulting in a treaty with the country Kizzuwatna. Idrimi is known from an inscription on a statue found at Alalakh by Leonard Woolley in the 1930s and 1940s, revealing new insights about the history of Syria in the mid-second millennium. All three sources were discovered by British archaeologist Leonard Woolley within the Level IV archives of the Alalakh palace and come from his collection at the British Museum. A rough Akkadian autobiographical inscription on the Statue of Idrimi's base found at Alalakh within a pit of a Level 1 temple at the site of Tell Atchana in northern Syria records Idrimi's vicissitudes.
The first part of the inscription revealed Idrimi's circumstances fleeing from Aleppo. The translated inscription, according to author Amélie Kuhrt, stated: "I am Idrimi, the son of Ilimilimma, servant of Teshub and Shaushga, the lady of Alalakh, my mistress. In Aleppo, in the house of my fathers, a crime had occurred and we fled; the Lords of Emar were descended from the sisters of my mother, so we settled in Emar. My brothers, who were older than me lived with me..." After his family had been forced to flee to Emar, with his mother's people, he realized that he wouldn't wield real power in Emar, saying "...but he, with the people of Emar, is a slave." As a result, He left his family and brothers, took his horse and squire, went into the desert, joined the "Hapiru people" in "Ammija in the land of Canaan", where other refugees from Aleppo ("the people from Halab, people from the land Mukish, people from the land of Nihi, people of the land Amae recognized him as the "son of their overlord" and "gathered around him."
The second part of the inscription revealed major events in Idrimi's life including a campaign in Hurrian territory to reclaim Alalakh. After living among the Habiru for seven years, he led his new friends and Habiru allies in a successful attack by sea on Alalakh, where he became king sometime in 1450 BC; the inscription further stated: "In the seventh year, Teshub turned towards me. As a result, I built ships; the x-soldiers I caused to enter the ships...when my country heard of me, cattle and sheep were brought before me. In a single day... Nihi... Amae...the country of Mukish and Alalah, turned towards me like one man. My brothers came to me. My brothers and I swore mutual alliance. Idrimi built ships and gathered soldiers from Mukish, Amae and Alakah, enough to impress his own brothers to join him in reclaiming Alalakh, he somehow gained the trust of Barattarna who recognized Idrimi's oath of alliance with his brothers and placed himself within the alliance. A final section requested a blessing of the statue from Sharruwa, the statue's scribe, cursed those who would deface his statue.
However, there is a strong danger of using the statue's text as a single historical source. Just like the inscriptions of Ramesses II's poetic prose of the Battle of Kadesh, the statue of Idrimi's text suggested that Idrimi's real campaigns were exaggerated to make himself legitimate. Many scholars studying the inscription have suggested it to be a form of pseudo-history based on "exaggerations" of his campaigns; this tablet was excavated by Leonard Woolley between 1936-1949 at Tell Achtana Alalakh in northern Syria. It dates back to c. 1500–1450 BC. The tablet contained Idrimi's royal seal and revealed an agreement that Idrimi made for the annual dues of gold and sheep to be paid to him or to his successor, his son Niqmepa who used his own father's seal; the seal's inscription read: "Idrimi, servant of the God Adad". The tablet suggested that Idrimi not only wielded absolute power in Alalakh, but it suggested that Idrimi had exercised some independence through his own self-deification; this tablet was excavated at Tell Achtana in northern Syria between 1936-1949 and dates back to c. 1480 BC.
It was a treaty that Idrimi made with another vassal ruler to Pilliya of Kizzuwatna. The treaty was for slave exchanges between Pilliya. In the first part of Idrimi's autobiography on his statue, it is claimed that an incident had occurred in Halab and that he and his family had to flee as a result. Jack M. Sasson of the University of North Carolina speculated that Idrimi didn't claim any relationship to Halab's rulers, he argued that Ilim-Ilimma I, Idrimi's father, was either dethroned or had unsuccessfully attempted to usurp the throne of Halab from an unknown king. Idrimi goes to Emar because of his maternal ancestral connections to the Lords of Emar. While living in Emar, he considered himself as a slave. According to Tremper Longman, lines 8b-9 of the autobiography indicate that Idrimi may have considered retaking his father's lost throne, that he tried to involve his brothers in his cause; as his brothers declined to participate, Idrimi went to Alalakh alone but fled to Ammiya in the land of Canaan.
According to Marc Van de Mieroop, Idrimi was unhappy at Emar for being an "underling". There is no scholarly debate, adequate enough to explain why Idrimi chose t
Sir Charles Leonard Woolley was a British archaeologist best known for his excavations at Ur in Mesopotamia. He is recognized as one of the first "modern" archaeologists, who excavated in a methodical way, keeping careful records, using them to reconstruct ancient life and history. Woolley was knighted in 1935 for his contributions to the discipline of archaeology.. He married the British archaeologist Katharine Woolley. Woolley was the son of a clergyman, was brother to Geoffrey Harold Woolley, VC, George Cathcart Woolley, he was born at 13 Southwold Road, Upper Clapton, in the modern London Borough of Hackney and educated at St John's School and New College, Oxford. He was interested in excavations from a young age. In 1905, Woolley became assistant of the Ashmolean Oxford. Volunteered by Arthur Evans to run the excavations on the Roman site at Corbridge for Francis Haverfield, Woolley began his excavation career there in 1906 admitting in Spadework that "I had never studied archaeological methods from books... and I had not any idea how to make a survey or a ground-plan".
The Corbridge Lion was found under his supervision. Woolley next traveled to Nubia where he worked with David Randall-MacIver on a project for the University of Pennsylvania, they excavated Karanog between 1907 and 1910. In 1912–1914, with T. E. Lawrence as his assistant, he excavated the Hittite city of Carchemish. Lawrence and Woolley were working for British Naval Intelligence and monitoring the construction of Germany's Berlin-to-Baghdad railway. During World War I, with Lawrence, was posted to Cairo, where he met Gertrude Bell, he moved to Alexandria, where he was assigned to work on naval espionage. Turkey captured a ship he was on, held him for two years in a comfortable prisoner-of-war camp, he received the Croix de Guerre from France at the war's end. In the following years, Woolley returned to Carchemish, worked at Amarna in Egypt. Woolley led a joint expedition of the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania to Ur, beginning in 1922, which included his wife, the British archaeologist Katharine Woolley.
There, they made important discoveries, including the Copper Bull. in the course of excavating the royal cemetery and the pair of Ram in a Thicket figurines. Agatha Christie's novel, Murder in Mesopotamia, was inspired by the discovery of the royal tombs. Christie married Woolley's young assistant, Max Mallowan. Ur was the burial site of; the Woolleys discovered tombs of great material wealth, containing large paintings of ancient Sumerian culture at its zenith, along with gold and silver jewellery and other furnishings. The most extravagant tomb was that of "Queen" Pu-Abi. Amazingly enough, Queen Pu-Abi's tomb was untouched by looters. Inside the tomb, many well-preserved items were found, including a cylindrical seal bearing her name in Sumerian, her body was found buried along with those of two attendants, poisoned to continue to serve her after death. Woolley was able to reconstruct Pu-Abi's funeral ceremony from objects found in her tomb. In 1936, after the discoveries at Ur, Woolley was interested in finding ties between the ancient Aegean and Mesopotamian civilisations.
This led him to the Syrian city of Al Mina. From 1937 to 1939, he was in Tell Atchana. Woolley was one of the first archaeologists to propose that the flood described in the Book of Genesis was local after identifying a flood-stratum at Ur: "...400 miles long and 100 miles wide. His archaeological career was interrupted by the United Kingdom's entry into World War II, he became part of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section of the Allied armies. After the war, he returned to Alalakh, where he continued to work from 1946 until 1949. Woolley married Katharine Elizabeth Keeling, born in England to German parents and had been married to Lieut. Col. Bertram Francis Eardley Keeling, he had hired Keeling in 1924 as expedition draughtswoman. Woolley died on 20 February 1960 at age 79. Dead Towns and Living Men. Being Pages From An Antiquary's Notebook, Jonathan Cape, 1920 Ur of the Chaldees, Ernest Benn Limited, 1938 republished by Penguin Books, revised 1950, 1952 The Excavations at Ur and the Hebrew Records, George Allen and Unwin, London, 1929 Digging Up The Past, 1930, based on talks broadcast by the BBC Abraham: Recent Discoveries and Hebrew Origins and Faber London, 1936 Ur: The first phases, Penguin Books Harmondsworth, 1946 A Forgotten Kingdom, Penguin Books, 1953 Spadework: Adventures in Archaeology, 1953 Excavations at Ur: A Record of 12 Years’ Work, 1954 Alalakh, An Account of the Excavations at Tell, Oxford University Press, 1955 History of Mankind, 1963 The Sumerians, 1965 Crawford, Harriet.
Ur: The City of the Moon God. London: Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 978-1-47252-419-5 Winstone, H. V. F.. Woolley of Ur. London: Secker and Warburg; the Ancient Near Eastern World Oxford 2005 Works by Leonard Woolley at Faded Page PBS: "The Rape of Europa." 24 November 2008
The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been sourced during the era of the British Empire, it documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world; the British Museum was established in 1753 based on the collections of the Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It first opened in Montagu House, on the site of the current building, its expansion over the following 250 years was a result of expanding British colonisation and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the Natural History Museum in 1881. In 1973, the British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the British Museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997.
The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport, as with all national museums in the UK it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions. Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Parthenon Marbles. Although today principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities, the British Museum was founded as a "universal museum", its foundations lie in the will of the Irish physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, a London-based doctor and scientist from Ulster. During the course of his lifetime, after he married the widow of a wealthy Jamaican planter, Sloane gathered a large collection of curiosities and, not wishing to see his collection broken up after death, he bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for a sum of £20,000. At that time, Sloane's collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds including some 40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts, extensive natural history specimens including 337 volumes of dried plants and drawings including those by Albrecht Dürer and antiquities from Sudan, Greece, the Ancient Near and Far East and the Americas.
On 7 June 1753, King George II gave his Royal Assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The British Museum Act 1753 added two other libraries to the Sloane collection, namely the Cottonian Library, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dating back to Elizabethan times, the Harleian Library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford, they were joined in 1757 by the "Old Royal Library", now the Royal manuscripts, assembled by various British monarchs. Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving manuscript of Beowulf; the British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king open to the public and aiming to collect everything. Sloane's collection, while including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests; the addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary and antiquarian element and meant that the British Museum now became both National Museum and library.
The body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu House, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace, on the grounds of cost and the unsuitability of its location. With the acquisition of Montagu House, the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. At this time, the largest parts of collection were the library, which took up the majority of the rooms on the ground floor of Montagu House and the natural history objects, which took up an entire wing on the second state storey of the building. In 1763, the trustees of the British Museum, under the influence of Peter Collinson and William Watson, employed the former student of Carl Linnaeus, Daniel Solander to reclassify the natural history collection according to the Linnaean system, thereby making the Museum a public centre of learning accessible to the full range of European natural historians.
In 1823, King George IV gave the King's Library assembled by George III, Parliament gave the right to a copy of every book published in the country, thereby ensuring that the museum's library would expand indefinitely. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several further gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts and David Garrick's library of 1,000 printed plays; the predominance of natural history and manuscripts began to lessen when in 1772 the museum acquired for £8,410 its first significant antiquities in Sir William Hamilton's "first" collection of Greek vases. From 1778, a display of objects from the South Seas brought back from the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook and the travels of other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of unknown lands; the bequest of a collection of books, engraved gems, coins and drawings by Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode in 1800 did much to raise the museum's reputation. The museum's first notable addition towards its collection of antiquities, since its foundation, was by Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples, who sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts to
Hatay Province is a province in southern Turkey, on the eastern Mediterranean coast. The administrative capital is Antakya, the other major city in the province is the port city of İskenderun, it is bordered by Syria to the south and east and the Turkish provinces of Adana and Osmaniye to the north. The province is part of Çukurova, a geographical and cultural region that covers the provinces of Mersin, Adana and Hatay. There are border crossing points with Syria in the district of Yayladağı and at Cilvegözü in the district of Reyhanlı. Sovereignty over the province remains disputed with neighbouring Syria, which claims that the province was separated from itself against the stipulations of the French Mandate of Syria in the years following Syria's independence from the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Although the two countries have remained peaceful in their dispute over the territory, Syria has never formally renounced its claims to it. Settled since the early Bronze Age, Hatay was once part of the Akkadian Empire the Amorite Kingdom of Yamhad an Mitannis a succession of Hittites, the Neo-Hittite "Hattena" people that gave the modern province of Hatay its name the Assyrians and Persians.
The region was the center of the Hellenistic Seleucid empire, home to the four Greek cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. From 64 BC onwards the city of Antioch became an important regional centre of the Roman Empire; the area was conquered by the Rashidun Caliphate in 638 and it came under the control of the Ummayad and Abbasid Arab dynasties. From the 11th century onwards, the region was controlled by the Aleppo-based Hamdanids after a brief rule of Ikhshidids. In 969 the city of Antioch was recaptured by the Byzantine Empire, it was conquered by Philaretos Brachamios, a Byzantine general in 1078. He founded a principality from Antioch to Edessa, it was captured by Suleiman I, Sultan of Rum, in 1084. It passed to Tutush I, Sultan of Aleppo, in 1086. Seljuk rule lasted 14 years until Hatay's capture by the Crusaders in 1098, when it became the centre of the Principality of Antioch. Hatay was captured from the Crusaders by the Mameluks in 1268. By the time it was taken from the Mameluks by the Ottoman Sultan Selim I in 1516, Antakya was a medium-sized town on 2 km² of land between the Orontes River and Mount Habib Neccar.
Under the Ottomans the area was known as the sanjak of Alexandretta. Gertrude Bell in her book Syria The Desert & the Sown published in 1907 wrote extensively about her travels across Syria including Antioch & Alexandretta and she noted the heavy mix between Turks and Arabs in the region at that time. A map published circa 1911 highlighted that the ethnic make up was majority Arab with smaller communities of Armenians and Turks. Many consider. Maps as far back as 1764 confirm this. During the First World War in which the Ottoman Empire was defeated most of Syria was occupied by the British forces, but when the Armistice of Mudros was signed at the end of the war, Hatay was a still part of the Ottoman Empire. After the armistice it was occupied by the British forces an operation, never accepted by the Ottoman side. Like the rest of Syria it was handed to France by the British Empire. After World War I and the Turkish War of Independence, the Ottoman Empire was disbanded and the modern Republic of Turkey was created, Alexandretta was not part of the new republic, it was put within the French mandate of Syria after a signed agreement between the Allies and Turkey, the Treaty of Sèvres, neither ratified by the Ottoman parliament nor by the Turkish National Movement in Ankara.
The subsequent Treaty of Lausanne put Alexandretta within Syria. The document detailing the boundary between Turkey and Syria around 1920 and subsequent years is presented in a report by the Official Geographer of The Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the US Department of State. A French-Turkish treaty of 20 October 1921 rendered the Sanjak of Alexandretta autonomous, remained so from 1921 to 1923. Out of 220,000 inhabitants in 1921, 87,000 were Turks. Along with Turks the population of the Sanjak included: Arabs of various religious denominations. In 1923 Hatay was attached to the State of Aleppo, in 1925 it was directly attached to the French mandate of Syria, still with special administrative status. Despite this, a Turkish community remained in Alexandretta, Mustafa Kemal said that Hatay had been a Turkish homeland for 4,000 years; this was due to the contested nationalist pseudoscientific Sun Language Theory prevalent in the 1930s in Turkey, which presumed that some ancient peoples of Anatolia and the Middle East such as the Sumerians and Hittites, hence the name Hatay, were related to the Turks.
In truth, the Turks first appeared in Anatolia during the 11th century when the Seljuk Turks occupied the eastern province of the Abbasid Empire and captured Baghdad. Resident Arabs organised under the banner of Arabism, in 1930, Zaki al-Arsuzi, a teacher and lawyer from Arsuz on the coast of Alexandretta published a newspaper called'Arabism' in Antioch, shut down by Turkish and French authorities; the 1936 elections returned two MPs favouring the independence of Syria from France, this prompted communal riots as well as passionate articles in the Turkish and Syrian press. This became the subject of a complaint to the League of Nations by the Turkis
Cuneiform or Sumerian cuneiform, one of the earliest systems of writing, was invented by the Sumerians. It is distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets, made by means of a blunt reed for a stylus; the name cuneiform itself means "wedge shaped". Emerging in Sumer in the late fourth millennium BC to convey the Sumerian language, a language isolate, cuneiform writing began as a system of pictograms, stemming from an earlier system of shaped tokens used for accounting. In the third millennium, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract as the number of characters in use grew smaller; the system consists of a combination of consonantal alphabetic and syllabic signs. The original Sumerian script was adapted for the writing of the Semitic Akkadian and Amorite languages, the language isolates Elamite, Hattic and Urartian, as well as Indo-European languages Hittite and Luwian. Cuneiform writing was replaced by the Phoenician alphabet during the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
By the second century AD, the script had become extinct, its last traces being found in Assyria and Babylonia, all knowledge of how to read it was lost until it began to be deciphered in the 19th century. Geoffrey Sampson stated that Egyptian hieroglyphs "came into existence a little after Sumerian script, invented under the influence of the latter", that it is "probable that the general idea of expressing words of a language in writing was brought to Egypt from Sumerian Mesopotamia". There are many instances of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations at the time of the invention of writing, standard reconstructions of the development of writing place the development of the Summerian proto-cuneiform script before the development of Egyptian hierogplyphs, with the suggestion the former influenced the latter. Between half a million and two million cuneiform tablets are estimated to have been excavated in modern times, of which only 30,000–100,000 have been read or published; the British Museum holds the largest collection, followed by the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin, the Louvre, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, the National Museum of Iraq, the Yale Babylonian Collection and Penn Museum.
Most of these have "lain in these collections for a century without being translated, studied or published", as there are only a few hundred qualified cuneiformists in the world. An ancient Mesopotamian poem gives the first known story of the invention of writing: Because the messager's mouth was heavy and he couldn't repeat, the Lord of Kulaba pattes some clay and put words on it, like a tablet; until there had been no putting words on clay. The cuneiform writing system was in use for more than three millennia, through several stages of development, from the 31st century BC down to the second century AD, it was replaced by alphabetic writing in the course of the Roman era, there are no cuneiform systems in current use. It had to be deciphered as a unknown writing system in 19th-century Assyriology. Successful completion of its deciphering is dated to 1857; the cuneiform script was developed from pictographic proto-writing in the late 4th millennium BC, stemming from the near eastern token system used for accounting.
These tokens were in use from the 9th millennium BC and remained in occasional use late in the 2nd millennium BC. It has been suggested that the token shapes were the original basis for some of the Sumerian pictographs. Mesopotamia's "proto-literate" period spans the 35th to 32nd centuries; the first documents unequivocally written in Sumerian date to the 31st century BC at Jemdet Nasr. Pictographs were either drawn on clay tablets in vertical columns with a sharpened reed stylus or incised in stone; this early style lacked the characteristic wedge shape of the strokes. Certain signs to indicate names of gods, cities, birds, etc. are known as determinatives and were the Sumerian signs of the terms in question, added as a guide for the reader. Proper names continued to be written in purely "logographic" fashion; the earliest known Sumerian king whose name appears on contemporary cuneiform tablets is Enmebaragesi of Kish. Surviving records only gradually become less fragmentary and more complete for the following reigns, but by the end of the pre-Sargonic period, it had become standard practice for each major city-state to date documents by year-names commemorating the exploits of its lugal.
From about 2900 BC, many pictographs began to lose their original function, a given sign could have various meanings depending on context. The sign inventory was reduced from some 1,500 signs to some 600 signs, writing became phonological. Determinative signs were re-introduced to avoid ambiguity. Cuneiform writing proper thus arises from the more primitive system of pictographs at about that time. In the mid-3rd millennium BC, the direction of writing was changed to left-to-right in horizontal rows and a new wedge-tipped stylus was introduced, pushed into the clay, producing wedge-shaped signs. By adjusting the relative position of the tablet to the stylus, the writer could use a single tool to make a variety of impressions. Cuneiform tablets could be fired in kilns to bake them hard, so provide a permanent record, or they could be left moist and recycled, if permanence was not needed. Man
Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines. Archaeologists study human prehistory and history, from the development of the first stone tools at Lomekwi in East Africa 3.3 million years ago up until recent decades. Archaeology is distinct from palaeontology, the study of fossil remains, it is important for learning about prehistoric societies, for whom there may be no written records to study. Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from the Paleolithic until the advent of literacy in societies across the world. Archaeology has various goals, which range from understanding culture history to reconstructing past lifeways to documenting and explaining changes in human societies through time.
The discipline involves surveying and analysis of data collected to learn more about the past. In broad scope, archaeology relies on cross-disciplinary research, it draws upon anthropology, art history, ethnology, geology, literary history, semiology, textual criticism, information sciences, statistics, paleography, paleontology and paleobotany. Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, has since become a discipline practiced across the world. Archaeology has been used by nation-states to create particular visions of the past. Since its early development, various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed, including maritime archaeology, feminist archaeology and archaeoastronomy, numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation. Nonetheless, archaeologists face many problems, such as dealing with pseudoarchaeology, the looting of artifacts, a lack of public interest, opposition to the excavation of human remains.
The science of archaeology grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied history with particular attention to ancient artifacts and manuscripts, as well as historical sites. Antiquarianism focused on the empirical evidence that existed for the understanding of the past, encapsulated in the motto of the 18th-century antiquary, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts not theory". Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a science took place during the Enlightenment era in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In Europe, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-Roman civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late Middle Age. Flavio Biondo, an Italian Renaissance humanist historian, created a systematic guide to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome in the early 15th century, for which he has been called an early founder of archaeology. Antiquarians of the 16th century, including John Leland and William Camden, conducted surveys of the English countryside, drawing and interpreting the monuments that they encountered.
One of the first sites to undergo archaeological excavation was Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments in England. John Aubrey was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England, he was ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. He attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture and shield-shapes. Excavations were carried out by the Spanish military engineer Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre in the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both of, covered by ash during the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79; these excavations began in 1748 in Pompeii, while in Herculaneum they began in 1738. The discovery of entire towns, complete with utensils and human shapes, as well the unearthing of frescos, had a big impact throughout Europe. However, prior to the development of modern techniques, excavations tended to be haphazard; the father of archaeological excavation was William Cunnington. He undertook excavations in Wiltshire from around 1798.
Cunnington made meticulous recordings of Neolithic and Bronze Age barrows, the terms he used to categorize and describe them are still used by archaeologists today. One of the major achievements of 19th-century archaeology was the development of stratigraphy; the idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods was borrowed from the new geological and paleontological work of scholars like William Smith, James Hutton and Charles Lyell. The application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and Bronze Age sites. In the third and fourth decades of the 19th-century, archaeologists like Jacques Boucher de Perthes and Christian Jürgensen Thomsen began to put the artifacts they had found in chronological order. A major figure in the development of archaeology into a rigorous science was the army officer and ethnologist, Augustus Pitt Rivers, who began excavations on his land in England in the 1880s, his approach was methodical by the standards of the time, he is regarded as the first scientific archaeologist.
He arranged his artifacts by type or "typologically, within types by date or "chronologically"