Ancient Near East

Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (in modern day Iraq), is often referred to as the cradle of civilization because it is the first place where complex urban centers grew. The history of Mesopotamia, however, is inextricably tied to the greater region, which is comprised of the modern nations of Egypt, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, the Gulf states and Turkey. We often refer to this region as the Near or Middle East.







These records tell us a great deal about the ancient world, with topics ranging from receipts to school assignments.

Cuneiform Tablets


















Ziggurat of Ur, c. 2100 B.C.E. mud brick and baked brick, Tell el-Mukayyar, Iraq (largely reconstructed)
The great Ziggurat of Ur has been reconstructed twice, in antiquity and in the 1980s—what’s left of the original?

Ziggurat of Ur