What is Mesopotamia?


Hi. My name is Dr Andrew Jamieson. I'm here at the Melbourne Museum to tell you about an exciting exhibition - The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia.

For the past 25 years I've been working on archaeological sites in the Middle East and I'm passionate about archaeology and the civilisations of Mesopotamia.

The word Mesopotamia is of Greek origin meaning “the land between the two rivers". Those rivers being the Tigris and the Euphrates.

Mesopotamia was also referred to as the cradle of civilisation or the Fertile Crescent. It was a very rich, fertile land and as a result we see the emergence of complex societies; the beginnings of civilisation.

So, when we're talking about ancient civilisations, we're talking about approximately 5,000 years ago. We start to see the emergence of the Sumerian civilisation in southern Mesopotamia. This is followed, over the next 2000 years, by the Assyrian and Babylonian civilisations. And over the next several millennia, many significant developments take place in that area. Cultural, political, economic and social developments associated with the cultures of Assyria and Babylonia.

I'm excited about the exhibition because it represents a rare opportunity for audiences in Melbourne to see over 170 rare and priceless artefacts from the British Museum.

Highlights of the exhibition include cuneiform tablets from the Sumerian civilisation from around 3,000 BC. Another highlight in the exhibition is a delicate gold fluted cup from the royal tombs at Ur, excavated by Sir Leonard Woolley. Also represented in the exhibition is a fragment of a plan showing the city of Babylon. It's of great historical and scientific significance.

As part of The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia exhibition there's a series of public lectures and programs that will be held at the Melbourne Museum. I look forward to seeing you here over the coming months.

About this Video

Archaeologist Dr Andrew Jamieson introduces The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia exhibition.
Length: 02:07