An invaluable introduction to and explanation of the amazing cultures of ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). This area was a centre of civilization and sophisticated culture from the earliest times, profoundly influencing other cultures of the ancient world, and deserves to be as well-known as ancient Egypt or Greece. At the back of the book is a 12-page foldout timeline which can be detached and displayed on a wall or noticeboard, offering an attractive quick visual reference to ancient Mesopotamian history. The timeline begins with the earliest inhabitants of the area between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, who farmed, made pottery and invented a writing system before 3000 BC. It shows the rise and fall of the great empires of the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians and others until the final conquest of the area by Muslim Arabs in AD 637. The 32-page book gives fascinating insights into the history of Mesopotamia, with special sections on writing, the first cities, arts and crafts, building, religion, and learning. The book and timeline are richly illustrated throughout with colour photographs, including numerous objects from the British Museum's collections.
Katharine Wiltshire works in the Education Dept of the British Museum.