History begins in Mesopotamia

The Louvre museum’s latest exhibition is entitled ‘History begins in Mesopotamia’, and it presents a new panoramic of 3000 years of Mesopotamian history. Dr. Ariane Thomas, curator in charge of Mesopotamian collections at the Near Eastern Antiquities department of the Louvre museum, shares the thoughts that went into making the exhibit.

“The exhibition has enabled a different presentation of the Louvre’s collections, with a deliberately evocative and contextualising scenography supported in particular by models and a wide range of audiovisual and multimedia presentations.”

By Ariane Thomas

The exhibition “History begins in Mesopotamia” presents 3000 years of Mesopotamian history, from the appearance of cuneiform writing in the late 4th millennium B.C. until its abandonment in the first years A.D. While avoiding a Mesopo-centric “origin myth”, this exhibition nevertheless reminds us that – according to current knowledge – a number of fundamental innovations appeared for the first time in this territory now designated “Mesopotamian” but characterised by a number of constants over its 3000 years of history.

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The opening of the Basrah Museum

In September 2016 a major new museum opened in Basrah, in no less a venue than Saddam Hussein’s old Lakeside Palace complex. This moment was the culmination of ten years of hard work. Qahtan al-Abeed, Director of the new Basrah Museum, tells its story from his initial dream, through the difficult journey of finding a building and developing the plan, through to its successful opening, and his ambitions for its future.

By Qahtan al-Abeed

The idea started when I came to Basrah in 2005, the year I got my first job as an employee at the Basrah Antiquities Department. I had spent the previous years in northern Iraq, but I’m originally from Basrah.

When I started, the department was working out of a digging house 15 km south of Basrah, in Al-Zubair, and there was no proper building. I asked them, what about the museum? But they replied that there was no museum: the old one had been looted in 1991, during the first Gulf war, and the building that had been used since as the antiquities office had been lost in the war of 2003. So on my first day, I was really sad: This was Basrah, with its great history, but without any museum at all for 15 years! I began to dream that I could take the opportunity to fix everything.

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Worldwide Exhibits on the Ancient Near East

In this section of the newsletter, we try to provide you with a current listing of interesting exhibits on the Ancient Near East. If you have any additions, please contact us and we’ll place them on the website. Continue reading Worldwide Exhibits on the Ancient Near East