Monuments

The ancient Mesopotamians were among the first people in the world to create historical monuments whose purpose was to endure into the distant future.  Monuments were conceived of as things meant to be present for all time. These works were made of various materials and forms, including free-standing steles or slabs of sculpted and inscribed stones, relief sculptures carved on the cliffs of the mountainsides and magnificent works of architecture. Their monumental buildings were both religious and secular in nature. The ancient Mesopotamians also had a literature that praised these works as remarkable and astonishing things that future generations could admire. In the ancient texts, future generations are also asked specifically to preserve these works.  Architecture and sculpture, ruins in the landscape and carvings in the mountains are all aspects of the rich historical landscape of this region that are documented by the Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments project.

The monuments presented here include a range of works from ancient Mesopotamia to the early twentieth century A.D. Early Christian, Islamic, and Ottoman architecture was often influenced by and borrowed from the ancient surroundings.

This is a small selection from the Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments project. The full archive is accessible through the catalogue.