Anthropology 3969/5969-5 (26816; 26818); 396-5 | Mid.E 3743-01 (26424) 

 University of Utah - Spring Semester 2007
 Dr. Ewa Wasilewska

Instructor:  Dr. Ewa Wasilewska
Office hours:  By appointment only; please call the Department of Anthropology (581-6251) and leave your name, phone number, and class number. email:
Time:  Each Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location:  Campus LS 107
Important dates:  January 17, 07 last day to drop classes
January 22, 07 last day to add classes
January 22, 07 last day to elect CR/NC option or to audit classes
March 2, 07 last day to withdraw from term length classes
Required Texts: Marc Van De Mieroop: A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 B.C. Blackwell Publishing. 2005. (MM)

Dominique Collon: Ancient Near Eastern Art. University of California Press: Berkeley. 1995. (DC)

Martha T. Roth: Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. Scholars Press. 1997.  (MR)

The above books can be purchased at the University of Utah Bookstore.
The above books will also be available at the Reserve Desk at Marriott Library.

Optional Texts: Ewa Wasilewska: Cuneiform Cultures of the Biblical World. Notes.  2007. (EW)

Notes can be purchased during the first three class meetings from an instructor. 

Ewa Wasilewska: Creation Stories of the Middle East. Jessica Kingsley Publishers: 2000. (EWB)

Subject: This course is an introduction to archaeology, religion, history, art, architecture, and other aspects of the cultural mosaic of the cuneiform cultures of the ancient Middle East. It focuses on ancient Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria-Palestine, and Persia with references to Egypt whenever appropriate. It covers the period directly preceding the invention of writing in southern Mesopotamia (the second half of the fourth millennium B.C.) until the Hellenistic period, beginning with the conquest/liberation of the Middle East by Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C.

Throughout the semester special focus will be paid to theoretical and methodological issues involved in interpreting ancient Middle Eastern records. Among problems to be discussed are chronology of the Middle East, the interpretation of written records and main characteristics of archaeological artifacts, which facilitate the process of proper identification of cultural groups and interpretation of behavioral patterns.

During the semester numerous references will be made to ancient cultures outside of the Middle Eastern realm, which were in contact with Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria-Palestine, and Persia. Depending on the amount of accessible and identifiable sources, such regions as the Aegean world, the Central Asian and Siberian nomadic cultures, the Indus Valley and, whenever possible China, will be mentioned when relevant.

Students should realize that this course is very important for their overall education since many concepts and achievements developed in the ancient Middle East have had enormous impact on the development of Western and other civilizations. 


The final grade will be based on three or four exams. Exams will consist of different sections (including essay questions) especially designed for the type of material, which will be covered during class meetings.  In order to pass these exams it is necessary to attend lectures and to read the required material. Since the amount of information to which students will be exposed is significant, three or four extra review sessions are planned after the last session before each exam, after the regular class period. The most important information, names, terms, definitions, etc., can be found in the notes prepared by the instructor in order to structure the learning process in the most effective way. At the end of the semester each student will be required to write a ca. 5 page essay on the topic that he or she found the most interesting with regard to the influence of ancient Mesopotamian, Anatolian, Pre-Biblical Levantine or Persian civilizations on modern cultures.


In addition to the requirements listed above, graduate students are required to write a research paper of ca. 20 pages (plus bibliography). Each topic must be discussed with the instructor first and at the end of the semester each graduate student will be asked to present a brief summary of his or her research to the class. 


Week # 1 - January 9, 2007

Terminology. Time and Space. Discoveries of forgotten civilizations.

Readings for Week 1: 

EW:  H. # 1
MM: Introductory Concerns. Pp. 1-16.
DC:  Introduction. Pp. 7-40.



Week # 2 - January 16, 2007

Ancient Sumer and Akkad: Formation of the city-states and their development.

Readings for Week 2:

EW:  H. # 2
MM: Pp. 17-69 (from Week 2 up till Week 5)
DC: Pp. 41-55



Week # 3 - January 23, 2007

Ancient Sumer and Akkad: Development and 
use of writing. 

Readings for Week 3: 

EW: H. # 3
MM: Pp. 17-69 (from Week 2 up till Week 5)




Week # 4 - January 30, 2007

Ancient Sumer and Akkad: Art and Architecture 
of the 3rd mill. B.C.

Readings for Week 4:

EW: H. # 4
DC: pp. 56-89



Week # 5 - February 6, 2007

Ancient Sumer and Akkad: Religion and Law.

Readings for Week 5 & 6:

EW: H. #5 & 6
MR: Laws of the Third Millennium B.C.




Week # 6 - February 13, 2007

EXAM!!! ..........  


Week # 7 - February 20, 2007

New People, New Empires: Territorial States 
of the Early 2nd mill. B.C. 

Readings for Week 7:

EW: H. # 7
MM: Pp. 80-118



Week # 8 - February 27, 2007

New People, New Religions: Political, Economic, Social, and Cultural Interactions Among the 
Powers of the 2nd mill. B.C.  Part 1. 

Readings for Week 8 & 9:

EW: H. # 8 & 9
MM: Pp. 119-189
MR: laws of the 2nd mill. B.C.



Week # 9 - March 6, 2007

New People, New Religions: Political, Economic, Social, and Cultural Interactions Among the 
Powers of the 2nd mill. B.C. Part 2.

Week # 10 - March 13, 2007

The 2nd mill. B.C.: Art and Architecture.

Readings for Week 10 & 11:

EW: H. # 10 & 11
DC: 90-127

Review !!!


Week # 11 - March 20, 2007

SPRING BREAK!!! ..........  


Week # 12 - March 27, 2007

EXAM !!! ..........  


Week # 13 - April 3, 2007

The Middle East at the Beginning of the First Millennium B.C. 

Readings for Week 13:

EW: H. # 13
MM: Pp. 195-231



Week # 14 - April 10, 2007

The Rise and Fall of the Assyrian Empire.
The Rise and Fall of the Persian Empire.

Readings for Week 14 & 15:

EW: H. # 14 
MM: Pp. 232-280
MR: Assyrian Laws.
MR: Neo-Babylonian Laws.




Week # 15 - April 17, 2007

The 1st mill. B.C.: Art and Architecture.

Readings for Week 15:

EW: H. # 15
DC: Pp. 128-187


Week # 16 - April 24, 2007

Odds and Ends.

Review !!!


Week # 17 - May 1, 2007

EXAM !!!

Last day to turn in your final essay and/or research papers. 

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