When many people take the full advantage of a full sunny Sunday for some outdoor activities and eventually a pick nick in the middle of the town, the Foreigner in Berlin went to museum. At the Pergamon museum, a place where I've been less than 6 months ago. This time, I was interested in the temporary exhibition dedicated to the antique city of Uruk.
Apparently I was not the only one who decided to spend some hours at the museum, as there were plenty of people, mostly guided groups of tourists interested in the history of the Middle East.
|The king fighting the lion|
Located in South Mesopotamia - nowadays South of Iraq - Uruk is considered the oldest major city in the world. It started ad a 2,5 sq.km locality and developed further as a 5.3 sq. km. town, a huge accomplishment at the time - 4th century CE. The development imposed certain changes in the social structure and determined at a great extent the development of writing, first as a way to record various merchandises and to organize the daily productive activities - one of the first clay tablets recorded are aimed to keep the record of workers and their shifts. Interesting construction techniques were developed, as for instance the cone facade, partially reconstructed, presented at the exhibition. The city was not rich in natural resources so many of the raw materials were brought from abroad. Thus, it was exposed to interesting cultural and human exchanges that can be noticed in the decorations and some of the jewellery discovered in tombs.
Uruk is considered a legendary town also as directly associated with the adventures of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, but the historians quoted by the organizers of the exhibition
say that there it s not a clear record of Gilgamesh's deeds.
|The special cones technique|
The artefacts presented at the exhibition are the result of 100 intensive years of excavations. Due to the tensed situation in the region from the 1980s, the researches were mostly stopped. After the end of the Saddam dictatorship, the internal fights and social problems continued to affect the researches and extended archaeological programs are impossible. Besides Berlin, the objects exposed were brought from France or from the British Museum in London.
The history of the city is presented either through various digital reconstructions and short movies presenting the progress of the archaeological findings, or through thematic introduction in the daily life of the city. In a simple and organized way, we are introduced to the pantheon of local deities, the social structure, the first traces of the discovery of the writing. You don't have to be a scientist to understand it and the audio guided tour provided for free at the entrance is very helpful in explaining what we see.
If you are not yet interested in the complicated and fascinating history of the region, you might be after this exhibition. In any case, it is a good way to spend your free time in Berlin.