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Mesopotamian Art and Architecture The arts and buildings of the ancient Middle Eastern civilizations developed in the area now Iraq between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers from prehistory to the 6th century BC Their art reflects both their love and fear of natural forces as well as their military conquests The soil of Mesopotamia yielded the civilizations major building material mud brick This clay also was used by the Mesopotamians for their pottery terra-cotta sculpture and writing tablets Few wooden artifacts have been preserved Stone was rare and certain types had to be imported basalt sandstone diorite and alabaster were used for sculpture Metals such as bronze copper gold and silver as well as shells and precious stones were used for sculptures and inlays The art of Mesopotamia includes a mix from people who differed ethnicly and linguistically Each of these groups made its own contribution to art until the Persian conquest of the 6th century BC The first dominant people to control the region and shape its art were the non-Semitic Sumerians followed by the Semitic Akkadians Babylonians and Assyrians The earliest architectural and artistic remains known to date come from northern Mesopotamia from the proto-Neolithic site of Qermez Dere in the foothills of the Jebel Sinjar Levels dating to the 9th millennium BC have revealed round sunken huts outfitted with one or two plastered pillars with stone cores When the buildings were abandoned human skulls were placed on the floors indicating some sort of ritual Artifacts from the late Uruk and Jamdat Nasr periods also about 3500-2900 BC have been found at several sites but the major site was the city of Uruk The major building from level five at Uruk about 3500 BC is the Limestone Temple its superstructure is not preserved but limestone slabs on a layer of stamped earth show that it was niched and monumental in size measuring 250 x 99ft Some
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