Category Archives: Video

What archaeologists can do for Iraq

I believe it takes a certain kind of person with a certain kind of passion to be an archaeologist. Just the sheer amount of red tape one must cut through to be able to wield a mere shovel anywhere there’s a government is enough to make most people say “Forget this. I’ll just sate my appetite for archaeology and adventure by watching Indiana Jones movies in my cubicle. (I’ll definitely skip that last one, though.)”

Aside from being cool, archaeology is one of the most important fields for the understanding of ourselves, in the past, the present and the future. Even more than passion, archaeology requires patience from start to finish.

Nowhere do these requirements become more important, however, than when the place you want to dig in is a place ravaged by war and chaos, where the red tape you must cut through is one of impossibility that only time and a changing world can eliminate, and where an entire world of humanity’s beginnings lies under your feet in every direction.

Jane Moon, an archaeologist, and, I’m proud to say, All Mesopotamia fan, pointed me toward this enriching video that introduces the first international dig team to work in southern Iraq in more than 20 years.

As the last American troops were exiting Iraq late last year, international scholars were entering. Professor Elizabeth Stone of Stony Brook University in New York is one such scholar and is leading a team bent on finding a window into the everyday lives of ancient Mesopotamians near where the Great Ziggurrat of Ur stands.

Stone’s team comprises of archaeology students, including an Iraqi PhD student studying under Stone in the United States, and locals, all who are learning new techniques and using the latest technology in excavation. The team sleeps, eats and works just a few yards from the commanding structure of the Ziggurat, racing against time to find artifacts and cataloging them before the season is over. You can hear the passion in all their voices, and see it in their eyes as they talk about this opportunity they’ve been afforded as archaeologists.

More than documenting how the team does what it does, however, I felt the video shows how an interest in the past, combined with involving those whose past it is being explored, can build a brighter and more united future for a country searching for its identity in a sea of different religions and ethnicities, all sharing a pride in the rich past of their land.

I repeat, archaeology is one of the most important fields for the understanding of ourselves, and better yet, the betterment of ourselves, so that we may have better and brighter futures.

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Artifacts, Video


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Aliens in Mesopotamia!

And now, for a little something completely different (and a bit crazy).

I came across a documentary series called “Ancient Aliens” on Netflix Instant, which consists of two seasons and 16 episodes, total. I’ve only watched two episodes from season one so far, and I’m very intrigued.

This investigative series, from 2010, asserts that ancient civilizations, including that of Mesopotamia, had help from extraterrestrial beings, who possessed advanced technologies, including flying saucers and space suits. It sounds crazy, but there are some compelling arguments from scholars, and even non-scholars, who bring their knowledge to the table.

Each episode is a little over an hour and a half long, and although Mesopotamian art is depicted from the beginning, Mesopotamia is not mentioned until about 48 minutes into the second episode, The Visitors.

Mesopotamia’s connection with extraterrestrials is deduced from an ancient Babylonian text found in the Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, in 1849, by British Archaeologist, Sir Austen Henry Layard. Enuma Elish, which dates back to the 7th Century BC, is the Babylonian myth of creation, and tells how the first humans were created by an extraterrestrial race, the Anunnaki.

According to one of the featured scholars in the series, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, publisher of Legendary Times Magazine, as well as consulting producer of the “Ancient Aliens” series, the Anunnaki are described in the text as beings who descended from the sky by way of flying vehicles, and are depicted in Mesopotamian statues and carvings.

An image of an Anunnaki depicted in the second episode of “Ancient Aliens” that accompanied the segment on Mesopotamia’s connection with extraterrestrials. (

“[The Anunnaki] looked like modern-day space travelers with weird suits. Some of them wore wristwatches, they had boots on, and helmets, and above all, wings…” Tsoukalos said.

I’ve long since wondered whether ancient civilizations were aliens, and I have expressed that in this blog, albeit jokingly, but the arguments presented in this series are, to a certain degree, convincing.

Sure, some aspects of these theories left me rolling my eyes, and some actually made perfect sense, so I plan to watch the whole thing over time.

I think we owe it to those who set us up in this world to hear all the possibilities of how they might have done it, and whether it was alone or with the help of “ancient astronauts,” it was an amazing feat.

Are you intrigued? Are you going to watch? What do you think of these theories? Let us know in the comments!


Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Mythology, Science, Video


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“The Mesopotamians”

Since I try to keep things fun around here, even though it doesn’t seem like it at first glance (I wrote about asphalt!), I thought I’d use a fun song to introduce a mini-series of posts that will elaborate on what this song, “The Mesopotamians” by They Might Be Giants, is about…

Actually, I should say I will be elaborating on who this song is about, because the day has come when someone gives a damn!

Sargon, Hammurabi, Ashurbanipal and Gilgamesh had plenty scratched down onto the clay about them in the kingdoms where they not-so-secretly reigned, and I’ve taken it upon myself to relay all the highlights of what was written to you.

To get you started, you can find the song’s lyrics here, and a general (and very enthusiastic) analysis of those lyrics here.

Stay tuned! (And sorry about getting the song stuck in your head. That’s tough.)

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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Music, Video


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A Snippet of a Mesopotamian Invention

There is no denying that Mesopotamia was a land where a lot of big, crucial things to the advancement of mankind took place.

That’s why when I was watching a rerun of The Big Bang Theory one evening, and as the intro song played, curiosity struck me about whether it mentioned anything about the cradle of civilization.

The song is so fast, I thought maybe I was missing something about Mesopotamia, so I looked and listened closely.

The bad news is that there is nothing in the lyrics pertaining to Mesopotamia, just the Egyptian Pyramids. The good news is that in the midst of the flashing images there is one of a Mesopotamian and most crucial invention, a contribution second only in importance to writing: the wheel.

Here is a video of the The Big Bang Theory‘s intro song by the Barenaked Ladies. Can you catch the image of the wheel? (Hint: It’s in the first 12 seconds.)

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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Video


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