The Pergamon Museum in Berlin is presently offering visitors a rare glimpse of perhaps the world’s first real metropolis in an exhibit that traces the history of Uruk, in present day Iraq.
Some of the artifacts on display include clay masks of demonic figures, figures of rulers, limestone ducks used as weights, a prism listing the Sumerian Kings and also clay vessels that were once used as water pipes. The exhibit is titled, “Uruk-5,000 Years of the Megacity” reportedly dates back to around the fourth millennium B.C.
For over a century, the sprawling site in the Iraqi desert has been excavated. However, organizers say less than 5% of the site that lies about 160 miles south of Baghdad has not been explored.
Director of Berlin city museums, Michael Eissenhauer stated the exhibition aims to highlight the importance of Uruk, which is, “the first identifiable major city in the history of mankind.” Uruk is believed to have had a city wall about five and a half miles long with an estimated 40,000 inhabitants in the fourth millennium B.C. Uruk is said to have been a place where a “highly developed organizational forms of city life were developed.” With the writings and archives and other items discovered Eissenhauer said, “Uruk is the cradle of a sophisticated economic and administrative system.”
The story of Uruk is recorded in the epic poem of Gilgamesh, which was written on clay tablets in about 2000 B.C. A figurine of Gilgamesh is also featured in the exhibition. The exhibition opens to the public on Thursday April 25th, and will run through until September 8, 2013.