The Topic:

Easier - Mesopotamia is the Greek word meaning "land between the rivers." Ancient civilization developed in this area because of the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers. The land was fertile, the nearby rivers provided water, and settled farming was practiced. These early farming communities grew to became independent city states. In addition to developing the first plows and irrigation canals, Mesopotamia developed the first form of writing, mathematics, astronomy, and complex architecture. Mesopotamians were probably the first peoples to use the wheel.
Harder - Mesopotamia, called the "cradle of civilization", was the site of early river valley settlement. Conditions in the area led to people constructing permanent communities, practicing sustained farming methods, and evolving from a hunter-gatherer society into agriculture communities. Housing evolved into walled cities. Similar river valley civilizations soon followed in the Indus and Nile River regions. Today Mesopotamia is part of Iraq. This river-valley region was the site of a series of city-state kingdoms including Sumer, Babylon, and Assyria, that thrived from about 5,000 B.C. to 500 B.C.
Fertile Crescent from Mr. Dowling
As early civilization began to develop, people began to settle in areas of abundant physical resources. Such a location was in the Middle East.
Related Websites:
2) Ancient Mesopotamia by M. Snyder
3) Ancient Mesopotamia
4) Explore the Land of Ur from Maricopa College, Arizona
5) Mesopotamia (Links-site) by N.B. Mautz
7) Mesopotamia A Place to Start
8) Mesopotamian History
9) Sumeria and Mesopotamia
Hammurabi's Code of Laws translated by L. W. King
Although Hammurabi was a successful military leader and administrator, he is primarily remembered for his codification of the laws governing Babylonian life
Similar Websites:
2) Code of Hammurabi, c.1780 BCE from Ancient History Sourcebook
3) Code of Hammurabi from Avalon Project, Yale Law School
4) Hammurabi and His Code
5) Hammurabi's Code of Laws
Mesopotamia by R. Dawson
The purpose of the site, published for the British History National Curriculum, is to be a resource for primary school teachers choosing to teach a unit on ancient Mesopotamia.
Near East from Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University
Have you ever heard the ancient Near East called "The Cradle of Civilization?" What does that mean?
Other Online Museum Sites for Mesopotamia:
2) Ancient Mesopotamia: Royal Tombs of Ur from University of Pennsylvania Museum
of Archaeology and Anthropology
3) Fertile Cresent from Mankoto E-Museum, Minnesota State University
4) Highlights of the Collections by Region from Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
5) Mesopotamia from Detroit Institute of Arts
6) Mesopotamia from The British Museum
7) Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur from McClung Museum
After visiting several of the websites related to Mesopotamia, complete one or more of the following projects:
Write in Cuneiform Pictographs. Use the Ugaritic Cuneiform Translator (Requires Java Applet Download) and Write Like a Babylonian to transform your name or a message into Cuneiform symbols. Afterwards, you may also want to use the Cuneiform Calculator to complete mathematical processes.
Complete A Mesopotamia WebQuest. Follow or adapt the procedures found at one of the following webQuest sites:
1) Exploring Mesopotamia by J. Weinshel
2) Mesopotamia Or Bust!! (Grade 7) by. A. Mosdell
Make A Poster that Illustrates the Inventions/Innovations in Mesopotamia. After exploring the resources on Mesopotamia found at the websites and the library media center, decide what major contributions were made by ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia. Create an original poster that shows those innovations and improvements. Another good activity is to create a model that illustrates a specific technological achievement. Display your project.
Create An Ancient Mesopotamia Journal. Pretend that you are living in ancient Mesopotamia. Imagine what your daily life would have been. Describe your 'pretend' life in a series of journal entries. Decide if you want to cover all the days in a week or less frequent stories over a longer time frame.
Was there a Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Use the online resources and your library to investigate what is known and believed about this 'wonder of the ancient world.' Then decide if you think the gardens did exist. What evidence has been found? Could this have been a myth or story that was told and repeated until it was believed to be real? You decide, then present your ideas in a position paper, debate presentation, or multimedia presentation. Explain your views and back them up with as much evidence that you find. Explain where the facts end and conjecture begin. What do you believe?
Illustrate the Causes and Effects of Cultural and Technological Changes in Mesopotamia. To get the idea for this project, first visit a 'beginning' concept map at Innerconnections Illustrating the the Nature of Sumer. Expand this idea to encompass other changes and innovations and their causes and effects. The example at the website was created using the Inspiration software package.
Identify the Positive and Negative Aspects of Mesopotamian Civilization. The 'cradle of civilization' was not necessarily all 'sunshine and roses.' Identify the major components of their civilization. Then identify both the positive and negative aspects of those developments.
Websites By Kids For Kids
Ancient Mesopotamia (Grade 6) William Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, PA
This project on Mesopotamia includes gods and writing in Mesopotamia, clothing and pottery, geography of the region, government and law, inventions, and social organization.
Ancient Mesopotamia (Grade 4) Spring Street School, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
This is another student project site on Mesopotamia.
Ancient Sumer History
This website contains historical information, an online quiz, links, and more.
Light of People Cultures: Mesopotamia (2001 ThinkQuest Project)
This informative site contains information, activities, links and more on Mesopotamia.
Mesopotamia from Urbana Middle School, an Illinois Museum In the Classroom Project
This site shows several student projects related to the study of the the daily life and inventions of ancient Mesopotamia.
Mesopotamians (A section of Time and Time Again, a 2000 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
The site shows the growth of civilizations in Mesopotamia.
More Websites on Mesopotamia
About Cuneiform Writing. . . from University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and
Sumerians created cuneiform script over 5000 years ago. It was the world's first written language.
Related Websites:
2) Cuneiform
3) Cuneiform Numbers
4) Cuneiform Tablet
5) Cuneiform Writing
6) Dubsar, the Cuneiform Scribe Welcomes You to Ancient Nippur
7) First Known Writer of World Literature
Accessing Women's Lives in Mesopotamia from Women In World History Curriculum
This site provides excerpts gleaned from Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets and artifacts that explore these aspects of women's lives.
Learn about early Akkadian history and culture from 2340 to 2125 BC.
Related Websites:
2) Akkadians
3) Curse of Akkad
4) Legend of Sargon of Akkadê, c. 2300 BCE
5) Sargon of Akkad
6) Sargon's Eighth Campaign by A. Garia
Babylonia from the Catholic Encyclopedia
This site provides a detailed account of Babylonia including the early history and first and second empires plus Babylonian religion, civilization, and literature.
Related Websites:
2) Babylon from DiscoverySchool
3) Babylon
4) Babylon
5) Babylonia
6) Writing on the Wall: The Fall of Babylon
Brief History of Assyrians by P. BetBasoo
Here you can read a summary of the Assyrian culture.
Related Websites:
2) Assyra from
3) Assyria from the Catholic Encyclopedia
4) Assyria from DiscoverySchool
5) Assyrian Treasures from the City of Kalhu (Nimrud)
6) Assyrians
7) Assyrians
8) End of Assyrian Empire
After the fall of Assyrian power in Mesopotamia, the last great group of Semitic peoples dominated the area.
Related Websites:
2) Chaldean Empire
3) Chaldeans
4) Chaldeans
5) Introduction (to Chaldeans)
Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fall from Annenberg/CPB
Here you find supporting materials to a televised series which tries to explain the sudden decline of at least one major ancient Mesopotamian city.
Collection of Contracts from Mesopotamia, c. 2300 - 428 BCE
Here are a number of contracts from: G.A. Barton, "Contracts" in Assyrian and Babylonian Literature: Selected Transactions, Harper (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1904).
Related Websites:
2) Code of the Assura, c. 1075 BCE
3) Ethics of Sumer, Babylon, and Hittites by S. Beck
4) Laws of Ancient Society
Copper in Ancient Times: The Sumerians and Chaldeans
Copper probably first came into use as the earliest non-precious metal employed by the Sumerians and Chaldeans of Mesopotamia, after they had established their thriving cities of Sumer and Accad, Ur, al'Ubaid and others, somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago.
Early Civilizations and the Emergence of Pastoral Peoples, 4000-1000 BCE
This website summarizes the importance of Mesopotamian civilization in the history of our world.
Related Articles:
2) Ancient Civilizations
3) Rise of Civilizations and Empires in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley
Fertile Crescent and the Eastern Aegean by B. Clardy
Thousands upon thousands of artifacts have been found. However in relative terms, very little is known about the art from this primitive bronze age civilization.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon from Museum of Unnatural Mystery
Some stories indicate the Hanging Gardens towered hundreds of feet into the air, but archaeological explorations indicate a more modest, but still impressive, height.
Related Websites:
2) Hanging Gardens of Babylon
3) Hanging Gardens of Babylon
4) Hanging Gardens of Babylon
History of Plumbing - Babylonia
Learn about the location where water management evolved into irrigation dams, drains and basins, and personal bathrooms for their era's rich and famous.
Map of Mesopotamia from Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
Here you find a map of ancient Mesopotamia.
Another Map Site:
2) Map of Sumer and The Akkadian Empire
Medicine in Ancient Mesopotamia by N. Demand, Indiana University Bloomington
A few of the cuneiform tablets that have survived from ancient Mesopotamia provide an understanding of their medical knowledge.
Mesopotamia from the Encyclopaedia of the Orient
This article and timeline summarizes the main civilizations of Mesopotamia. There are also links to several other related articles.
Tour the mysteries of this foundational civilization: it's life, it's words, it's gods, and it's writing; browse through the dust and heat of one of first cultures to inscribe for the future the story of its existence. This website was designed as resource for a college-level course.
Other College Websites:
2) Ancient Western Asia and the Civilization of Mesopotamia (Lecture Summary) by S.
2) Mespopotamia (Lecture Summary)
Mesopotamia 9000 - 500 B.C
Here is a timeline of Mesopotamian history.
Similar Website:
2) Mesopotamian Timeline
Mesopotamiam Landscapes
This brief page contains photos and description of Mesopotamia today.
Mesopotamian Mathematics
The purpose of this page is to provide a source of information on all aspects of Mesopotamian mathematics.
Related Websites:
2) Babylonian Mathematics
3) Babylonian Months
4) Counting in Babylon by M. Fowler, University of Virginia
5) First Mathematicians
6) Sumerian Metrological Numeration Systems
Royal Game of Ur by C. Soubeyrand from The Game Cabinet
Learn about the most ancient board game known. It was very popular among the Sumerian rulers and spread from Sumer to sites throughout the ancient world from India to the Mediterranean.
Spiritual Systems of Mesopotamia
Much of the information for this site is based in an old Babylonian document called "Enuma Elish," or "The Babylonian Genesis."
Related Websites:
2) Assyro-Babylonian Mythology FAQ by C. Siren
3) Sumerian Gods and Goddesses
4) Sumerian Mythology FAQ by C. Siren
Storytelling, the Meaning of Life, and The Epic of Gilgamesh by A.A. Brown
Gilgamesh is one of the oldest recorded stories in the world. It's about an ancient King of Uruk who may have actually existed and whose name - Gilgamesh - is on the Sumerian King List.
Related Websites:
2) Epic of Gilgamesh: An Outline with Bibliography and Links
3) Gilgamesh
4) Gilgamesh Summary
5) Gilgamesh Study Guide by D. Thompson
6) Proverbs from Ki-en-gir (Sumer), c. 2000 BCE
Sumer from DiscoverySchool
This article summarizes the world's first civilization that began about 3500 B.C. and flourished until about 2000 B.C.
Related websites:
2) History of Ancient Sumeria
3) History of Sumer
4) Sumeria: The History
5) Sumerian
6) Sumerians
This site helps you understand what these ancient buildings looked like and how they were constructed.
Related Website:
2) Ziggurat
Websites For Teachers
Ancient Mesopotamia by D. Donn (Grade 6)
Here is a unit plan for studying the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia.
Related Webpage by D. Donn:
2) Ancient Mesopotamia (Activities)
Ancient Mesopotamia from P. Brians
Here is a map that can printed out for classroom use.
Celebrations from Social Studies School Service
This activity has students planning a celebration that honors the marriage of a Sumerian king.
Other Lesson Plans from the Social Studies School Service:
2) Akbar's Dilemma
Close-up Look at Mesopotamian and Sumerian Inventions by E. Stone
As a final project, the students researched Mesopotamian inventions on the Internet, and wrote scripts advertising these inventions.
Gilgamesh the Hero
In this writing assignment, the student examines a summary of Gilgamesh. Their job is to come up with a Mesopotamian definition of a hero--and by extension a human being--using both aspects of the concept.
You Be the Judge of Hammurabi's Code (Grades 4-8) by P. Martin from © Ed's Oasis
Students decide upon the same situations faced by Hammurabi of ancient Mesopotamia when he established his laws. Then, they write a letter to the editor of the Babylonian Times newspaper stating their opinion of his decrees.
Related Lesson Plans:
2) Hammurabi and His Law Code (Mini-play) from the Social Studies School Service
3) Understanding Primary Sources: Hammurabi's Code of Laws from Houghton Mifflin
Tigris River
natural resources
walled city
Ancient Africa
hunter gatherer
Code of Hammurabi
clay tablet
stone carving
Hanging Gardens
city state
Ancient China
gods & goddesses
clay token
barter system
canal system
Seven Wonders of Ancient World
cylinder seal
Bronze Age
Ancient Rome
Cradle of Civilization
'Land of Ur'
Euphrates River
'Fertile Cresent'
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 11/01