Standard of Ur Mosaic

The Standard of Ur mosaic, from the royal tombs of Ur

No one knows where they came from. They produced the world’s first great civilization, yet they vanished from the annals of history for more than 3,000 years. Although they were conquered by foreign invaders, their language and literature survived for centuries. We call them Sumerians, and the land where they lived, a region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Sumer. In the following articles, BAR gives its readers a glimpse of Sumerian culture, including a selection of photographs of the remarkable artifacts excavated in the royal tombs of Ur.