Head Injuries in Ancient Mesopotamia: What do we Really Know?

Posted in: Ancient Near East Today, ASOR
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By: Arkadiusz Sołtysiak

Three millennia of documented history of Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia and Assyria are dominated by the accounts of war, and violence seems to have been present in the everyday life of all Mesopotamians. What do the bodies of ancient Mesopotamians tell us about this violence?

Historical texts from ancient Mesopotamia provide us with endless record of wars, massacres, rebellion, and everyday cruelty. For example, the earliest documents from Girsu (c. 2500-2350 BCE) give the impression that war between the states of Lagash and Umma was permanent. The Stele of the Vultures from the Early Dynastic III period (ca. 2600-2300 BCE) also shows grim details of scavenging of birds on heaps of dead bodies.

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