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Weather Omens of Enūma Anu Enlil

Thunderstorms, Wind and Rain (Tablets 44–49)


Erlend Gehlken

The Assyro-Babylonian omen series Enūma Anu Enlil, written on seventy cuneiform tablets, bears witness to the early understanding of the mutual interactions of heaven and earth on both the physical and the religious levels. To facilitate accessibility, technical and linguistic commentaries as well as an excerpt series were compiled by the scholars of old. This ancient knowledge, which was still largely characterized by mythological concepts, was never completely abandoned, not even when the ‘calculating’ astronomy became prevalent in the first millennium B.C. The series deals in four parts with the moon, the sun, weather phenomena, and fixed stars and planets. This book offers an edition of the texts of the second half of the weather section with the accompanying material.

Death Rituals, Ideology, and the Development of Early Mesopotamian Kingship

Toward a New Understanding of Iraq's Royal Cemetery of Ur


Andrew C. Cohen

At the beginning of Mesopotamia’s Early Dynastic period, the political landscape was dominated by temple administrators, but by the end of the period, rulers whose titles we translate as “king” assumed control. This book argues that the ritual process of mourning, burying, and venerating dead elites contributed to this change. Part one introduces the rationale for seeing rituals as a means of giving material form to ideology and, hence, structuring overall power relations. Part two presents archaeological and textual evidence for the death rituals. Part three interprets symbolic objects found in the Royal Cemetery of Ur, showing they reflect ideological doctrines promoting the office of kingship. This book will be particularly useful for scholars of Mesopotamian archaeology and history.

Epipaleolithic Subsistence Strategies in the Levant

A Zooarchaeological Perspective


Guy Bar-Oz

Knowledge of the Levantine Epipaleolithic period plays a critical role in understanding the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer foraging groups to sedentary communities on the threshold of agriculture. In this study, Bar-Oz has clarified many aspects of the relationship between Epipaleolithic foragers and their prey. The Epipaleolithic foragers all utilized similar hunting methods, as evidenced by culling patterns they used for gazelle and fallow deer. Multivariate inter-site zooarchaeological and taphonomic research from a single geographical area and ecological setting (the coastal plain of Israel) provides important records of the Epipaleolithic cultural sequence. A wide variety of data highlights uniform patterns of cultural and economic behaviors related to food procurement and processing strategies and demonstrates cultural continuity in subsistence strategies within the Levantine Epipaleolithic sequence.