Sumer

The Blau Monuments combine proto-cuneiform characters and illustrations of early Sumerians, Jemdet Nasr period, 3100–2700 BC. British Museum.
Enthroned Sumerian king of Ur, possibly Ur-Pabilsag, with attendants. Standard of Ur, c. 2600 BC.
Portrait of a Sumerian prisoner on a victory stele of Sargon of Akkad, c. 2300 BC. The hairstyle of the prisoners (curly hair on top and short hair on the sides) is characteristic of Sumerians, as also seen on the Standard of Ur. Louvre Museum.
Pottery jar from Late Ubaid Period
Golden helmet of Meskalamdug, possible founder of the First Dynasty of Ur, 26th century BC.
Stele of the Vultures; c. 2450 BC; limestone; found in 1881 by Édouard de Sarzec in Girsu (now Tell Telloh, Iraq); Louvre
Sumerian prisoners on a victory stele of the Akkadian king Sargon, c. 2300 BC. Louvre Museum.
Gudea of Lagash, the Sumerian ruler who was famous for his numerous portrait sculptures that have been recovered.
Portrait of Ur-Ningirsu, son of Gudea, c. 2100 BC. Louvre Museum.
Great Ziggurat of Ur, c. 2100 BC, near Nasiriyah, Iraq
A reconstruction in the British Museum of headgear and necklaces worn by the women at the Royal Cemetery at Ur.
Tablet with pictographic pre-cuneiform writing; late 4th millennium BC; limestone; height: 4.5 cm, width: 4.3 cm, depth: 2.4 cm; Louvre
Standard reconstruction of the development of writing, showing Sumerian cuneiform at the origin of many writing systems.
Akkadian cylinder seal from sometime around 2300 BC or thereabouts depicting the deities Inanna, Utu, Enki, and Isimud
Sumero-early Akkadian pantheon
From the royal tombs of Ur, made of lapis lazuli and shell, shows peacetime
An account of barley rations issued monthly to adults and children written in cuneiform script on a clay tablet, written in year 4 of King Urukagina, c. 2350 BC
Gold dagger from Sumerian tomb PG 580, Royal Cemetery at Ur.
The Great Ziggurat of Ur (Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq), built during the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2100 BC), dedicated to the moon god Nanna
Bill of sale of a male slave and a building in Shuruppak, Sumerian tablet, c. 2600 BC
The etched carnelian beads with white designs in this necklace from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, dating to the First Dynasty of Ur, are thought to have come from the Indus Valley. British Museum.
The trade routes between Mesopotamia and the Indus would have been significantly shorter due to lower sea levels in the 3rd millennium BC.
Early chariots on the Standard of Ur, c. 2600 BC
Phalanx battle formations led by Sumerian king Eannatum, on a fragment of the Stele of the Vultures
Silver model of a boat, tomb PG 789, Royal Cemetery of Ur, 2600–2500 BC
Map of Sumer
Early writing tablet for recording the allocation of beer; 3100–3000 BC; height: 9.4 cm; width: 6.87 cm; from Iraq; British Museum (London)
Cuneiform tablet about administrative account with entries concerning malt and barley groats; 3100–2900 BC; clay; 6.8 x 4.5 x 1.6 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Bill of sale of a field and house, from Shuruppak; c. 2600 BC; height: 8.5 cm, width: 8.5 cm, depth: 2 cm; Louvre
Cylinder seal and impression in which appears a ritual scene before a temple façade; 3500–3100 BC; bituminous limestone; height: 4.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Ram in a Thicket; 2600–2400 BC; gold, copper, shell, lapis lazuli and limestone; height: 45.7 cm; from the Royal Cemetery at Ur (Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq); British Museum (London)
Standard of Ur; 2600–2400 BC; shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli on wood; length: 49.5 cm; from the Royal Cemetery at Ur; British Museum
Bull's head ornament from a lyre; 2600–2350 BC; bronze inlaid with shell and lapis lazuli; height: 13.3 cm, width: 10.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art

Earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia , emerging during the Chalcolithic and early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of the first civilizations in the world, along with ancient Egypt, Elam, the Caral-Supe civilization, the Indus Valley Civilisation, the Minoan civilization, and ancient China.

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Elam

Ancient civilization centered in the far west and southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq.

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Timeline of Elam.
Kneeling Bull with Vessel. Kneeling bull holding a spouted vessel, Proto-Elamite period, (3100–2900 BC)
Proto-Elamite (Susa III) cylinder seal, 3150–2800 BC. Louvre Museum, reference Sb 6166
Polities during the Old Elamite period, and northern tribes of the Lullubi, Simurrum and Hurti.
Silver cup with linear-Elamite inscription on it. Late 3rd millennium BC. National Museum of Iran.
Orant figure, Susa IV, 2700–2340 BC.
Seal impression of King Ebarat, founder of the Sukkalmah Dynasty (also called Epartid Dynasty after his name). Louvre Museum, reference Sb 6225. King Ebarat appears enthroned. The inscription reads "Ebarat the King. Kuk Kalla, son of Kuk-Sharum, servant of Shilhaha".
An ornate design on this limestone ritual vat from the Middle Elamite period depicts creatures with the heads of goats and the tails of fish (1500–1110 BC).
Stele of Untash Napirisha, king of Anshan and Susa. Sandstone, ca. 1340–1300 BC.
The Chogha Zanbil ziggurat site, built circa 1250 BC.
Elamite archer fighting against the Neo-Assyrian troops of Ashurbanipal, and protecting wounded king Teumman (kneeling), at the Battle of Ulai, 653 BC.
Ashurbanipal's campaign against Elam is triumphantly recorded in this relief showing the sack of Hamanu in 647 BC. Here, flames rise from the city as Assyrian soldiers topple it with pickaxes and crowbars and carry off the spoils.
Relief of a woman being fanned by an attendant while she holds what may be a spinning device before a table with a bowl containing a whole fish (700–550 BC).
Elamite soldier in the Achaemenid army circa 470 BC, Xerxes I tomb relief.
ššina, one of the last kings of Elam circa 522 BC was toppled, enchained and killed by Darius the Great. The label over him says: "This is ššina. He lied, saying "I am king of Elam.""
Golden statuette of a man (probably a king) carrying a goat. Susa, Iran, c. 1500–1200 BC (Middle Elamite period).
Cylinder seal and modern impression- worshiper before a seated ruler or deity; seated female under a grape arbor MET DP370181
Statue of Napirasu
A carved chlorite vase decorated with a relief depicting a "two-horned" figure wrestling with serpent goddesses. The Elamite artifact was discovered by Iran's border police in the possession of historical heritage traffickers, en route to Turkey, and was confiscated. Style is determined to be from "Jiroft".
Indus round seal with impression. Elongated buffalo with Harappan symbol imported to Susa in 2600–1700 BC. Found in the tell of the Susa acropolis. Louvre Museum, reference Sb 5614<ref>{{cite web |title=Site officiel du musée du Louvre |url=http://cartelfr.louvre.fr/cartelfr/visite?srv=car_not_frame&idNotice=13556|website=cartelfr.louvre.fr}}</ref>
Indian carnelian beads with white design, etched in white with an acid, imported to Susa in 2600–1700 BC. Found in the tell of the Susa acropolis. Louvre Museum, reference Sb 17751.<ref>{{cite web |title=Site officiel du musée du Louvre |url=http://cartelfr.louvre.fr/cartelfr/visite?srv=car_not_frame&idNotice=13589 |website=cartelfr.louvre.fr}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Guimet |first1=Musée |title=Les Cités oubliées de l'Indus: Archéologie du Pakistan |date=2016 |publisher=FeniXX réédition numérique |isbn=9782402052467 |pages=354–355 |url=https://books.google.com/books?id=-HpYDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA354 |language=fr}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |title=Art of the first cities : the third millennium BC from the Mediterranean to the Indus. |page=395 |url=https://archive.org/details/ArtOfTheFirstCitiesTheThirdMillenniumB.C.FromTheMediterraneanToTheIndusEditedByJ }}</ref> These beads are identical with beads found in the Indus Civilization site of Dholavira.<ref>{{cite book |last1=Nandagopal |first1=Prabhakar |title=Decorated Carnelian Beads from the Indus Civilization Site of Dholavira (Great Rann of Kachchha, Gujarat) |publisher=Archaeopress Publishing Ltd |isbn=978-1-78491-917-7 |url=https://www.academia.edu/37860117 |year=2018 }}</ref>
Indus bracelet made of Fasciolaria Trapezium or Turbinella pyrum imported to Susa in 2600–1700 BC. Found in the tell of the Susa acropolis. Louvre Museum, reference Sb 14473.<ref>{{cite web |title=Louvre Museum Official Website |url=http://cartelen.louvre.fr/cartelen/visite?srv=car_not&idNotice=13532 |website=cartelen.louvre.fr}}</ref> This type of bracelet was manufactured in Mohenjo-daro, Lothal and Balakot.<ref name="FeniXX réédition numérique"/> It is engraved with a chevron design which is characteristic of all shell bangles of the Indus Valley, visible here.<ref>{{cite book |title=Art of the first cities : the third millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. |page=398 |url=https://archive.org/details/ArtOfTheFirstCitiesTheThirdMillenniumB.C.FromTheMediterraneanToTheIndusEditedByJ }}</ref>
Indus Valley Civilization weight in veined jasper, excavated in Susa in a 12th-century BC princely tomb. Louvre Museum Sb 17774.<ref>{{cite book |title=Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus |date=2003 |publisher=Metropolitan Museum of Art |isbn=9781588390431 |pages=401–402 |url=https://archive.org/details/artoffirstcities0000unse |url-access=registration }}</ref>
A 4.5 inch long lapis lazuli dove is studded with gold pegs. Dated 1200 BC from Susa, a city later on shared with the Achaemenids.
Elamite reliefs at Eshkaft-e Salman. The picture of a woman with dignity shows the importance of women in the Elamite era.{{Opinion|date=October 2019}}

The emergence of written records from around 3000 BC also parallels Sumerian history, where slightly earlier records have been found.

Akkadian Empire

Bronze head of an Akkadian ruler, discovered in Nineveh in 1931, presumably depicting either Sargon or, more probably, Sargon's grandson Naram-Sin. Reproduction in the Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim, the original from the Iraq Museum having been lost in the 2003 lootings.
Akkad before expansion (in green). The territory of Sumer under its last king Lugal-Zage-Si appears in orange. Circa 2350 BC
Bronze head of an Akkadian ruler, discovered in Nineveh in 1931, presumably depicting either Sargon or, more probably, Sargon's grandson Naram-Sin. Reproduction in the Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim, the original from the Iraq Museum having been lost in the 2003 lootings.
Sargon on his victory stele, with a royal hair bun, holding a mace and wearing a flounced royal coat on his left shoulder with a large belt (left), followed by an attendant holding a royal umbrella. The name of Sargon in cuneiform ("King Sargon") appears faintly in front of his face. Louvre Museum.
Akkadian official in the retinue of Sargon of Akkad, holding an axe
Prisoners escorted by a soldier, on a victory stele of Sargon of Akkad, circa 2300 BC. The hairstyle of the prisoners (curly hair on top and short hair on the sides) is characteristic of Sumerians, as also seen on the Standard of Ur. Louvre Museum.
Akkadian soldiers slaying enemies, circa 2300 BC, possibly from a Victory Stele of Rimush.
Portrait of Naram-Sin, with inscription in his name.
Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, celebrating victory against the Lullubi from Zagros 2260 BC. He is wearing a horned helmet, a symbol of divinity, and is also portrayed in a larger scale in comparison to others to emphasize his superiority. Brought back from Sippar to Susa as war prize in the 12th century BC.
Seal of Lugal-ushumgal as vassal of Naram-sin
The Gutians capturing a Babylonian city, as the Akkadians are making a stand outside of their city. 19th century illustration.
"Cylinder Seal with King or God and Vanquished Lion" (Old Akkadian). The Walters Art Museum.
Impression of a cylinder seal of the time of Akkadian King Sharkalisharri (c.2200 BC), with central inscription: "The Divine Sharkalisharri Prince of Akkad, Ibni-Sharrum the Scribe his servant". The long-horned buffalo is thought to have come from the Indus Valley, and testifies to exchanges with Meluhha (the Indus Valley civilization) in a case of Indus-Mesopotamia relations. Circa 2217–2193 BC. Louvre Museum.
Akkadian Empire soldiers on the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, circa 2250 BC
Cylinder seal of the scribe Kalki, showing Prince Ubil-Eshtar, probable brother of Sargon, with dignitaries (an archer in front, the scribe holding a tablet following the Prince, and two dignitaries with weapons).
Sea shell of a murex bearing the name of Rimush, king of Kish, c. 2270 BC, Louvre, traded from the Mediterranean coast where it was used by Canaanites to make a purple dye.
Location of foreign lands for the Mesopotamians, including Elam, Magan, Dilmun, Marhashi and Meluhha.
Tablet in Akkadian language recording domestic animals, Bismaya, reign of Shar-kali-sharri, c. 2100 BC, clay – Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago
Enheduanna, daughter of Sargon of Akkad, circa 2300 BC
Goddess Ishtar on an Akkadian seal, 2350–2150 BC
Life-size Bassetki Statue from the reign of Naram-Sin of Akkad with an inscription mentioning the construction of a temple in Akkad. National Museum of Iraq
The Bassetki statue, another example of Akkadian artistic realism
The Manishtushu statue
Statue of an Akkadian ruler. From Assur, Iraq, c. 2300 BC. Pergamon Museum.
Fragment of the statue of a devotee, with inscription in the name of Naram-Sin: "To the god Erra, for the life of Naram-Sin, the powerful, his companion, the king of the four regions, Shu'astakkal, the scribe, the majordomo, has dedicated his statue".<ref>{{cite web |title=Site officiel du musée du Louvre |url=http://cartelfr.louvre.fr/cartelfr/visite?srv=car_not&idNotice=12209 |website=cartelfr.louvre.fr}}</ref>
thumb|upright=1.8|Inscription "Adda, the scribe", hunting god with bow and an arrow, Ishtar with weapons rising from her shoulders, emerging sun-god Shamash, Zu bird of destiny, water god Ea with bull between legs, two-faced attendant god Usimu with right hand raised.<ref>{{cite web |title=The Adda Seal |url=https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=368706&partId=1&searchText=89115&page=1 |website=British Museum}}</ref>
Akkadian seal depicting an agricultural scene. Louvre Museum
Summer God and Dumuzi. Louvre Museum
Ea wrestling with a water buffalo, and bull-man Enkidu fighting with a lion.

The Akkadian Empire was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer.

Bronze Age

Historic period, approximately 3300 BC to 1200 BC, that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas writing, and other early features of urban civilization.

One of the Alaca Höyük bronze standards from a pre-Hittite tomb dating to the third millennium BC, from the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara
Diffusion of metallurgy in Europe and Asia Minor—the darkest areas are the oldest.
Hittite bronze tablet from Çorum-Boğazköy dating from 1235 BC, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara
Bronze mirror with a female human figure at the base, Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt (1540–1296 BC)
Sphinx-lion of Thutmose III 1479–1425 BC
Late 3rd Millennium BC silver cup from Marvdasht, Fars, with linear-Elamite inscription.
Master of Animals in chlorite, Jiroft culture, c. 2500 BC, Bronze Age I, National Museum of Iran
Chalcolithic copper mine in Timna Valley, Negev Desert, Israel
Dong Son, Bronze Drum
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A Shang dynasty two-handled bronze gefuding gui (1600–1046 BC)
Spring and Autumn period pu bronze vessel with interlaced dragon design
Dancing girl of Mohenjo-daro, c. 2500 BC (replica).
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Nebra sky disc, Germany, 1800-1600 BC
Urnfield culture cuirasses, France, 9th century BC.
Nuragic figurine, Sardinia, c. 1000 BC
Treasure of Vilena, Spain, 1000 BC.
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Bronze artifacts from Daegok-ri, Hwasun, Korea
2nd century BC Yayoi dōtaku bronze bell.
2nd-century BC Yayoi bronze spearhead

Western Asia and the Near East were the first regions to enter the Bronze Age, which began with the rise of the Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer in the mid-4th millennium BC. Cultures in the ancient Near East (often called one of "the cradles of civilization") practiced intensive year-round agriculture, developed writing systems, invented the potter's wheel, created centralized governments (usually in form of hereditary monarchies), written law codes, city-states and nation-states and empires, embarked on advanced architectural projects, introduced social stratification, economic and civil administration, slavery, and practiced organized warfare, medicine and religion.

Tigris

Easternmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates.

Mosul, on the bank of the Tigris, 1861
Bedouin crossing the river Tigris with plunder (c.1860)
Mosul, Iraq
Outside of Mosul, Iraq
Baghdad
Batman River
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Iraq 1932–1959 depicting the two rivers, the confluence Shatt al-Arab and the date palm forest, which used to be the largest in the world

In ancient times, many of the great cities of Mesopotamia stood on or near the Tigris, drawing water from it to irrigate the civilization of the Sumerians.

Iraq

Country in Western Asia.

Inside the Shanidar Cave, where the remains of eight adults and two infant Neanderthals, dating from around 65,000–35,000 years ago were found.
Map of the Akkadian Empire and the directions in which military campaigns were conducted (yellow arrows). The Akkadian Empire was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer
Bronze head of an Akkadian ruler from Nineveh, presumably depicting either Sargon of Akkad, or Sargon's grandson Naram-Sin
Hammurabi, depicted as receiving his royal insignia from Shamash. Relief on the upper part of the stele of Hammurabi's code of laws.
Map of the Neo-Assyrian Empire under Shalmaneser III (dark green) and Esarhaddon (light green)
Jehu, king of Israel, bows before Shalmaneser III of Assyria, 825 BC.
Lamassu from the Assyrian gallery at the Iraq Museum, Baghdad
The Neo-Babylonian Empire under Nabonidus (r. 626–539 BC)
A partial view of the ruins of Babylon.
Roman amphitheater in Sulaymaniyah.
Al-Hariri of Basra was a poet, high government official and scholar of the Arabic language, He is known for his Maqamat al-Hariri (‘'Assemblies of Hariri'’), a collection of some 50 stories written in the Maqama style. Al-Hariri's best known work, Maqamat has been regarded as the greatest treasure in Arabic literature.
The siege of Baghdad by the Mongols.
Conquest of Mosul (Nineveh) by Mustafa Pasha in 1631, a Turkish soldier in the foreground holding a severed head. L., C. (Stecher) 1631 -1650
Crowning of King Faisal II of Iraq in the Council of Representatives, 1953
Nuri Said (1888 - 1958), contributed to the establishment of the Kingdom of Iraq and the armed forces while also served as the Prime minister of the state.
Iraq state emblem under nationalist Qasim was mostly based on Mesopotamian symbol of Shamash, and avoided pan-Arab symbolism by incorporating elements of Socialist heraldry.
The April 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue by US Army troops in Firdos Square in Baghdad shortly after the US-led invasion.
Destroyed Lion of Babylon tank on Highway 9 outside Najaf during US-led invasion in 2003.
An Iraqi Army Aviation Command aerial gunner prepares to test fire his M240 machine gun, Near Baghdad International Airport, 2011
Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, provides command and control of air power throughout Iraq and Syria.
Pro-independence rally in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2017. The Kurdistan Regional Government announced it would respect the Supreme Federal Court's ruling that no Iraqi province is allowed to secede.
Protest in Baghdad in November 2019. The protests were the largest incident of civil unrest Iraq has experienced since the 2003 invasion.
Cheekha Dar, highest point in Iraq.
Iraq Köppen climate classification map.
The Asiatic lion has remained a prominent symbol of the country throughout history.
Baghdad Convention Center, the current meeting place of the Council of Representatives of Iraq.
View over Green Zone, which contains governmental headquarters and the army, in addition to containing the headquarters of the American embassy and the headquarters of foreign organizations and agencies for other countries.
US President Donald Trump with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in 2017.
Administrative districts of Iraq
Historical GDP per capita development
Agriculture is the main occupation of the people.
Mosul Museum is the second largest museum in Iraq after the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. It contains ancient Mesopotamian artifacts.
Supertankers at the Basra Oil Terminal
Mosul Dam Lake
Lake Dukan
Children in a village in Sulaymaniyah.
Imam Hussein Shrine in Karbala
Mor Mattai Monastery (Dayro d-Mor Mattai) in, Bartella, Nineveh, Iraq. It is recognized as one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence and is famous for its magnificent library and considerable collection of Syriac Christian manuscripts
Saddam Hussein Promoting women's literacy and education in the 1970s
University students in Iraq, 2016
Al-Mutanabi, regarded as one of the greatest, most prominent and influential poets in the Arabic language, much of his work has been translated into over 20 languages worldwide
Wasiti's illustrations served as an inspiration for the modern Baghdad art movement in the 20th-century.
Zaha Hadid (1950–2016), an acclaimed architect.
Facade of Temple at Hatra, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
The Queen's gold lyre from the Royal Cemetery at Ur. Iraq Museum, Baghdad.
Masgouf, a popular Iraqi dish.
Madina Stadium in Baghdad is Iraq's first-ever stadium solar power plant, and the second in the Middle East of its kind.
Iraq wall det 2003.

During ancient times, lands that now constitute Iraq were known as Mesopotamia (“Land Between the Rivers”), a region whose extensive alluvial plains gave rise to some of the world's earliest civilizations and empires since the 6th millennium BC, including those of Akkad, Babylon, Assyria and Sumer, the earliest known civilisation.

Fertile Crescent

Crescent-shaped region in the Middle East, spanning modern-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Northern Egypt, together with the northern region of Kuwait, southeastern region of Turkey and the western portion of Iran.

Map showing the larger area including Cyprus
1916 map of the Fertile Crescent by James Henry Breasted, who popularised usage of the phrase.
Area of the fertile crescent, circa 7500 BCE, with main sites of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. The area of Mesopotamia proper was not yet settled by humans. Includes Göbekli Tepe, a site in modern-day Turkey that is dated circa 9000 BCE.
Diffusion of agriculture from the Fertile Crescent after 9000 BCE

Early human civilizations such as Sumer in Mesopotamia flourished as a result.

Caral-Supe civilization

Complex pre-Columbian-era society that included as many as thirty major population centers in what is now the Caral region of north-central coastal Peru.

Reconstruction of one of the pyramids of Aspero
Remains of platform mound structures at Caral
The people from the Caral-Supe civilization used vertebrae of the blue whale as stools
Base of Caral-Supe pyramids
Remains of the two main Caral pyramids in the arid Supe Valley
Monolith in Caral
Altar of the Holy Fire, on top of the Templo Mayor
Terraced construction of pyramid at Caral, with stone fill
Shicra bag with stones at Caral
The presence of quipu tentatively suggests a "proto-writing" system in ancient Caral-Supe
Ruth Shady, Peruvian archaeologist, in Caral, 2014

Complex society in Caral-Supe arose a millennium after Sumer in Mesopotamia, was contemporaneous with the Egyptian pyramids, and predated the Mesoamerican Olmec by nearly two millennia.

Third Dynasty of Ur

Map showing the Ur III state and its sphere of influence.
Utu-hengal, Lugal of the Sumerian city of Uruk, praying for victory against the Gutian king Tirigan. 19th century illustration.
Empire of the Third Dynasty of Ur (in green), with territory, zone of influence, and colonial outposts, at their greatest. West is at top, North at right.
Iddin-Sin, King of the Simurrum. The Simurrum, a mountain tribe, were vanquished by the armies of the Third Dynasty of Ur, circa 2000 BC (detail)
Enthroned King Ur-Nammu, founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur c. 2047 BC, on a cylinder seal. His name appears vertically in the upper right corner (𒌨𒀭𒇉).
The Lament for Ur, commemorating the fall of Ur to the Elamites. Louvre Museum.
The Ziggurat of Ur, rebuilt and enlarged many times, was founded by the Third Dynasty of Ur
Cylinder seal of King Shulgi, Louvre Museum.
An architectural foundation-nail figurine depicting king Amar-Sin himself carrying the builder's wicker traybasket. His name translates to 'immortal moon-god'.
Cylinder seal of King Ur-Nammu.
Plan of a real estate of the city of Umma, with indications of the surfaces of the parts. Third Dynasty of Ur, Louvre.
The trade routes between Mesopotamia and the Indus
The last king of the Ur III dynasty King Ibbi-Sin (c.2028–2004 BCE) enthroned, with standing goddess.
Cuneiform tablet impressed with cylinder seal. Receipt of goats, c. 2040 BC, year 7 of Amar-Sin. Neo-Sumerian.<ref name="IS">{{cite book|last1=Spar|first1=Ira|title=Cuneiform Texts in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Volume I Tablets Cones and Bricks of the Third Ur Dynasty|date=1988|publisher=The Metropolitan Museum of Art|page=38, Nb 35|url=http://resources.metmuseum.org/resources/metpublications/pdf/Cuneiform_Texts_in_The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art_Volume_I_Tablets_Cones_and_Bricks_of_the_Third_.pdf}}</ref>
Cuneiform tablet impressed with cylinder seal. Receipt of goats, c. 2040 BC. Neo-Sumerian (drawing).
Administrative Tablet, Third Dynasty of Ur, 2026 BC.

The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC (middle chronology) Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians consider to have been a nascent empire.

Early Dynastic Period (Mesopotamia)

Archaeological culture in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) that is generally dated to c. 2900–2350 BC and was preceded by the Uruk and Jemdet Nasr periods.

Man carrying a box, possibly for offerings. Metalwork, ca. 2900–2600 BCE, Sumer. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A photograph from the 1930s of Dutch archaeologist Henri Frankfort, who coined the term Early Dynastic period.
Scarlet Ware Pottery excavated in Khafajah. 2800-2600 BCE, Early Dynastic II-III, Sumer. British Museum.
Foundation nail commemorating the peace treaty between Entemena of Lagash and Lugal-kinishe-dudu of Uruk (c. 2500 BC)
Gold objects from tomb PG 580, Royal Cemetery at Ur, 26th century BC, Early Dynasic Period III.
The "War" panel of the Standard of Ur showing combatants engaged in military activities. Dated to c. 2600 BC.
One fragment of the Stele of the Vultures showing king Eannatum as a military charioteer. Dated to c. 2450 B.C. Currently in the Louvre Museum.
Stele of Ushumgal, 2900-2700 BC. Probably from Umma.
Gold helmet of Meskalamdug, ruler of the First Dynasty of Ur, circa 2500 BC, Early Dynastic period III.
Ring of Gold, Carnelian, Lapis Lazuli, Tello, ancient Girsu, mid-3rd millennium BC.
Irrigated palm grove along the banks of the Euphrates River, in modern-day Southern Iraq. This landscape has remained unchanged since earliest antiquity.
Map detailing the First Eblaite Kingdom at its height c. 2340 BC.
Map detailing the Second Mariote Kingdom at its height c. 2290 BC.
Map detailing the approximate locations of regions and kingdoms that are known from Mesopotamian written evidence of the third millennium BC.
Some of the carnelian beads in this necklace from the Royal Tombs of Ur are thought to have come from the Indus Valley.
Votive relief for the king Ur-Nanshe of Lagash, commemorating the construction of a temple.
Wall plaque from Ur, with image of a temple (lower right). Circa 2500 BCE. British Museum.
Funeral procession at the Royal Cemetery of Ur (items and positions in tomb PG 789), circa 2600 BCE (reconstitution).
Female statuette, with cup and bracelet, Khafajah, 2650-2550 BCE
Statuette of a man, Early Dynastic Period II, circa 2700 BC, Khafadje. Louvre Museum, reference AO 188886
Sumerian cylinder seal, ca. 2500–2350 BC. Early Dynastic IIIb.
The "Ram in a Thicket" statue found at the Royal Cemetery of Ur contains traded materials
Chlorite vase from Khafaje
Cylinder seal from the ED III period with its impression representing a mythological combat scene.
Cylinder seal and modern impression bull-man, bearded hero, and lion contest frieze,ca. 2600–2350 B.C. Early Dynastic III
Alabaster bull inlay. From southern Iraq, Early Dynastic Period, c. 2750-2400 BC. The Burrell Collection, Glasgow, UK.
Piece of inlay made of nacre, inscribed with the name of Akurgal, son of Ur-Nanshe of Lagash (currently in the Louvre).
Statue of a male figure, recovered from Tell Asmar
Statue of a female figure, recovered from Khafajah
Statue of a kneeling male figure holding a vase, recovered from Tell Agrab
Statue of Ebih-Il, recovered from Mari (ED IIIb)
Stone statue of Kurlil, Early Dynastic III, 2500 BC Tell Al-'Ubaid.
Bas-relief of a banquet and boating scene, unknown provenience
Bas-relief of a banquet scene, recovered from Tell Agrab
Banquet scene, Khafajah, 2650-2550 BCE
Votive relief of the priest Dudu, of the time of Entemena, recovered from Girsu. Circa 2400 BCE
Statue of a bull (ED III)
Vessel stand in the shape of an ibex. Copper-based alloy with nacre and lapis lazuli inlays, created with the lost-wax method (ED III)
Reconstructed headgear of Puabi, found in the Royal Cemetery at Ur (ED III)
Gold objects from the Royal Cemetery at Ur
Animal-shaped pendants of gold, lapis lazuli and carnelian from Eshnunna
Pearl, lapis lazuli, carnelian and silver beads from Tell Agrab (ED I)

Sumerian cities such as Uruk, Ur, Lagash, Umma, and Nippur located in Lower Mesopotamia were very powerful and influential.

Sumerian King List

Ancient literary composition written in Sumerian that was likely created and redacted to legitimize the claims to power of various city-states and kingdoms in southern Mesopotamia during the late third and early second millennium BC.

The Sumerian King List inscribed onto the Weld-Blundell Prism, with transcription.
The Scheil dynastic tablet, containing a part of the Sumerian King List, from Uruk II to Ur III. Transcription and translation in French (1911).

It does so by repetitively listing Sumerian cities, the kings that ruled there, and the lengths of their reigns.