From clay you are

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Faculty of Archaeology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

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The people of Mesopotamia believed that they were created by the gods to serve the gods: to work for them in the fields and care for the herds of animals that, through sacrifice, provided the gods’ livelihood. Perhaps this is why mythological motifs are almost absent in the art of Assyria and Babylon. Two small fragments of stone decorated with a convex relief, discovered in 2013 by the archeological team of the Institute of Prehistory at the entrance to the Gūndk cave in Iraqi Kurdistan, belie this claim. They come from a relief scene originally hewn into the rock- face around 2200 BC, but blown up by vandals in the 1990s. Thanks to this recent discovery by the team carrying out the Upper Greater Zab Archaeological Reconnaissance Project in Iraqi Kurdistan and previous drawings of the relief made in 1850 and 1947, it can be proven that the scene showed the god Enki and the goddess Ninmah in the process of molding people out of clay, as described in Mesopotamian myths. Saved for posterity by archaeologists from Poznań, the fragments of the damaged relief are the only known examples of this unique scene.




Mesopotamia, Early Bronze Age, Mesopotamian art, Mesopotamian mythology


Treasures of Time: Research of the Faculty of Archaeology of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (2021) D. Żurkiewicz (Ed.). pp. 236-255.



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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego