This course provides an overview of the archaeology of the ancient Near East, with special emphasis on the ancient civilizations that developed in Syria and Iraq, notably Sumer, Babylonia and Assyria (3100—330 B.C.). The course also includes some Prehistory (beginning with the Neolithic Era), and the world’s first farming communities. Major technological, artistic and architectural achievements of ancient Near East are emphasized, as well as the impact of religion, the emergence of the world’s first writing systems and cities, and the rise of empires. While discussing these themes, the history of archaeological research in the Near East will be surveyed, from the earliest discoveries of 19th century adventurers to the scientific approaches to archaeological recovery and interpretation that are utilized by researchers of today.