Mark Jarzombek, professor, History and Theory of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

As urban people, we imagine cities naturally developed from villages, but the early cities in Mesopotamia arose in conditions that can only be described as extreme. Examine how risk-taking shaped the understanding of the early city and civilization.

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Above: American Colony (Jerusalem), Photo Dept., photographer, Iraq. Ur. (So called of the Chaldees). A general view of the ruins, 1932. Negative: nitrate. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.