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Holy Land Photos) day. The area probably also had a better water supply in the past, flowing in wadis from the Jebel Sinjar. The Euphrates and its tributaries, the Khabur and the Balikh, and the Tigris and its tributaries, including the Greater and Lesser Zab, also water cultivable areas. Springs and wells contribute to the local availability of water, which supports parkland vegetation outside the cultivated areas. Between the low ranges of the Jebel Sinjar and Jebel Hamrin and the foothills of the Zagros lay the heartland of Assyria, centered on the Tigris.

The 1930s saw further major innovations, many the work of the Oriental Institute of Chicago’s lavishly sponsored team, led by Henry (Hans) Frankfort. Their main objective was to excavate Tell Asmar, the ancient Sumerian city of Eshnunna.

S. team was working at Bismayah (ancient Adab, a Sumerian town), the British were still investigating Kuyunjik, and the French had initiated work at the important Sumerian city of Kish. At the same time the French had secured a monopoly on archaeological work in Persia, where they 36 ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA Ruins of the great Sumerian city of Ur. Excavations here by Leonard Woolley revealed the early development of urban life in ancient Sumer, cradle of civilization. (Nik Wheeler/Corbis) excavated the great city of Susa, capital of Elam, the neighbor and great rival of Babylonia.

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