Uruk, maybe the 1st metropolis, gets Berlin show

BERLIN (AP) — Berlin's Pergamon Museum is offering visitors a glimpse of perhaps the world's first real metropolis, in a new exhibition that traces the long history of Uruk, in present-day Iraq.

Artifacts including clay masks of demons, limestone ducks used as weights, a prism listing Sumerian kings, tablets detailing transactions and clay vessels used as water pipes grace the exhibition, "Uruk — 5,000 Years of the Megacity." They date back as far as the 4th millennium B.C.

The show marks a century of excavations at Uruk. But even now, organizers say, less than 5 percent of the sprawling site in the Iraqi desert has been explored.

Berlin museum director Michael Eissenhauer said Wednesday the exhibition aims to illustrate the importance of Uruk, "the first identifiable major city in the history of mankind."

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