International Symposium: Water and People of Mesopotamia and the Surrounding Area

Discussion with Iraq online

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) and Japanese-Iraqi Institute for Archaeological Education of Mesopotamia (JIAEM) co-organized an international symposium titled Water and People of Mesopotamia and the Surrounding Area: A Hopeful Way of Looking to Our Sustainable Future with Water from Viewpoints of Archaeological and Historical Heritages in the Regions held on October 22nd, 2022. This symposium activity aims to foster a deeper understanding of the Mesopotamian archaeology and livelihood of Iraqi people and resume archaeological survey as well as international cooperation in the future as the second co-organized activity by both institutes.

 The Tigris and Euphrates rivers that nurtured Mesopotamian civilization face the issue of water decrease influenced by dam construction by neighboring countries located upstream in addition to the impact of global climate change. We invited his excellency Abdul Kareem Kaab, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Tokyo. He presented a keynote lecture about the relationship with both rivers and people from ancient times, as well as the current difficult situation in the surrounding area in Iraq. Subsequently, several presentations were made from the multiple viewpoints focusing on the keyword “water” including the Water Resource Management in Transboundary Rivers, Riverine Life, and Water Supply of Ancient Mesopotamia, how to make a traditional Iraqi boat, history and current situation in Bahrain given its abundant spring water. In the second half of the symposium, Iraqi scholars were joined online, and talked on the field study of utilizing water in Eridu and Umma, and the crisis regarding buffalo in south Iraq. We discussed how they would be able to cope with their lives along with changing river conditions by overviewing what kind of water resources management were handled there from the archaeological viewpoint.

 Dealing with a wide range of issues from the ancient to the present in three different languages (Japanese, English, and Arabic) presented a valuable opportunity to discuss livelihoods of the local people, not only focusing on academic themes surrounding the keyword “water.” We hope new international cooperation issue will be recognized through such activity.

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