Near Eastern Archaeology covers from the beginning of the Neolithic period (about 12,000 BC) to the beginning of the Hellenistic period (4thcentury BC). The geographical area includes Mesopotamia, Syria-Palestine, Anatolia, and Iran. During times in which there was significant contact with the Ancient Orient, this area widens: the Arabian peninsula, Eurasian steppe belt, and Pakistan are included. The heartland of Mesopotamia is often referred to as the cradle of civilization and writing.
There are two thematic foci: material legacies, and idealistic achievements of the Ancient Orient, both of which have been made accessible through large quantities of textual testimonies. Aspects such as settlement geography, urbanism, architecture, art, ceramics, funeral services, religion, literature, history, trade and economy, social history, and everyday life are all considered. Students are also taught theories and methods of modern archaeological research – the excavation of the Near East in particular.