Lecture | Archaeology Now—Marsh Arabs “The World’s Oldest Tavern”

September 21, 2023

Presented by the MFAH and Archaeology Now in partnership with the Arab American Educational Foundation

Eating out seems to have been as popular 5,000 years ago as it is today. Archaeologists working in the fall of 2022 in the ancient city of Lagash, in what was once the marshes of Iraq, discovered one of the world’s first taverns. Everything for a delightful meal was available: a room containing benches for comfort, an industrial-size oven that certainly churned out delicious delicacies, a large grill still holding a fish, ancient food remains in hundreds of disposable clay dishes, and even a 5,000-year-old fridge to cool beer.

Hear the story and learn more about what was on the menu from Zaid Alrawi, Mesopotamian archaeologist and the Lagash archaeological project’s manager. 

Tickets | FREE

Plan Your Visit
The lecture takes place in Lynn Wyatt Theater in the Kinder Building. On Thursdays, the Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with free general admission.

Related Event
Film Screening | Sunday, September 10, 3 p.m.
Archaeology Now—“Miracle in the Marshes of Iraq”

About the Speaker
Zaid Alrawi is a landscape archaeologist and the Southern Mesopotamia projects manager at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has concentrated on the applications of GIS and Remote Sensing in Mesopotamian archaeology. He has worked at the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage in Baghdad and as a research technician on the Iraq Archaeological Digital Atlas project at Stony Brook University. Through this effort, he used satellite imagery and GIS to survey, locate, and document 2,000 archaeological sites in Iraq. He obtained his Ph.D. from Penn State, with a dissertation that focused on the Third Millennium BCE Rural Economy of Southern Mesopotamia, specifically investigating the locational setting of sites of production within the urban hinterland of the Lagash territory. Archaeology Now is the Houston affiliate of the Archaeological Institute of America.

All Learning and Interpretation programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive generous support from Macey and Harry Reasoner; the Claire and Theodore Morse Foundation; and the Texas Commission on the Arts. Endowment funds are provided by the Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; Caroline Wiess Law; Windgate Foundation; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children’s Art Fund; Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Ballard; Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Tate; the Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Virginia and Ira Jackson; the Favrot Fund; CFP Foundation; Neiman Marcus Youth Arts Education; gifts in memory of John Wynne; gifts in memory of Peter Lotz; and gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.


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