Sample Paper on “Death of Ur-Namma” in ancient Mesopotamia

Primary sources of evidence

In Ancient Mesopotamia “Death of Ur-Nammu”, Ur-Nammu was the initiator the Dynasty which was the third in Ur in Sumer who founded the Sumerian Renaissance .He is well remembered as the first ever king to finish the law code in the entire universe. Also recognized as the constructor of the Great Ziggurat of Ur, that up to date rise on the ruins of the city in the current day.In Shang dynasty China ‘oracle-bones’, Oraclebones refer to bones in pieces, usually from ox scapulae that were used in early China as a way of divination  mostly in the late Dynasty of Shang. They contain the very early important Chinese writing and ancient information which confirmed the survival of the Shang which was not believed by other scholars till then. My goal in this paper is to discuss on the nature of primary source of history and the culture that produces these sources ,finally how the type of surviving source of evidence shape historians writing on history.

The “Death of Ur-Namma” in ancient Mesopotamia explains its genre in writing and in a poem of Sumeria which used wise literature. Its aim was to act as an existing proof of   how the death of King Ur-Nammu happened. It content was on how the Gutians fought against the Sumerians and the Ur-Nammu led his soldiers from the front to meet them and the king was killed in the fight. The poem raised the great legendary of Ur-Nammu as a king who sacrificed his own life for the people (Michalowski 13).


In Shang dynasty China the ‘Oracle-bones” has its genre in writing on bones which were discovered by the local farmers the fields that they were cultivating. There purpose in the ancient times was to write a record of the divinations done in the imperial household which gave clear evidence on the existence of the Shang Dynasty but later the locals who discovered them did not notice what the bones were for and they reburied them. In the 19th century people in the cultivation fields found the bones and used them as medicine referred in Chinese tradition, like the fragments from the shell of the turtle were used to treat malaria (Mickel 176).


The culture in the ancient Mesopotamia during the reign of Ur-Nammu was that guided by the code of law which understood generally on the side of the people that power was from gods who uses the king to oversee those law. Obeying was an important norm for the people.Maintance ofeconomic and social stability ensued the culture of the people flourished.

The culture of Shang Dynasty of China with the surviving evidence Oracle-bones is that they practiced cultivation which led them to discover the bones which they used as malaria prescription and also others to treat wounds from knives when in powder form.They kept livestock that gave then bones to write on like cattle and ox.

In conclusion the surviving primary sources of evidence in ancient Mesopotamia ‘death of Ur-Nammu” and Shang dynasty China the ‘Oracle-bones” helps historians in writing about the ancient information because they give evidence of what happened and the reasons they happen using a poem about the death of Ur-Nammu that is narrated and passed from one generation to another and writings on bones about the Shang Dynasty proved it ever existed.

Work cited

Michalowski, Piotr. “The Presence of the Past in Early Mesopotamian Writings.” (2013): 144-168. Print

Mickel, Stanley L. A Semantic Analysis of the Disaster Graphs of Period One Shang Dynasty Oracle Bones.  1976. Print.