Replete with burial tombs and treasures, the ancient Kingdom of Qatna once rivalled the Kingdom of Egypt, but then incredibly simply vanished. In this documentary, recreations of dramatic scenes from Qatna combine with contemporary archaeological discoveries to bring history to life. Fascinating methods of historical inquiry help students understand of the enduring significance of ancient events.
TEACHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION
While much has already been discovered and published about Ancient Egypt, the mysteries of Syria’s Kingdom of Qatna are still being revealed. Yet Qatna sat at the crossroads of the ancient trade routes that linked the four points of the compass. Its position also lay between some major power players – the Egyptians, the Mitannis and the fearsome Hittites. How did it rise into prominence and then fall into obscurity?
This is an epic story about a mysterious kingdom at the mercy of surrounding superpowers. It involves a hunt for clues and the fascinating archeological exploration of a little known ancient civilization. In this documentary an expert international team of Egyptologists, archeologists and anthropologists make incredible discoveries about this civilisation.
Qatna first became known to the modern world from mid-19th century. Excavations, systematic archaeological work beginning in earnest in 1924 and continued intermittedly for the next three decades. However in 1994, a cooperative Syrian, Italian and German Mission resumed systematic excavations of the area.
As depicted in this documentary, using clues provided by hieroglyphs, stone tablets, ancient ruins and vast treasures, the team piece together the amazing story of the fall of a once mighty kingdom. In so doing, comparisons are made with Qatna’s Egyptian neighbours, highlighting similarities and differences in their civilisations and ways of life.
Although the present team has reconstructed a significant amount of Qatar’s story, only ten percent of the enormous excavation site has been explored. The remainder lies buried beneath desert sands.
“History is the study of the past. It provides knowledge, understanding and appreciation of previous events, people, practices and ideas. It orders them, renders them intelligible and discerns patterns of continuity and change. It provides the means whereby individual and collective identities are formed and sustained. It enriches the present and illuminates the future.”
Shape of the Australian Curriculum: History, 2.3, 2009
“History stretches from the distant past to the present, and provides a deeper understanding of present-day events as well as the enduring significance of earlier ones. It introduces us to a variety of human experience, enables us to see the world through the eyes of others, and enriches our appreciation of the nature of change.”
Shape of the Australian Curriculum: History, 2.7, 2009
In undertaking these tasks, students will:
• Use historical terms, chronology and sequence of events relating to the Bronze Age
• Discover how and why the ancient Kingdom of Qatna rose and fell
• Provide historical explanations using a range of different sources
• Develop appropriate techniques of communication and organisation.
ACARA. Shape of the Australian Curriculum: History, 5.4.3. 2009
In undertaking these tasks, students will:
• Demonstrate knowledge and understanding about the Kingdom of Qatna in the context of ancient civilisation
• Identify historical factors that contributed to the rise and fall of Qatna
• Gain awareness of the diversity and complexity of the ancient world
• Locate, select and organise relevant information from a variety of sources
• Use historical terms and concepts appropriately
Communicate knowledge and understanding of historical features and issues of Qatna using appropriate oral and written forms
• Develop values and attitudes of about the influence of religion on ancient and present civilisations.
NSW Board of Studies Ancient History Stage 6 Syllabus, 8.1, 2009
STUDENT LEARNING TASKS
Mishrifeh, in the country of Syria is near the old Kingdom of Qatna.
Download a map of Syria from http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/syria-map
Save the map to your files, or print it and paste into your workbook.
Name the capital city of Syria.
Name the countries and seas that share a border with Syria.
Name the countries that lie between Syria and Egypt.
What do we know about ancient life in Qatna from archaeologists’ findings?
Write two facts about each of the following aspects of daily life:
Qatna rose to its peak during the Bronze Age. Describe the bronze implements that would have been made and used during this period in the Kingdom of Qatna.
Imagine you are a foot soldier in the Hittite army, advancing on the royal palace of Qatna. Describe what the palace looks like from the outside. Include measurements recorded by the archaeologists to support your answer.
Imagine you are on a mission to discover a treasure-filled tomb that hasn’t been seen for thousands of years. Describe and draw the three tools you might use to infiltrate the kingdom. Design how you would conduct the mission. Write a plan to outline how you will escape with the treasures you find.
Qatna rose from relative obscurity and became a power player in the ancient world. It then was obliterated. Explain when and how this happened.
Describe King Idanda of Qatna and the challenges he faced when his palace was attacked and destroyed. Back up your description with factual evidence that has been uncovered at the excavation site.
Recreate the scene at the palace as King Idanda tried to defend his kingdom from attack. Include factual dimensions of the palace, its construction materials and style. Describe the aspects of the kingdom that were designed for defence. What action would you have taken in King Idanda’s role?
Qatna’s ancient practice of kispum is also known as “the cult of the dead”. Describe kispum. Did this religious belief influence life in Qatna? Explain. Which modern day civilisations still practice a similar belief system?
Qatna’s geographical position gave it strategic, economic and political significance in the ancient world. In an essay of 300 words, describe the advantages and disadvantages of such a geographical position.