Fantastic and massive human-headed, winged bulls and a curious wedge-shaped writing system are the best-known legacies of the place known as Mesopotamia. Although these objects give some sense of the grandeur and mystery of an ancient culture, the influence of the region and its people extends far beyond them. Long described as the “cradle of civilization,” Mesopotamia is clearly one of the earliest civilizations in the world. Its many contributions include the development of written language, as well as several advances in science, economics, law, and religion. Mesopotamian astronomers, for example, devised a 12-month lunar calendar and divided the year into two seasons.