The Monster among Us

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Exhibition by students at Freie Universität Berlin to open April 15, 2019 / Public guided tour on May 16, 2019

No 096/2019 from Apr 12, 2019

A new exhibition at Freie Universität Berlin is devoted to ancient Near Eastern depictions of supernatural beings. It will be on display from April 15 through June 14, 2019, in the Campus Library. There will be a public tour on May 16, 2019, at 4 p.m. Both admission and the tour are free of charge. No registration is required. The exhibition entitled "The Monster among Us" was created by students as part of a seminar at the Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology at Freie Universität Berlin. The items on display include 3D reproductions of Assyrian figurines from the first millennium BCE, as well as various protection symbols and lucky charms of the present.

The exhibition aims to illustrate the distribution and significance of depictions of supernatural beings in the Ancient Middle East during the period between 3000 and 600 BCE, as well as their reception in the present. According to scholars, sources from former Babylonia and Assyria suggest that supernatural beings played an important role in societies in today’s Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Creatures in the guise of humans or animals or composed of different living beings were intended to contradict idealistic conceptions. "Through their appearance and wild behavior, they represent a break with the social order, thereby questioning norms and traditions," explains Dominik Bonatz from Freie Universität. Bonatz taught the seminar leading to the creation of the exhibit.

Bonatz points out that monsters are also popular in modern everyday culture, as for example in film heros such as Shrek, the never-ending series of the zombie apocalypse The Walking Dead , or the immortal cuddly monsters from Sesame Street . He says that they create new opportunities for the development of society.

Time and Location of the Exhibit

  • April 15 to June 14
  • Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Campus Library, Freie Universität Berlin, old section, level 2, Fabeckstraße 23/25, 14195 Berlin (subway station: Dahlem-Dorf, U3)
  • Public tour: May 16, 2019, 4 p.m.