Discovered in 1933, the archeological site of Mari holds one of the most important keys to our understanding of the ancient Mesopotamian world, and has been described as the definitive third millennium B.C. royal city-state par excellence.  Strategically located on the outer reaches of Mesopotamia, Mari was a prosperous and powerful kingdom.  Among the treasures unearthed at Mari are the 275-room Zimri-Lim Palace, which includes an enormous archive which held more than 15,000 clay tablets recording both the household accounts of the palace, and diplomatic and administrative records of the kingdom.  The site also reveals a number of sophisticated religious buildings including the Temple of Ishtar, the Temple of the Lions, and the Temple of Shamash.