Courtesy Lorenzo de Masi/SITES

ON THE COVER: Kohl-rimmed eyes and elaborately coiffed beards and hair distinguish these two Assyrian court officials in a wall painting from the eighth-century B.C. palace of Kar Shalmaneser in western Syria. The two officials appear on a frieze depicting an enthroned Assyrian king receiving a prostrate enemy prince and war captives bearing gifts. The distinguished gentlemen are part of a stunning collection of artifacts dramatizing 8,000 years of Syrian history. See “From Ebla to Damascus: The Archaeology of Ancient Syria.”