Mesopotamia, called the cradle of civilization for good reason, saw the origin of the most basic human inventions -- among them: writing, the wheel, glass, the arch, and the concept of "zero." But it is here, too, where arts and culture flourished.
One product of this great moment in time was recently sold at auction for the record-trouncing price of $57,200,000. The last known such piece in private hands, the Guennol Lioness (pictured) was carved from limestone by an unknown artist for an unknown reason. Only three inches in height, it makes a powerful statement of its time and place in history.