On December 16, the venerable Harvard Semitic Museum (6 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, 617-495-4631, semiticmuseum.fas.harvard.edu) unveils a re-imagined third floor gallery with the exhibit From Stone to Silicone: Recasting Mesopotamian Wall Carvings, presenting painstakingly re-created casts of some of the most significant works of art from ancient Iraq. Replacing the more-than-century-old, deteriorating casts acquired from European museums at the end of the 19th century, these new, durable reliefs echoing those commissioned by Assyrian kings Assurnasirpal II (883–859 B.C.) and Assurbanipal (668–627 B.C.) give viewers a rare glimpse into the propaganda machines of Middle Eastern rulers from thousands of years ago. Absent of visiting the originals in London’s British Museum, this may be the best way to get an up-close look at life in the ancient world.