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Buildings and Temple dated to 3,000 BC unearthed at Tel Zurghul in Iraq


The Italian archaeological campaign carried out by Sapienza University of Rome and Perugia University from 10 October to 1 December 2016 at Tel Zurghul, the site of ancient Nigin, one of the three main cities of the ancient Sumerian State of Lagash, has ended.

Buildings and Temple dated to 3,000 BC unearthed at Tel Zurghul in Iraq
Excavations at Tel Zurghul [Credit: University of Perugia]
In this second campaign of excavations, co-directed by Davide Nadali from La Sapienza University and Andrea Polcaro from Perugia University, investigations continued in Area A located at the foot of the hill leading to the centre of the settlement (Mound A), where a building entirely built of unbaked adobe bricks and dated to c. 3000 BC, a period of Mesopotamia historically still little known, was brought to light.

Buildings and Temple dated to 3,000 BC unearthed at Tel Zurghul in Iraq
Archaeologists of the mission of Tel Zurghul work on the main mound 
[Credit: University of Perugia]
In the three rooms so far investigated, interpreted as storage areas, several well-made and perfectly preserved large painted jars were found.



In the second excavation area, opened this year on top of Mound A, the archaeologists have exposed a temple dedicated to Nanshe, a goddess associated with water and fishing, whose presence was known from numerous cuneiform inscriptions of the Kings of the ancient State of Lagash, found at Tel Zurghul and other sites in the region, some of which are conserved in the Musée du Louvre in Paris.

Buildings and Temple dated to 3,000 BC unearthed at Tel Zurghul in Iraq
Detail of clay plaque depicting a bull with a human head 
[Credit: University of Perugia]
Among the most important finds is a clay plaque depicting a bull with a human head, an apotropaic being who opened the gates of heaven in Mesopotamian mythology.

The first excavation of the Italian archaeological expedition in 2015 had already established that the site dates back to at least 5000 BC (Ubaid Period) and had grown into a large settlement by the fourth millennium BC during the Late Uruk Period.

For more information The Italian Archaeological Expedition to Tell Zurghul website.

Source University of Perugia [December 29, 2016]
TANN

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