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Sumerians are one of the oldest civilizations in the world
Sumerians are one of the oldest civilizations in the world

The Sumerians are one of the oldest civilizations in the world. They left behind cities, most of which were found in the 19th - 20th centuries.

Ur - archaeological "Atlantis" of the Sumerians

Ur is one of the most ancient city-states of the Sumerians. It appeared in about the fourth millennium BC. e. in the territory of southern Babylonia. Now on the site of Ur is Tell el-Mukayar - an Iraqi city. Ur disappeared around the 4th century BC. e.

For the first time the foot of a European set foot on the lands of Ur in 1625. Pietro della Valle is an Italian who discovered bricks on the site of a modern Iraqi city, on which cuneiform was visible - a sample of one of the earliest writing systems (signs were squeezed out on a clay tablet with a wooden stick). A deeper study of Ur followed more than two centuries later.

The first major excavations took place in 1854. They were conducted by representatives of the British Consulate on the instructions of the British Museum. They managed to find the ruins of the temple of the god Sina (the god of the moon in Sumerian mythology), coffins and clay vessels. From 1918 to 1922, British historians and archaeologists also excavated Ur, but the research was not large-scale.

In 1922, the most significant expedition to Ur began. It was headed by the British archaeologist Sir Charles Leonard Woolley. This time, the British have teamed up with the Americans to explore the ancient city.

Excavations took place until 1934. For 12 years of work, various significant monuments of Sumerian culture were found: the tomb of Queen Shubad, the standard of war and peace with the image of warriors' chariots, the first stringed musical instruments in human history, the archives of the kings, the Great ziggurat, decorated with mosaics of the tombs of the kings during the reign of the I and III dynasties. The overwhelming majority of the exhibits went to the British Museum.

Lagash is a favorite city of French archaeologists

Lagash is another ancient city of the Sumerians. It was built in the XXV century BC. e. After excavations in 1877, led by Ernest de Sarsek, scientists established the names on the tablets of the found sculptures. It turned out that the monuments were erected in honor of the Sumerian kings and military leaders of the III millennium BC. e.

Lagash itself was discovered under a complex of swollen clay hills as a result of de Sarsec's excavations. In addition to sculptures of prominent personalities of their time, archaeologists have found a large archive. It consisted of 20 thousand cuneiform tablets, which lay underground for about 4 millennia.

The French continued excavations already in the XX century. In 1903, the archaeologist Gaston Croet arrived at the site of Lagash, and later, from 1929 to 1931, Henri de Genillac worked there, then André Parrot.

Nippur - the main religious city of the Sumerians

Nippur is another ancient city of the Sumerian civilization. It was located on the Euphrates. The city bore sacred status. It was in Nippur that the temple of the main Sumerian deity, Enlil, was located.

In 1889, American archaeologists began to explore Nippur. Under the hills located in the territories of the holy city, the researchers found the remains of the royal palace, a library of clay texts, and a ziggurat. True, the excavations had to be interrupted for a while, as an inter-tribal conflict broke out between the Arabs. This scared some of the archaeologists, but some of them returned and continued their work.

In 1948, the Americans organized a new expedition. The researchers again found themselves in Nippur, where they found Sumerian religious figurines and tablets of an accountable nature. 13 years after the expedition, American archaeologists stumbled upon a treasure - more than fifty figurines reflecting the religious beliefs of the ancient Sumerians.

Eridu - the first city in the history of mankind

Eridu is one of the oldest cities in Sumer. According to Sumerian mythology, this is generally the first city on planet Earth. As scientists say, the first temples on the territory of Eridu appeared in the 5th century BC. e.


British Foreign Office official John Taylor excavated in Eris in 1855. Taylor discovered a brick wall and a staircase, in the middle of which were the remains of a multi-story tower.

Other excavations were organized in the 20th century by the Iraqi Department of Antiquity. In the expeditions of 1918-1920 and 1946-1949. a ziggurat was discovered, public buildings, the remains of sometimes the earliest temples, in which there were traces of sacrifices (fish bones, for example), the ruins of sanctuaries on rectangular platforms. Also, archaeologists managed to unearth tools, ceramics, dishes, the remains of the palace of the Sumerian kings and a necropolis, numbering about 1 thousand graves.

Borsippa - Babylon's Neighbor

Borsippa is a Sumerian city located about 20 kilometers from Babylon. The once beautiful city houses the remains of an ancient ziggurat. It is interesting that it was this structure that some historians took for the legendary Tower of Babel. The city itself was built approximately in the III millennium BC. e.


In the 19th century, Henry Ravlinson was the first to excavate the ziggurat. At the beginning of the 20th century, from 1901 to 1902, Robert Coldway became interested in the study of the building. In 1980, archaeologists from Austria arrived in Borsippu to explore the Ezida Temple and the ziggurat. Due to the Iraqi wars, the study was interrupted, but later resumed.

Excavations gave humanity tablets and literary texts from the Sumerians. They belong, according to the observations of scientists, to the late periods of the Sumerian civilization.

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