The early stages of the Sumerian city at Tell Zurghul: new results from recent excavations
Published in Origini n. XXXIX/2016. Rivista annuale del Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità – “Sapienza” Università di Roma | Preistoria e protostoria delle civiltà antiche – Prehistory and protohistory of ancient civilizations | In February 2015 a joint archaeological expedition of Sapienza Università di Roma and Perugia University started excavations of the site of Tell Zurghul, in the Dhi-Qar, Iraq. The site, briefly investigated by R. Koldewey in 1887, has been identified with the Sumerian city of Nigin, the third city of the State of Lagash, mentioned in many inscriptions of Gudea as the place of the main III millennium BC temple of the goddess Nanshe, the Sirara. The first survey and excavations of two areas in 2015, Area A and Area B respectively, suggest that the foundation of the city can be dated back at least to the Ubaid Period. The article presents the results of the first campaign analysing the archaeological context and materials from Area B: the recent archaeological activities at Tell Zurghul are therefore presented and contextualized within the regional framework of the ancient State of Lagash, focusing on the development of urbanization and settlement patterns in Southern Mesopotamia.