This website requires JavaScript.


History & Heritage


In Iraq, an ancient Sumerian palace unearthed

In Iraq, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a Sumerian palace in the ancient city of Girsu, located near modern-day Tell Telloh in southern Iraq.

The structure, built with mud bricks, dates back to the third millennium BCE and is believed to have been the residence of a Sumerian king. In addition to that, it had multiple rooms which were uncovered, including a throne room, a courtyard, and a central hall.

Sumerians, a thriving ancient civilization in Mesopotamia

The discovery of the ruins is significant news as it provides valuable insights into the cultural and political history of this ancient Iraqi civilization. The Sumerians were one of the first people in the world to develop a thriving civilization, and they are credited with the invention of, inter alia, writing, mathematics and astronomy.  

They also built advanced irrigation systems that enabled them to farm and produce surplus food, which led to the growth of cities and the development of a complex social and political hierarchy.


A major breakthrough for the Girsu project

“While our knowledge of the Sumerian world remains limited today, the work at Girsu and the discovery of the lost palace and temple hold enormous potential for our understanding of this important civilization, shedding light on the past and informing the future,” Dr Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, told the Press Association.

The complex of Girsu was first discovered more than 140 years ago, and the current excavations are conducted by the British Museum, the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage of Iraq, and Getty, in a cooperation program intended to preserve endangered heritage sites in the land of the two rivers.

Dr Sebastien Rey, the curator for ancient Mesopotamia and director of the Girsu Project, said: “New discoveries in Iraq highlight the success of the latest British Museum partnership with the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage and Getty through the Girsu Project.


See also

What religions are practiced in Iraq?

Published on 18 February 2023