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A lost ancient palace that is 4,500 years old has been discovered in Iraq by archaeologists

By: April Carson



The director of the British Museum praised a recently-discovered Sumerian temple in Girsu as "one of the most fascinating sites" he has seen. However, the archaeologist who uncovered the temple claimed that he was accused of fabricating the discovery and misusing funding.


In modern-day Iraq, a 4,500-year-old palace was discovered by a project led by Dr. Sebastien Rey. The discovery is believed to hold important information about one of the earliest civilizations known to us.


The structure was found among the ruins of Gursu, a temple complex that dates back to the Sumerian period. The palace is made up of two main wings which lead to a central terrace with several important rooms.


Last year, British and Iraqi archaeologists discovered the Lord Palace of the Kings of the ancient Sumerian city Girsu in Tello, southern Iraq. They also found over 200 cuneiform tablets that contained administrative records of the ancient city.


According to Rey, he faced disbelief from his audiences when he initially presented the project at international conferences. Many individuals stated that he was making it up and that he was wasting his time as well as the funding for the British Museum and UK government. "It was a very difficult experience," he said.


The ancient city of Girsu was built by the Sumerians, who invented writing, built cities, and created codes of law between 3,500 and 2,000 BC. It was discovered 140 years ago but has since been targeted by looters and illegally excavated.


This temple is believed to hold many secrets about the city of Girsu and its people. Archaeologists hope to uncover what life was like for citizens living during that time, as well as other unknown details about the Sumerian civilization.


During the fieldwork, the researchers identified not only the palace and tablets but also the main temple dedicated to the Sumerian god, Ninĝirsu. Previously, the temple's existence was only known from ancient inscriptions found during the first excavation of the ancient city.


The project at Girsu aims to train Iraqis in conducting fieldwork at archaeological sites. The project is based on the Iraqi scheme, which was originally funded by the British government in response to the destruction of heritage sites in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State. So far, over 70 Iraqis have been trained through eight fieldwork seasons.


The discovery of the lost palace provides a unique insight into one of the oldest civilizations known to man and will hopefully continue to inform us about our past. Although it faced some initial skepticism, Rey's work has been widely praised for its impact on understanding Sumerian culture.


The Sumerians lived in Mesopotamia in the ancient eastern Mediterranean region and made significant technological progress, such as developing systems for measuring time and creating written language.


Hartwig Fischer, who is the director of the British Museum, said that the location of the ancient city in southern Iraq is "one of the most captivating sites" he has ever been to.


He expressed his enthusiasm for the recent collaboration between the British Museum, the state board of Antiquities and Heritage of Iraq, and the Getty. He stated that this partnership is an important new approach to building cooperative cultural heritage projects on a global scale. Today's visit was a celebration of the recent discoveries made through this collaboration. Furthermore, this partnership underscores the British Museum's longstanding commitment to safeguarding the cultural heritage of Iraq, promoting innovative research, and training the next generation of Iraqi archaeologists at Girsu. "It's a great pleasure to be here and see this remarkable discovery with my own eyes," said Fischer.


The artifacts found here provide a deeper understanding of Sumerian culture and the importance of preserving our cultural heritage for future generations. The Sumerians lived in Sumer, which was an ancient civilization that thrived in Mesopotamia from the 4th to 3rd millennium BCE. They were among the earliest civilizations in the world.


According to Dr. Timothy Potts, the director of the Getty Museum, the ancient civilization of Sumerians may not have had the same level of recognition as the ancient Egyptians or Greeks. However, Girsu is a heritage site that holds significant importance and is unfortunately relatively unknown to many people worldwide.

"We are delighted to be part of this project, which is unearthing a 4,500-year-old lost palace and providing important evidence about the Sumerian civilization," said Potts.


The Getty aims to increase knowledge and conservation of global art and culture through collections, exhibitions, research, and publications. The Getty Villa has a special emphasis on the ancient world and has collaborated with the British Museum on the Girsu Project in Iraq. "We look forward to continuing our partnership on this project, which has the potential to unlock many important mysteries of the past," added Potts.


The discoveries made at Girsu demonstrate the importance of preserving ancient sites and artifacts, reminding us that the stories these sites tell are essential to understanding our past. In addition, they also show the power of international collaboration in protecting and promoting our shared cultural heritage.


You can find the study published on Thearchaeologists.org for further reading. It provides an in-depth look at the discoveries made, as well as a deeper understanding of what this site can tell us about the Sumerian people.














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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com


To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav


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