Archaeological Digs Continue despite Security Chaos

After looking at the Ziggurat from up close, Kouli suggested a visit to the house where the prophet Abraham was born. Abraham’s life story appeared in the book of Genesis and in Quranic stories; he is called the father of the prophets. The house is located in what was possibly a residential complex, 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the Ziggurat. Muslims and Christians still visit it.

In fact, the whole place consists of ruins of houses and buildings in the vast desert. One can see the foundations of brick structures that were covered by sand for hundreds of years.

Among these ruins was a digger who declined to give his name. He told Al-Monitor that in the last few months the archaeological missions found a large number of clay documents inscribed with cuneiform characters as well as pottery and various other tools, which he saw himself.

The site had few visitors, most of them tourists from Turkey and Iran. A number of Iraqis were examining the place and taking pictures. There was a marked absence of signboards explaining what the visitors were looking at.

Al-Monitor contacted archaeological explorer Amer Abdul Razzaq, one of the supervisors of the excavation works. He described the ongoing excavations in Nasiriyah province, saying, “There’s an Italian team currently working in Tel Abu Tabiri in Nasiriyah city center and in Tel Zurghul, located in Diwaniyah province, 55 kilometers [34 miles] northeast of Nasiriyah. There is also a British team digging in Tel Khaibar, located in Batha, 35 kilometers [22 miles] west of Nasiriyah city.”

Abdul Razzaq shared the latest discovery: commercial records that include the distribution and the pricing of grains, dating back to the reign of the Babylonian King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE).

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