About 6200-6500 years ago there existed a civilization located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers near the Persian Gulf. The area was known as Mesopotamia and the city was called Ur. As a result of its geographic location, it had fertile soil and was the perfect place to irrigate the land and raise productive crops as well as domesticate sheep, goats and other animals.
It was known as the ancient city of the Sumerian civilization and also the home of Abraham, father of the Hebrews. Its ruins are between the city known today as Baghdad in Iraq at the head of the Persian Gulf. The ancient site is located 140 miles south of Babylonia.
When archaeologists excavated mounds in what is now Iraq, they uncovered the ancient civilizations of Assyria, Babylonia, Sumeria and Ur. These excavations along with others, confirmed and expanded on historical accounts from the Bible.
The first settlers were known as Ubaidians however the credit for establishing the civilization should go to the Sumerians who were the second settlers. With them they brought art and literature which far surpassed that of the Ubaidians. Other cities that were settled were Ukak, Eridu and Kish, but Ur was the largest.
The first king of Ur was Mes-Anni-Padda who was succeeded by his son. During their rule Ur was constantly at war with other states of Mesopotamia and an attack by raiders from Akkad ended the First Dynasty. It then entered a stage comparable to the Dark Ages and it remained that way until a new king came to power. His name was Ur-Nammu and under his rule, a government was established which enforced its laws and rules strictly. Time was taken to revitalize life and also to promote the patron moon God, Nannar. Temples were built including the largest and most beautiful of them all, the Ziggurat. This along with an increase in irrigation and agriculture ended the kingdom's first depression.
The Third Dynasty ended when northern barbarians attacked and Ur became occupied by Babylonians but it was eventually ridden with drought and was covered by many layers of sand.
The ruins were found and first excavated by the British consul J.E. Taylor who partly uncovered the Ziggurat of Nanna. The British museum began excavations in 1919 and were later joined by the University Museum of Pennsylvania. The expedition completely excavated the Ziggurat, the entire temple area at Ur and parts of the residential and commercial quarters of the city. The most spectacular discovery was the Royal Cemetary which contained art treasures of gold, silver, bronze, and precious gemstones.
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