Area D

 

2016

Area D was opened in 2016 campaign (10 October - 1 December) on the southern slope of Mound A (Fig. 1). The area, 20 x 10 m meters, aimed to identify the last phase of the Sirara high temple of the goddess Nanshe, quoted in the inscribed bricks and cones of Gudea of Lagash, discovered in the past campaign, mostly scattered at the base of the mound on its southern side [publication].

The new trench has been opened from the top of the mound, where the cut of the long and narrow trench Robert Koldewey dug in 1887 has been identified (Fig. 2). The cut (oriented north-east / south-west), one meter wide and extended for the all length of the new trench (10 m), presents at least two earth bulks (around one m wide), left by the German excavator to prevent the collapse of the long and deep narrow trench. The German excavation affected the stratigraphy of the area, specifically the mud-bricks structures that, in fact, have been partially recovered intact to the south (W. 158); it can be supposed that they belong to the last phase of occupation Mound A.

Moving to the south, the monumental base of these mud-bricks walls has been identified, clarifying the method of construction. In fact, W. 158 lies on a huge terrace of pure white compact clay (W. 155), at least 1.80 m wide, directly built on a platform that follows the circular profile of the mound (probably eroded on the edges), made of a white plaster floor, denominated L. 151 (Fig. 3). For what concerns chronology, pottery recovered on the floor of the platform can be dated to the passage between Late Akkadian and Ur III periods, so it perfectly fits in with the time of Gudea (2150-2130 BC). Moreover, on the same floor a Neosumerian clay plaque showing a bull-man holding a ring-pole has been discovered (Fig. 4). The dating of complex structure on the top of Mound A to the II dynasty of Lagash has been definitively proved by the discovery, within the pure clay of the terrace, of a stamped backed-brick, carrying the inscription of Gudea, mentioning the city of Nigin and the construction of the Sirara Temple dedicated to the goddess Nashe.

Further excavations in the next season will focus on the northern part of the mound, where mud-bricks walls seems to be more preserved and consistent and Koldewey’s trench probably didn’t damaged this sector of the temple built by Gudea.

Fig. 1: General view of the new Area D, opened in 2016 campaign, from north-east.

Fig. 2: The cut of the Koldewey trench, opened in 1887, from north-east.

Fig. 3: General view of the high platform and terrace of the Sirara Temple, from north-west.

Fig. 4: The Neosumerian clay plaque discovered in Area D.