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Ancient City of Nippur Mesopotamia

Nippur is an ancient city in Mesopotamia in an area now part of south-eastern Iraq, south of Baghdad. Nippur was an important city for religious reasons, since it was the home of the supreme god and creator of mankind, Enlil, a storm god, for whom a ziggurat and temple were built. Additionally, whoever controlled Nippur could claim the politically important title of King of Akkad and Sumer. Tens of thousands of Sumerian and Akkadian tablets have been found in Nippur.

The first American archaeological expedition to Mesopotamia excavated at Nippur from 1889 to 1900; the work was resumed in 1948. The eastern section of the city has been called the scribal quarter because of the many thousands of Sumerian tablets found there; in fact, the excavations at Nippur have been the primary source of the literary writing of Sumer. Excavation in 1990 uncovered an Akkadian tomb and a large temple to Bau (Gula), the Mesopotamian goddess of healing.

Located in the heart of Mesopotamia on a branch of the Euphrates. Enlil's city, the site of His sanctuary: E-kur; literally house of the land. During the lengthy centuries of Nippur's lively social life-span from early 3rd millennium to mid-2nd millennium, no Mesopotamian states attempted to use the city as their political capital, while pretty much all sought their royal legitimacy by being recognized at Nippur. The city, its holy status, was too powerful to be politically challenged.

Enmebaragesi was one of the early kings of Kish who achieved a level of domination over areas of Sumer, and one of his outstanding achievements was the construction at Nippur of the Temple of Enlil, the leading deity of the Sumerian pantheon, ruler of the cosmos and only subject to the god An. In fact, in Sumerian cuneiform, the local name of the city, Nibru, and the god Enlil are the same. Nippur gradually became the spiritual and cultural centre of Sumer, and remained so into the Amorite period in southern Mesopotamia.

Beads from the Akkadian period (ca. 2350 B.C.) site of Nippur in Iraq have been the subject of extensive analytical investigation. Among the artifacts studied are two beads that are the earliest recovered from ancient Southwest Asia. One is a soda-lime-silicate composition with 30-micron calcium-silicate crystals, evidence of an unusually long heat treatment. The other is a lead-silicate, copper green composition with six phases present, including calcium-magnesium silicates and yellow lead-stannate.

This statue of a standing woman with her hands clasped in front of her chest was found in the plasterings of a mud-brick bench located in one of the cellars of the Nippur temple of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of abundance. Her garment is draped over her left shoulder and falls in folds indicated by two incised lines along the border of the otherwise smooth fabric.



 

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