A team of Italian archaeologists has found a tomb from the 3rd millennium BC in southern Iraq, which was the cradle of the Sumerian civilization during the Bronze Age.
The tomb, excavated in an area of 42 hectares in Abu Tbeirah, located 12 miles from the city of ur, can give an idea of how the Sumerian civilization flourished in southern Mesopotamia, what is now Iraq, from 4,000 to 3,100 BC, before the Akkadian Empire arrived in 2,270 BC.
The Sumerians are regarded as the first civilized population and they were the pioneers of agriculture, industry, commerce, metallurgy, weaving and ceramics.
The tomb found contains the remains of a young man what could have been of royalty, as is clear from their clothes that were ornamented with carnelian beads and semi-precious stones commonly used in Bronze Age for jewelry and decorative arts, archaeologists say.
“The richness of the set is highlighted by three carnelian beads from the Indus Valley dating from the same date”, Explained the Italian philologist and leading archaeologist Franco d'Agostino, a professor at the Sapienza University of Rome.
Baptized as ‘the Tomb of the Little Prince’, it is similar to the tombs excavated in the Royal Cemetery of Ur and in the religious city of Nippur, which is located about 200 kilometers north of Abu Tbeirah.
Further, four bronze vases including one shaped like a boat and a bronze daggerthey were also found in the tomb.
“The study of the tomb has allowed us to hypothesize about the steps and procedures followed to bury the corpse, previously never described in Mesopotamian excavations, and can clarify many aspects of funerary practices in ancient Mesopotamia.", He says.
The security issues following the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, it left archaeologists away from excavations in the country. Before he started digging in Abu Tbeirah last fall, d’Agostino called him “the first foreign excavation mission in southern Iraq since 2003”.
After the successful excavation of 'the Tomb of the Little Prince', Archaeologists are overwhelmed by the positive responses of the Iraqi authorities and they are hopeful that there will be more foreign missions in Iraq.
“After a television interview on the eve of the mission's departure, we were contacted by a spectator who made a donation. It was an injection of energy and confidence. The welcome that we find has been positive in every way, from the archaeological authorities to the police officers who protect the site.”.
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