4,500-Year-Old Temple Dedicated To Thunder God Discovered In Iraq

(Photo by Asaad NIAZI / AFP) (Photo by ASAAD NIAZI/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Archaeologists have discovered a 4,500-year-old Sumerian temple dedicated to a thunder god in Iraq, the British Museum revealed in February.

Archaeologists discovered the last remains of the once-lost Palace of the Kings of Girsu in modern-day Tello in southern Iraq, the team wrote in a release from the British Museum. Researchers have preliminarily dated the architecture to at least 4,500 years ago in the third millennium BC.

The team used remote sensing, drone photos, and other non-intrusive forms of investigation to uncover the subsurface remains of a huge complex near Tablet Hill. The site is believed to have been ravaged in the 19th and 20th centuries, but it remains a significant discovery.

The palace’s mudbrick walls were identified in autumn 2022, along with more than 200 cuneiform tablets — administrative records from the great city — and discarded spoil heaps from later periods, all of which were taken to the Iraqi Museum in Baghdad. (RELATED: Earliest Evidence Of Human Development Suggests We Were Hunting In 52,000 BC)

One of the largest aspects of the discovery was the main temple Eninnu — the White Thunderbird — within the sanctuary dedicated to Sumerian God Ningirsu. Researchers have long theorized on the temple’s existence after inscriptions referring to it were identified some 140 yeas ago.

The Girsu Project is ongoing, with funding by the J. Paul Getty trust. A live event sharing updates from the site was released on the British Museum’s website, showing the intricate detail inlayed into stone monuments and other key artifacts from the site.