UR, Iraq (NBC/RTV) — British archeologists believe they have discovered the 4,000-year-old biblical home of Abraham in southern Iraq.
The arrangement of rooms around a large courtyard was located using satellite imagery and is thought to be an administrative complex for one of the world’s earliest cities.
Dr. Jane Moon, who heads up the archeologists from Manchester University, said it’s a big discovery.
“I think the significant find is the site itself and the big building that is on it,” said Moon, Manchester University Excavation Team director. “We have satellite photographs. We are lucky to have those. When I worked here before in the 70s and 80s, you couldn’t get satellite photos. So we have some idea of what we have got, which is very large; it has got to be a public building.”
Moon said this will be interesting.
“Although such buildings have been excavated in the past, it was long time ago and not excavated using modern techniques,” she said. “So that’s what is interesting, and so we are starting to uncover this bit by bit. And we are just beginning to understand what it looks like, and the next thing we want to do is to understand how it works.”
As for how far the part of the building they’re focusing on dates back:
“The part of it that we are actually working on dates to the early second Millennium BC, probably between 1900 and 1750. One of the things we have to do is try and pin that down a bit more. That is one of our objectives, and that is probably the date of the massive building. But we do know the site was occupied before that. We have little bits of pottery that tell us that there was occupation at least a 1,000 years earlier and perhaps a couple of thousand before that, even.”
She offers insight about the integrity of that space:
“Those parts will probably have been quite substantially disturbed by the later occupation, so it is probably the later occupation that is going to tell us most of what we want to know. It is a very significant period; it is a time of terrific political upheaval in southern Iraq.”