Have they found Abraham’s lost city? Huge building complex unearthed in Iraq near ancient civilisation of Ur
- Team from University of Manchester discovers 4,000-year-old complex
- First British dig in Iraq since 1980s thanks to Saddam and invasion
British archaeologists have unearthed a giant complex near the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq.
The area is believed to have been home to Abraham, father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
As the find is 4,000 years old, roughly the same age as Abraham himself, it raises the tantalising possibility of a direct link with one of history’s most significant religious figures
Dig: Archaeologists at work on a site in Iraq near the ancient city of Ur believed to be 4,000 years old
The large city was discovered by a team from the archaeology department of Manchester University, led by Stuart Campbell.
The site is roughly the size of a football field, around 80 metres on each side.
Complexes of that size from 2,000BC are extremely rare, according to Dr Campbell.
One of the most extraordinary archaeological items discovered at the site is a clay plaque of a worshipper approaching a sacred site dressed in a flowing robe.
The dig is a rare example of good news stemming from the invasion of Iraq, as it is the first British excavation in the country for nearly 30 years.
As Saddam Hussein was increasingly cut off from the international community it became more difficult for scholars to entry the country.
And in the early years following the Western invasion of the country, conditions were far too unstable to allow archaeological work.
The Mesopotamian culture of 4,000 years ago is already well known for creating the conditions for the first cities to thrive.
Exquisite objects from the area include the Standard of Ur, a mosaic picture now in the British Museum.
Abraham is said in the Book of Genesis to have been born in a city called Ur of the Chaldees before travelling towards the Holy Land.
It is unclear whether or not this city should be identified with the Mesopotamian civilisation of Ur