Archaeologists have concluded that the south Mesopotamian city of Ur (in modern Iraq), first established in 3800 BCE, covered 60 acres and was enclosed by a city wall, made of fired bricks. Although it was a desert city, its position between two rivers meant it was well irrigated. By 600 BCE the city’s housing was on a tell (a hill) after centuries of mud brick structures built on top of one another. It is clear from artefacts and site excavations that the city’s main deity was Nanna the moon god, whose shrine was first built as part of a ziggurat, a terraced pyramid, in c. 2100 BCE. Next to the shrine of Nanna was the temple of his consort, Nin-gal. From 612–539 BCE, the New Babylonian kings renovated all the shrines and temples, preserved the royal mausolea and added a further palace and harbour temple. Ur was abandoned c. 539 BCE.
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