Italian scientists find ancient Ur tablets

March 28, 2006

Italian archeologists working in Iraq have announced the discovery of numerous stone tablets from the ancient civilization of Ur.

"This is an exceptional find," team leader Silvia Chiodi told the Italian news service ANSA, noting the tablets were found at an archaeological site not far from the location of the ancient city.

"The most surprising thing is the time span the tablets cover, ranging from 2,700 B.C., the First Dynasty of Ur, to 2,100 B.C., the Third Dynasty," Giovanni Pettinato, an expert on Sumerian civilization, told ANSA. Pettinato surmised that if the tablets were part of a library, there might be thousands of them at the site.

Ur, near the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya, is cited in the Bible as the birthplace of the prophet Abraham, ANSA reported, noting Ur was also the religious center of the Sumerian civilization.

A most famous classic of ancient literature, Gilgamesh, was written at Ur.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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