Drone mappers identified a 19 kilometer (12-mile) long canal in rural Iraq. Built over it, archaeologists excavated what was at first thought to be a bizarre-shaped temple. However, it turns out that ,4,000-years-ago, ancient Sumerians built “a one-of-a-kind anti-drought machine.”
Located near the modern city of Nasiriyah, in southern Iraq, the ancient city of Girsu was occupied by the Sumerian civilization from the 3rd millennium BC. Dedicated to the war and agriculture god Ningirsu, artifacts recovered from the site have illustrated both the religious and political history of early Mesopotamian society.
A recent dig by the British Museum at Girsu revealed “a mysterious structure,” which in the 1920s was interpreted as an unusually shaped temple. However, members of the museum’s Girsu Project have now announced that the curious discovery was a 4,000-year-old “innovative civilization-saving machine.”
Aerial view of the structure in the ancient city of Girsu (modern Tello). (British Museum)
A One-Of-A-Kind “Anti-Drought Machine”
The British Museum describe the ancient lifesaving device as a “flume” that was used to deliver water to distant locations for agriculture. Ebru Torun, an architect and conservationist working with the British Museum archeologists in Iraq, said “no other example of it exists in history, really, until the present day. It’s absolutely one-of-a-kind.”
Torun said that what is most surprising about the find is that until now archaeologists thought…