The ancient Mesopotamian capital of Uruk is located on an abandoned channel of the Euphrates river about 155 miles south of Baghdad. The site includes an urban settlement, temples, platforms, ziggurats, and cemeteries enclosed in a fortification ramp almost ten kilometers in circumference.
Uruk was occupied as early as the Ubaid period, but began to show its importance in the late 4th millennium BC, when it included an area of 247 acres and was the largest city in the Sumerian civilization. By 2900 BC, during the Jemdet Nasr period, many Mesopotamian sites were abandoned but Uruk included nearly 1,000 acres, and it must have been the largest city in the world.
Uruk was a capital city of various importance for the Akkadian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Seleucid civilizations, and was abandoned only after AD 100. Archaeologists associated with Uruk include William Kennet Loftus in the mid-nineteenth century, and a series of German archaeologists from the Deutsche Oriente-Gesellschaft including Arnold Nöldeke.
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