Mysterious Sumerian temple turned out to be part of an artificial canal | November 21, 2023

Source: British Museum

A team of archaeologists led by specialists from the British Museum analyzed the mysterious structures previously found on the territory of the ancient city of Girsu and came to an unexpected conclusion about their purpose. 4 thousand years ago, they served the ancient Sumerian civilization as a means of salvation from drought, according to an article published in the Arkeonews magazine.

The ancient Sumerian city of Girsu is located near the modern city of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq. An amazing object was discovered here back in the 1920s. It was then identified as the remains of an unusually shaped temple.

New data obtained during the analysis of the structure suggested that the “temple” is actually part of an artificial water channel that the Sumerians invented and built over 4 thousand years ago. Modern scientists note that this was the most advanced technology of the time, and its main purpose was to save the region from drought.

Dr. Sebastian Rey, an archaeologist and project leader in Iraq, explained that people “saw the river channels drying up, silting up one after another” and built the bridge-like contraption. He added that “it was a design against drought and a desperate attempt to save itself during a water crisis.”

Architect Ebru Torun, working in a team of scientists, noted that this is a one-of-a-kind object and there is no other similar example in history. Moreover, until now archaeologists believed that such technologies appeared only in the 18th century AD.

The structure is located on a 19 km long canal. The main canal consisted of two symmetrical buildings about 40 m long, 10 m wide and with walls just under 3.3 m high. The buildings were curved in shape, arranged in curves towards each other. Because the structure crosses a body of water, it has been dubbed “the oldest known bridge in the world.” Before the Iraqi discovery, the oldest was considered to be the Caravan Bridge, located over the Meles River in Izmir, Turkey, dating back to approximately 850 BC.

That is, the design, which directed a 30-meter-wide channel into a 4-meter-wide passage, created the “Venturi” effect, although scientists were not aware of its use at the time. The effect is attributed to the forced drop in pressure and increase in velocity of fluids as they pass through a constricted throat, and can be achieved in practice using devices known as Venturi channels.

Earlier, a giant stone tool was found in Saudi Arabia. The prehistoric ax was discovered during excavations north of Medina. The artifact is a hand ax processed on both sides (an ancient human tool). According to researchers, the age of a biface (an ancient stone ax) measuring 51.3 cm is about 200 thousand years. It is believed that this type of prehistoric tool was usually held with both hands and used for butchering animals. The size of the ax had not only a practical, but also a symbolic meaning, showing others the level of strength and skill of its owner.

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