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086. Tell Fara (ancient: Shuruppak)*

Al Qadishiyah Governorate. In isolated region mid-way between Nippur and Larsa.

A Sumerian city prominent in the Early Dynastic period, from which has come a large quantity of administrative tablets.

Dates:  From Jemdet Nasr period until the end of Ur III, circa 3100–2000 BC

Shuruppak, modern Tall Fa'rah, is an ancient Sumerian city located south of Nippur in what is now south-central Iraq and originally on the bank of the Euphrates River. Excavations there in the first half of the 20th century uncovered three levels of habitation extending in time from the late prehistoric period to the 3rd dynasty of Ur (circa 2112-2004 BC). The most distinctive finds were ruins of well-built houses, along with cuneiform tablets with administrative records and lists of words, indicating a highly developed society already in being toward the end of the 4th millennium BC.

Shurrupak was home to the last dynasty that ruled before the Great Flood; hence Shuruppak was celebrated in Sumerian legend as the scene of the Deluge, which destroyed all humanity except one survivor, the son of that last king, Ziusudra, the Sumerian equivalent of “Noah”.  According to the Sumerian legend, Ziusudra had been commanded by a protecting god to build an ark, in which he rode out the disaster, afterward re-creating man and living things upon the earth, and was himself endowed with eternal life. Ziusudra corresponds with Utnapishtim in the Gilgamesh epic and with the biblical Noah.

Shurrupak reached its greatest extent, about 200 hectares, in the Early Dynastic Period, and from this time come a large quantity of administrative texts which record the management of thousands of workers on agricultural lands, as well as lexical texts and early literary works. Apparently Shurrupak collaborated on large scale projects — building, military — sharing thousands of workers, with other cities like Uruk, Adab, Nippur and Lagash in some kind of league type arrangement.







  31° 46' 38.1721"   
  31.77726° N
  45° 30' 47.0088"     
  45.511° E