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087. Tell Harmal (ancient: Shaduppum)

Baghdad Governorate, on the outskirts of southern Baghdad.

Other cultural heritage sites in or near Baghdad include:

Tell Harmal (ancient: Shaduppum)

Small, heavily fortified city in what is now a suburb of Baghdad, where an early law code was discovered.

Dates: Middle of the 3rd millennium to 2nd millennium BC

Shaduppum was founded in the time of the Akkadian dynasty, and flourished primarily during the 2nd millennium BC, where it seems to have been a heavily fortified  administrative station for the kingdom of Eshnunna. The patron goddess was Nisaba, goddess of writing and scribes, and a twin temple with an entrance flanked by terra cotta lions (now reassembled from many fragments), just inside the city gate, was dedicated to her and her consort Haia.

Numerous cuneiform tablets have been discovered at the site, including a text of the “Laws of Eshnunna”, written in Akkadian and promulgated by Bilalama, ruler of Eshnunna in the first half of the 18th  century (and in contrast to the later Hammurabi laws, with their “eye for an eye” justice, more modern seeming because they prescribed pecuniary compensation. A copy of the laws were kept in the  ’town hall” for reference. The archive included administrative and mathematical texts, including what appears to be an early version of the Pythagoras theorem.

The excavations at Shadappum were carried out there by a female Iraqi archaeologist, Taha Baqir, working with Muhammed Ali Mustafa of the Department of Antiquities. Several Old Babylonian archives containing about 3000 documents were found and the most important public buildings of the ancient city were excavated and reconstructed. Deeper soundings found traces of three or four building levels from the 3rd millennium BC, the Akkadian Period.

  33° 18' 34.5600"
  33.3096° N
  44° 28' 2.1576"   
  44.467266° E

GoogleEarth satellite view of Shaduppum (modern Tell Harmal)

View site photographs of Tell Harmal provided by The Oriental Insitute at the University of Chicago