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Ancient Uruk -- Biblical Erech -- Arabic Warka

An Ubaid Period Building at Anu -- One of 37 Uruk Images (Oriental Institute)

Overview: Known today by the Arabic name of Warka and in the Old Testament as Erech. When the city was occupied in ancient times the waters of the Euphrates River flowed close by; today the river flows some 12 miles distant -- having shifted its course through the millennia ...

Uruk was one of the major city-states of Sumer. Excavations by German archaeologists from 1912 onwards have revealed a series of very important structures and deposits of the 4th millennium BC and the site has given its name to the period that suceeeded the Ubaid Culture and preceeded the Jemdet Nasr Period. The Uruk Period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia and in the ensuing Early Dynastic Period it was by far the largest settlement known up to that time.

It seems to have started as two separate settlements -- Kullaba and Eanna -- which coalesced in the Uruk Period to form a town covering circa 80 hectares; at the height of its development in the Early Dynastic period the city walls were circa 9.5 kilometres long -- enclosing a massive 450 hectares and housing some 50,000 people. The city remained important throughout the 3rd millennium BC up until the decline of Sumer itself circa 2000 BC. It remained occupied throughout the following two millennia down to the Parthian Period but only as a minor centre. Uruk was the home of the epic hero Gilgamesh and played an important role in the mythology of Mesopotamia to the end ... (AHSFC)

The Uruk Expansion: Cross Cultural Exchange in Early Mesopotamian Civilization
Guillermo Algaze in Current Anthropology Volume 30:5:1989 (571-608)

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium