Other Archaeological Sites / The Neolithic of the Levant (500 Page Book Online)
Ancient Kish Including Tell Uhaimir and Tell Ingharra in Sumer
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Kish in the Dictionary of the Ancient Near East (2000)
Kish is the collective name for at least 40 tells (mounds) arranged in an oval measuring 1.5 by 5 miles. The important mounds are called Uhaimir and Ingharra. Occupations span the period from circa 3000 BC to AD 650. The major excavation was the joint Oxford-Field Museum of Chicago Expedition of 1923-1933.
Situated on an ancient branch of the Euphrates River 80 kilometers south of Baghdad in Iraq, Kish was one of the city-states of the Sumer civilization. Occupation began in the Jemdet Nasr Phase and the city was of major importance in the early 3rd millennium BC. It declined in importance later but remained in occupation until the Sassanian Period (224–651 AD). One of the most important monuments excavated is an Early Dynastic palace, one of the earliest indications anywhere in Sumer of the growing power of kings which was to challenge and eventually over take that of the Temple [religious] organizations during the course of the Early Dynastic Period. Important remains extant (still in existence) at Kish include two temples of the Neo-Babylonian Period perhaps built by Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC) [AHSFC].
The Field Museum of Chicago
Kish was one of the most important cities of ancient Iraq, the site of crucial political developments in the late fourth and early third millennia BC in what is generally acknowledged to be one of the oldest literate urban civilizations in the world. Even after its political supremacy passed its geographical position ensured a continuing role in the history of Mesopotamia to the Islamic conquest. The excavations of the joint Oxford-Field Museum of Chicago Expedition from 1923-33 were on a very large-scale, never likely to be repeated and were never fully published. A final report only exists for one of the six major areas of excavation. This book seeks to fill the gap as far as is now possible by offering a comprehensive survey of the results integrated with information from other excavations in Iraq. A concluding essay attempts a history of Kish.
Of particular interest are the results of studying the archaeological remains contemporary with the very early secular kingship exercised from Kish circa 3000-2500 BC including the 'chariot graves' and two very early palaces; a well equipped cemetery of the Persian occupation of Iraq in the fifth to fourth centuries BC; [and] a series of large Sasanian buildings, two with a unique group of stucco decoration.
Topography and Terminology: The archaeological site of Kish in central Iraq lies about 12 kilometres due east of ancient Babylon and about 14 kilometres north-east of the modern town of Hillah on the Euphrates. Here, about 2 kilometres north of the modern cut of the Shatt An-Nil canal, are at least forty tells extending in oval formation over an area of about 8 kilometres from west to east and 2 1/2 kilometres from north to south. Some are large and grouped in major clusters, some tiny, some isolated. Archaeologists and ancient historians now refer to them all as Kish, ancient name of the city whose primary shrines lay about the standing ruin of an eroded ziggurat known locally as 'Tell Uhaimir'. Until the ancient topography of the whole area is much better known from documentary sources, Kish suffices as a short-hand description for many closely related settlements extending back in time long before the use of writing and running down to the Mongol invasion, long after the name of Kish had passed from record. It is vital to emphasize at the outset that the name is only conventional. From at least the Third Dynasty of Ur circa 2100 BC the area of 'Tell Ingharra' and 'Mound W' east of 'Uhaimir' was known as Hursagkalama. It has always to be borne in mind that the Early Dynastic buildings uncovered on 'Mound A' on 'Tell Ingharra' and in 'area P' may not have lain in the city of Kish mentioned in the earliest Sumerian records. That may well have been confined to a much more restricted area around 'Tell Uhaimir'.
Chapter 1 --- THE EXPLORATION OF KISH 1811-1933
I. Early Exploration: 1811-1923 (1) Notes in parentheses can be found in the PDF after each chapter ...
It was a quest for the eastern limits of ancient Babylon in the early nineteenth century that turned the attention of travellers to a group of mounds northeast of Hillah later to be identified with the site of the ancient city of Kish (2). Early in the seventeenth century Pietro della Valle had been the first to point out that the real site of Babylon lay not at Aqar Quf nor at Birs-Nimrud, as earlier visitors had supposed, but in the vicinity of Hillah (3). This identification was generally accepted in the eighteenth century by such scholars as d'Anville and Niebuhr, though the latter's misplaced location of the remnants of Herodotus's 'Temple of Belus' at Birs-Nimrud probably did more than anything else to stimulate the abortive quest for 'Greater Babylon' which so pre-occupied travellers for the next hundred years. It was inevitable that these men should start from the evidence for the topography of Babylon available in classical sources. Unfortunately the oldest and most important source, that of Herodotus (4), offered an enormous figure for the circumference of the city, 4 x 120 stades or about 95 kilometres, which long bedevilled discussions about the city's size and dictated the widely ranging travels of scholars trying to relate this description to the mounds of the Hillah region (5).
The mound of Uhaimir first appeared in the literature of the subject as a distant landmark on Babylon's eastern horizon noted by C.J. Rich (1787-1821) on December 20th 1811 as he returned from his first visit to Babylon. '... All along the road to Mohawil Khan are vestiges of ruins: in particular I observed three mounds. Al Hheimar is three hours from Mohawil upon the same line. It is a high conical mound with bricks like those found at Babylon' (6). Rich, Resident of the East India Company in Baghdad since 1808, laid the foundations for the systematic study of Babylon by his thorough examination of the site including mapping and primitive excavations and by rapid publication of his conclusions which were to have a remarkable impact (7). Although Rich does not appear to have visited Uhaimir, at least not before 1818, his reports of the site were based on information from men who had such as Dr. Hine, the physician to the Residency and Captain Lockett of the Royal Navy, whom Buckingham records were the first to visit Uhaimir (8). His fuller description called attention to a feature of the mound which has persistently intrigued visitors: 'The base is a heap of rubbish on the top of which is a mass of red brick-work between each layer of which is a curious white substance which pulverizes on the least touch. I have not yet visited Al Hheimar but those who have conjectured ... that it must originally have been layers of reeds' (9).
Rich's official position in Baghdad offered him excellent opportunity not only to pursue his own researches but also to promote those undertaken by others; a responsibility he magnificently sustained (10). He assisted J.S. Buckingham (1786-1855), the first European traveller both to visit Uhaimir and write an account of it himself. Buckingham left the Residency to visit the neighbourhood of Babylon disguised as the Arab guide of Bellino, the Residency's secretary, on July 24th 1816. Two days later on July 26th he explored the ruins of Babylon and set out for Uhaimir to the east (11). Langdon (12) believed that there was a deficiency in the dates of Buckingham's published diary at this point; but there are no grounds for this assumption. Buckingham was clearly a tenacious and inexhaustible, if not impatient traveller. Early on July 26th he explored Babil and the other local mounds, then about 9 a.m. he left for Uhaimir, returning to Hillah at sunset. July 27th was spent at Hillah recovering and July 28th in visiting Birs-Nimrud. In planning his ride to Uhaimir he may well have been misled by Rich's ignorance of the actual distance from Babil and the nature of the intervening terrain. The journey to Uhaimir was as eventful and unpleasant as might be expected at such a time of year in this part of Iraq. Indeed Bellino abandoned the quest before Uhaimir was actually reached and even the intrepid Buckingham, accompanied belatedly by his Kurdish escort, spent only a few minutes on the mound in the worst possible conditions of heat and dust which he graphically relates. Consequently his description of the site was not made on the spot: 'But though I did not make the same copious notes upon the spot as I had done on every other part of the ruins of Babylon, I was enabled on the following day at Hillah in a quiet apartment of the khan at which we lodged to reduce to writing what was then fresh in my recollection' (13). In such circumstances Buckingham's report is naturally rather superficial and only its main points need detain us here before passing to the fuller and virtually contemporary account by Ker Porter. Buckingham described with estimates of its dimensions, the shape and form of the mound 'Al Hheimar', the brickwork visible on the summit, the layers of white matter in the brickwork and the surrounding mounds. In his brief visit he saw no inscribed bricks though he dug into the mound for 'fresh bricks with their white cement' (14). He concluded that 'The ruins of Babylon may be said therefore to terminate at this spot which marks the extreme eastern boundary of the city' (15) and presented a detailed argument to support the view that 'this mass of Al Hheimar was part of the ancient city wall' (16).
There may be no doubt that Sir Robert Ker Porter (1777-1842), artist by training, traveller and lecturer by inclination was the most observant of the early visitors to the site of Kish (17) which he was to exclude from the area of Greater Babylon. Porter rode over to Uhaimir from Hillah on November 22nd 1818. The excellence of his description of the site at this time may best be left to speak for itself:
'Having ridden an hour (from Hillah) we took a direction due east crossing at different distances three other canals in a course from north to south; the last of the three was very wide and not more than a mile from Al Hymer, the whole of which intervening space is covered with broken bricks, pottery, glass and all the other usual relics of Babylonian ruins. When we reached the great mound itself which had long been a conspicuous object above the horizon I found it to be pyramidal with numerous dependant smaller mounds. Its base was nearly circular; in circumference 276 yards and in height about 60 (presumably feet). One third of its elevation is composed of unburnt brick, the rest of the pile of that which has passed through the fire. A large and solid mass of the latter surmounts the whole, standing clear from any of the loose rubbish which so abundantly encumbers its base. The fire-baked bricks on the outside by some cause have become extremely soft; and I should ascribe that effect to their complete exposure to the external air, they there break with ease on the slightest force; but on penetrating into the solid building I found them as hard as any others of Babylonia. In broad square surface they exceeded those of the Birs and the Kasr, nearly three quarters of an inch; but the thickness was not more than in those of the Birs. The whole of this mass as it stands on its rounded ruin-encumbered foundation presents four straight faces but unequal and mutilated looking towards the cardinal points. That to the south measures 39 feet, the north 37, the east 48 and the west 51. Through them all the usual air-channels traverse each other. The courses of the bricks differ in this building from any I had hitherto remarked, a layer of clay only seeming to be their cement; though at the unequal distances of four, five, six or seven bricks a bright white substance appears in some places an inch thick as if spread between them (this is discussed with a chemical analysis and adjudged to be 'the common bed of reeds') ... I closely examined the broken fragments of brick-work below and found only quantities of bitumen. The burnt bricks I have already described as forming the solid summit of the mound are very coarsely finished; but the masses found at its foot in different places are of fine clay of the best kiln-baked fabric. They differ in size from any others I have seen, being fourteen inches long, twelve and three quarters broad and about two and a half thick; those I had examined in the great piles of the Birs, the Kasr, etcetera usually measuring thirteen inches square and three in thickness. During my examination of Al Hymer I was so fortunate as to obtain an entire brick of this beautiful construction; and found its inscription also varying from those of the preceding piles; hence I may call it an unique specimen. It contains ten lines (Ker Porter's plate LXXVIIa) of cuneiform letters in an upright column (here follows an outdated discussion of this inscription of Adad-apla-iddina)... Independent of the specimen of ten lines which produced this digression we picked up other relics of the ruin; and amongst them several broken pieces of jaspar, red and green of various forms, all nicely polished as having belonged to former objects of ornament. Mr. Bellino found a fragment of black marble containing an inscription (Ker Porter's Plate LXXVIIh).In 1827 Captain Robert Mignan of the East India Company travelled from Basra to Baghdad by boat up the Tigris and then explored in more detail the region round Babylon. He was attracted to Uhaimir, again as part of the quest for Babylon's eastern limits which, like Buckingham, he believed lay in this area. His enthusiasm seems to have been damped by his actual encounter with the site: 'At a considerable distance to the northward and eastward of El Hamir, a very large assemblage of mounds, the remains of some extensive buildings, are divided by a canal running south. The ground surrounding this spot is covered with nitre and cut by countless canal beds of great antiquity; while very visible vestiges of ancient edifices exist: but the place being so far removed from the site of the venerable city and seeing no end to my researches if attempting to prosecute them further to the eastward, which I well knew would have ended in disappointment from the unsettled and unsafe state of the country; I was induced, however reluctantly, to retrace my steps to Hillah' (19). His account of Uhaimir is cursory and is not to be compared with Ker Porter's a decade earlier. Nor are the passing references in other travellers who saw the site in the next twenty years (20).
Henry Layard (1817-1894), as might be expected, was the first to realize the true significance of the mound of Uhaimir, though it is not absolutely clear whether he visited the site. The tone of his description suggests that he did, probably between October 1850 and January 1851, whilst he was conducting excavations at Babylon. The description he published in Nineveh and Babylon in 1853 is characteristically concise and clear:
'About two hours and a half or eight miles to the north-east of Hillah a mound scarcely inferior in size to those of Babylon rises in the plain. It is called El Hymer, meaning according to the Arabs the red from its colour. The ruin has assumed a pyramidal form but it is evidently the remains of a solid square structure consisting, like Birs Nimroud, of a series of terraces or platforms. It may be conjectured therefore that it was a sacred edifice built upon the same general plan as all the temples of Babylonia and Assyria. The basement or substructure appears to have been of sundried brick; the upper part and probably the casing of the lower, of bricks burnt in the kiln. Many of the latter are inscribed with the name and titles of Nebuchadnezzar. Although the masonry is solid and firmly bound together it is not united by a white cement like that of the Mujelibe. The same tenacious mud that was used for making the bricks has been daubed, as far as I could ascertain, between each layer. The ruin is traversed like the Birs by square holes to admit air. 'Around the centre structure are scattered smaller mounds and heaps of rubbish covered with the usual fragments of pottery, glass and bricks'. (21).Before Layard's description of Uhaimir had appeared in print two members of the Expedition scientifique et artistique de Mesopotamie et de Medie, its leader Fresnel (1795-1855) and the young Jules Oppert (1825-1905), later Professor of Assyriology at the College de France, had undertaken the first formal excavations on the site in October 1852. Since in his report of this work Oppert made certain definite advances on previous knowledge of the site it is worth reproducing at length, particularly when Langdon in his account (22) was not entirely fair in his summary of Oppert's work. Oppert may have been mistaken in his views about the place of Uhaimir and the local mounds, which he identified as Cutha, in Greater Babylon, but apart from his excavations at Uhaimir he was the first to explore 'El-khazneh' and 'Tell-el-Bendar' and also to provide a sketch map of the site. Tragically the antiquities he discovered were lost in the Tigris in May 1853 whilst in transit to Basra. Oppert's catalogue survived; but it is far too cryptic to offer any real information about the finds (23). Only three entries, possibly a fourth, relate to Uhaimir. These record a carnelian amulet, perhaps a Pazuzu head, a fragment of an inscribed black stone cylinder and a fragment of a large cuneiform inscription on black stone, finely written, which may be identified as part of an Old Babylonian inscription like those already known from a piece published in copy by Ker Porter and later amplified by the finds of the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition (24). A Neo-Assyrian (?) rock crystal cylinder seal catalogued as from Cutha may also be from somewhere at Kish since Oppert believed this to be the site of Cutha (25).
As usual Oppert and party started out for Uhaimir
... Although Oppert was clearly aware of the inscription of Adad-apla-iddina found by Ker Porter on Uhaimir he was unable to read it. Its full implications do not appear to have been realised or at least were not put into print until 1874 when George Smith published a lecture he had given in November of the previous year to the Society for Biblical Archaeology. He then spoke of 'Kisu ... a great town in Babylonia now represented by the mounds of Hymer' (27). A few months before his lecture Smith had himself visited the site:
'0n the 19th March (1873) I left Hillah and rode out into the desert to see the ruins of Hymer. Here was a tower in stages similar to that at Birs Nimrud but of much smaller dimensions. Some excavations have been made with no result; the place as usual not having been investigated on any scientific plan. One of our party found here a fragment of alabaster with a cuneiform inscription ...' (28).The identification of Uhaimir with the site of ancient Kish was followed in the next thirty years by such scholars as Delitsch, Hommel and Hilprecht (29) but it seemed to be seriously challenged in 1906 when Weissbach argued, not unreasonably in view of his evidence, that Opis and Kish had been closely associated cities on the Tigris (30). Three years later the problem was finally resolved in a masterly note by Thureau-Dangin who showed from the textual evidence not only that Uhaimir had formed part of ancient Kish but also, despite apparent evidence to the contrary, that Kish had then been on the Euphrates (31).
In the meanwhile the mounds east of Uhaimir had been further investigated. In January 1885 William Hayes Ward, Director of the Wolfe Expedition to Babylonia (1884-5), had paid a brief visit to the site. His short record of this trip describes excavations not mentioned elsewhere:
(Entry for January 21st 1885) '... At 2.23 leaving caravan; Hayes, Noorian and I started with two guides for Tell Chemir; at 2.35 crossed an old canal; at 2.41 reached Tel-el-Hazreh or Shan-el-Huzrieh ('glory of the Treasures'), a low mound covered with ordinary broken pottery, black stone, green and blue glaze, glass, bricks and slag. Daoud (Thoma) had dug a little way into the mound but found nothing. Here we stopped ten minutes and then went to Cheimir.Daoud Thoma was Rassam's head overseer of excavations at Babylon. In his own account of work at Babylon in 1879-1880 Rassam does not refer specifically to these excavations though they may be covered by the general statement that 'Besides the excavations I carried on at Birs Nimroud, in the mound of Ibraheem-Alk-haleel and Babylon I tried other small mounds in the neighbourhood, both on the eastern and western sides of the Euphrates' (33). Ward's diary is the first record of the word En-'Urrah (later Ingharra) though it was sometime before it was established in the literature. de Genouillac referred to the main mound in this area as Tell du Sud-Est' and Langdon could only trace the name as far back as the post World-War I maps of the Geographical section of the British Military Survey of Iraq (34). For over thirty years after Thoma's excavations the mounds of Kish were a prey to clandestine excavators who seem to have recovered numerous tablets before the first systematic excavations at the site by a French expedition in 1912 led by Henri de Genouillac.
de Genouillac accompanied by his architect M. Raoul Drouin opened his excavations at Uhaimir on 28th February 1912 (35). Attention was first concentrated on the Ziggurat, the rooms round its base and the areas where there was evidence of clandestine excavation in the low mounds to the west of the Ziggurat. When sandstorms interrupted this work soundings were made on the tell adjoining the excavator's camp to the north. de Genouillac's 'Tell du Campement' (36) was the 'Tell Hudhr' of earlier writers and Tell 'I' of the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition. Then attention was switched to Ingharra where all efforts for more than a month were concentrated on clearing the small wing of a large Neo-Babylonian edifice then called a palace. At the same time Bandar was investigated. Towards the end of the season the excavators returned to the areas of earlier clandestine excavation in the vicinity of Uhaimir that had produced the most small finds and tablets. At the end of April increasing heat and declining funds brought work to a close. A second season planned for the winter of 1913-14 with a larger team of French specialists was frustrated by the outbreak of war and the subsequent creation of the Kingdom of Iraq as a British Mandate territory. Owing to difficulties in studying the finds, which had been sent to Istanbul as required by Ottoman Law, de Genouillac was unable to publish his report until 1925. By then the Oxford-Field Museum Expedition had already undertaken three seasons of excavations at Kish. de Genouillac inserted a short footnote in his report (37) bitterly criticizing Langdon for the way he had launched the new expedition with little or no regard for the Frenchman's earlier efforts.
Chapter 9: ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY: THE CITY OF KISH Circa 3000 BC to AD 650
The emergence of Kish as an influential city-state in central Iraq in the very early third millennium B.C. may be reconstructed tentatively, first from the relevant entries in the Sumerian King List, then from the 'historical' epics which form one of the main genre of later Sumero-Akkadian literature, supplemented by the meagre information which may be gleaned from isolated contemporary or near contemporary royal inscriptions. Kish was never again to achieve the supremacy which was hers during this the earliest formative stage of Mesopotamian history. For a long time afterwards her name bestowed so much prestige that it was adopted by rulers of other cities so long as they could claim that Kish acknowledged their overlordship, even if it was not their capital city.
Although there is already clear evidence both from Uhaimir and Ingharra for occupation in the Ubaid Period the earliest recognizable settlements on the site of Kish belong to the later Proto-literate or Jamdat Nasr Period when two small villages along a natural or slightly altered water course rapidly grew into an urban settlement. Among his finds from Kish de Genouillac published a stone plaque carved in low relief with the facade of a shrine and two figures, one either pouring a libation over the other or perhaps striking him (1). Stylistically this plaque belongs to the Jamdat Nasr period rather than to Uruk IV. It is particularly unfortunate that de Genouillac gave no details of the circumstances in which this object was found. It is the oldest sculptured stone yet found at Kish and may show a very early ruler of the city. The inscribed archaic limestone tablet found out of context in palace A, an archaic tablet from the Plano-convex Building, a fragmentary archaic inscription on pink limestone and one or two tablets of Jamdat Nasr type found out of context on Ingharra are isolated indications of a fully developed administration at Kish by the last quarter of the fourth millennium B.C. Within two or three hundred years the settlement had grown physically to a position whence its rulers could establish themselves as major political figures in southern Mesopotamia where there was already a distinct long established tradition of city government (2).
The reason for the especial predominance of Kish as early as this may only be guessed at. The narrow area of land round Kish, where even in ancient times the rivers were no more than thirty or forty miles apart, would always have been a crucial area to control, dominating as it did the sources of water for irrigation to the south and the main routes of communication (3). Easy access to the main waterways moreover facilitated military penetration of the south either by river and canals or along their banks. Indeed Gelb has suggested that the emergence of a unit larger than the original city-states in the south organized around the so-called 'Nippur amphictyony was a response to the establishment of a strong political unit in the north around Kish and to the threat of invasion by Semites from the north (4). Whilst virtually all the earliest recorded kings in the south bear Sumerian names, some of the early rulers of Kish (Kalibum -- Zuqaqip -- Samuk and Tizkar) have Semitic names. Ingharra has yielded a number of Akkadian written 'archaic kudurru' fragments dating to the Early Dynastic III period (5). In the south Jacobsen has seen secular kingship emerging gradually from the custom of electing ad hoc warleaders much in the manner of Israel under the Judges (6). If a West Semitic tradition was paramount at Kish from very early the precocious emergence there of a powerful secular kingship may have derived more immediately from the exploitation of a tribal system by singularly forceful individuals in the ruling family or group; a political pattern familiar in more recent Arab history.
Kish was enshrined in Mesopotamian tradition as the city which first exercised political supremacy over Sumer after the Flood: 'The Flood then swept over (the land). After the Flood had swept over (the land) the kingship had descended from heaven (a second time) and Kish became (the seat) of Kingship' (7). The list of ante-diluvian kings with which the canonical Sumerian King List begins seems to derive from a separate tradition which was never stabilized in the way the main list was; though the name of the cities of Sumer which then exercised the kingship and their order is reasonably consistent in the surviving sources (8). In order these were Eridu -- Patibira ('Canal') or Badtibira ('Fortress of the Smiths') -- Larak -- Sippar and Shuruppak (Fara).
The first ruler of Kish whose activities are recorded in any form is Etana: 'the shepherd, he who ascended to heaven, who made firm all the lands'; the thirteenth name in the First Dynasty of Kish according to the King List but probably first after the Flood in the genuine Kish tradition. The series of Akkadian rulers, many with animal names, between the Flood and Etana were almost certainly inserted in this position by a later editor of the list for the Etana epic clearly states that he was not only first King of Kish but also first king of all (9). Hallo has presented a different restoration by breaking the first dynasty of Kish into two or more parallel series of names, one beginning with Mashkakatu ('Harrow'), another with Kalibum and a third with Etana (10). The King List's comment on Etana is twofold, on the one hand historical in its implication that he established some form of suzerainty over a wide area, on the other purely legendary in its reference to his quest for the 'plant of birth in heaven'. The mythological information the editor clearly derived from a tradition current when he wrote in the later third millennium B.C., but so far known only from an Akkadian recension of the early second millennium B.C. The main theme of this very popular legend is perhaps illustrated on a number of cylinder seals of the Akkadian period which show a mortal rising to heaven on an eagle's back (11). It is not until Enmebaragesi, last but one of the 1st Dynasty at Kish, that there appears a name, a Sumerian one, which is also found on a contemporary inscription.
A fragmentary votive inscription bearing this ruler's name was found in the Temple Oval at Khafajah in an archaeological context dated to Early Dynastic II (12). On another sherd of a large alabaster vessel of unknown origin, now in the Iraq Museum, the name appears again, this time followed by the title 'King of Kish' (13). According to a Sumerian legend Aka, son of Enmebaragesi, engaged in conflict with Gilgamesh, King of Uruk; though legends current in the time of Shulgi, King of Ur circa 2090 B.C. attributed the start of this war to Enmebaragesi himself (14). It seems that Aka was forced to submit to Gilgamesh (15). This is the first real indication that Kish was closely involved with her troops in the internal affairs of Sumer. The legend implies that a vital part was played in Kish's supremacy by riverborne armies striking swiftly and unexpectedly downstream. The rulers of the city had clearly established some form of hegemony over Uruk as part of an increasing role in Sumerian life for Enmebaragesi is also credited in the so-called Tummal inscription with building the Temple of Enlil at Nippur. Tummal was the area at Nippur consecrated to the goddess Ninlil. Aka, following his father's policies, made the 'Tummal pre-eminent and brought Ninlil to the Tummal' (16). The conflict with Uruk marked an important stage in the establishment of the imperial ambitions of the rulers of Kish for this city, whose interests extended far beyond the borders of Mesopotamia well into Iran (17), had already long been established as an influential power in the south. Indeed the King List records a victory by Enmebaragesi over Elam (18). A version of the Kesh Temple Hymn on tablets found at Abu Salabikh, dated to Early Dynastic IIIA, records that 'the king of Kish put a stone bowl in place in the temple'. This is another reflection, almost contemporary, of a time when Kish controlled Sumer at least as far south as the region of Nippur and Adab, the general area in which Kesh is thought to have been (19).
Both Enmebaragesi and Aka may be dated early in Early Dynastic II in Diyala archaeological terms or possibly to the very end of I. Although some of the earliest burials found in the 'Y' sounding are contemporary with these rulers, the cart-burials are later. Within the next generation or so Kish, apparently subject to Ur after Aka's death, declined in political power. At a time when so much depended on the energy and ability of individual rulers this is hardly surprising. The days of Kish's greatest influence over Sumer were already over by Early Dynastic IIIA. But the reflection of her former power survived in the title 'King of Kish' now proudly borne by a number of rulers from other cities who had exercised authority over Kish at some time.
The first known to us was Mesilim, who may originally have been the ruler of the city of Der, not far to the west of Kish (20). A macehead inscribed for him was found at [modern day] Tello [Lagash], other votive inscriptions were found at Adab and he was arbitrator in a boundary dispute between Lagash and Umma (21). These meagre evidences suffice to show that he exercised a widely ranging authority over central and southern Mesopotamia, similar to that established in earlier generations by the native rulers of Kish whose title he assumed as a mark of his imperium. In doing this there is no reason to believe that the contemporary representative of the native dynasty was thereby dethroned. He probably continued to rule on as a vassal. Not only the evidence of the King List but other isolated inscriptions of the later Early Dynastic period bear witness to a continuing line of local rulers (22). Among the records of a ruler's household of Early Dynastic IIIA found at Fara there is reference to '10 measures of varnish (for) the Chiefbuilder of Kish' (23). To this period also belongs the administrative tablet found during excavations in palace A. The man who left his name on the inlaid frieze of palace A, whether a suzerain or a native ruler, also ruled at Kish (24).
Mesilim was not the only influential figure about this time to claim suzerainty over Kish for the excavations at Nippur have revealed another ruler unmentioned in the King List, a victor over Elam who used the title 'King of Kish'. This title alone appears on a battered stone statuette but an Ur III copy of a votive text of the same ruler reveals more about him. It reads: 'To Inanna [Goddess of Fertility], Enna-il the son of A-Imdugud (sic) having smashed Elam, dedicated (this object)' (25). This may in some way be connected with the fact that the dynasty of Awan, situated north of Susa, was overthrown by the founder of the 2nd Dynasty of Kish according to the King List (26).
Kish was also about this time in the course of Early Dynastic IIIA briefly subject to Ur under their Kind Mesannepada, who founded the city's first dynasty and later assumed the title 'King of Kish' (27). Ur's authority over Kish seems to have been short-lived for neither of his immediate successors (A'annepada nor Meskiagnuna) claimed the title though according to the Tummal Inscription both controlled Sumer as least as far north as Nippur. This period saw a revival in the fortunes of Kish before she again became subject to foreign powers.
Nothing is yet known of the first two rulers of the 2nd Dynasty of Kish (Su-Suda or Dadasig). The third Mamagal (Magalgal) may be identified with a ruler who appears in a later Omen text (28) as Magalgal, the skipper 'who exercised emperorship; in the midst of the city a ... snake killed him'. Two things are interesting about this text. The description of the ruler as a skipper or some kind of sailor reflects the early importance of Kish's position on the Euphrates; and the reference to 'emperorship', the political role so intimately associated with the city's rulers.
The next phase in the history of Kish, Early Dynastic IIIB, suffers not so much from a lack of evidence as from uncertainties over interpretation of what has survived. In the battle scene depicted on the so-called 'stela of Vultures' which Eannatum of Lagash erected to commemorate his victory over Umma, a fallen foe threatened directly by Eannatum's spear is labelled 'King of Kish'. Jacobsen has restored the damaged name as Kalbum, referred to in the King List as fourth ruler of the 2nd Dynasty of Kish (29). The chronology of Eannatum's reign is uncertain and open to a number of interpretations (30). There may be no doubt however that at some point in his reign, in order to stabilize his power over Sumer, it was necessary to defeat Kish -- an old ally of his city's arch enemy Umma -- and [to also] frustrate renewed efforts by the northern city to exert its influence in Sumerian politics. Once Eannatum had achieved his aim he assumed the title 'King of Kish' or as he phrased it 'To Eannatum the ensi of Lagash whom Ningirsu had conceived ... Inanna, because she loved him, gave the kingship of Kish in addition to the ensiship of Lagash' (31).
Many years ago Poebel reconstructed an inscription which recorded a victory by Enshakushanna, likely to have been ruler of Ur and Uruk, over a king of Kish (32). If this ruler can be identified with the Inbi-Ishtar listed by the King List in the 2nd Dynasty of Kish subsequent to Kalbum, as has been suggested, this event must have taken place after the reign of Eannatum. In any event Inbi-Ishtar was captured and the city of Kish was sacked by her southern conqueror. Uruk was to maintain its domination over Kish under a subsequent ruler Lugal-kinishedudu. Originally ensi of Uruk, he concluded a treaty of brotherhood with Entemena of Lagash, which with Umma was later to become part of his realm. He then achieved the kingship of Ur and crowned his career of aggrandizement in the time-honoured manner by gaining the title 'King of Kish' (33). His successor, Lugal-kisalsi, retained the title (34) but thereafter it appears to have lapsed for the next ruler of Uruk, Lugalzagesi, though he ruled over much of Sumer, did not. The most remarkable figure in the history of Kish in the declining years of the Early Dynastic period is recorded in the King List as the barmaid ('woman of wine') Ku-Baba, who is said to have 'consolidated the foundation of Kish'. According to a later chronicle account she had seized power over Kish from the city of Akshak (35). Her fame endured in the divination tradition which specifically recorded messages given her by the entrails (36).
Meagre as is this outline history of the vacillating fortunes of Kish in the earliest phase of her history, it will serve as a basis for some general conclusions. Many of the names of the earliest rulers of the city are Semitic (Akkadian) and it was almost certainly this element in the population which raised Kish to the powerful position it regularly held in the Early Dynastic period. Some of these kings pursued a definite policy towards the south in which respect for Nippur, holy city of the Sumerians, played a vital role. It was a king of Kish who built there the temple of Enlil and Ninlil. The fact that rulers of Ur, Lagash and Uruk highly esteemed the title 'King of Kish' may be taken to imply that it carried with it a force which went far beyond physical possession of the city itself, though that was almost certainly a preliminary requisite for any aspirant to the title. It is now very difficult to discern with any certainty which particular aspects of the nature or ideals of kingship were involved; but two -- the antiquity of the title and its imperial aspirations -- were especially potent. Kish may well have been the original home in Mesopotamia of a supreme secular authority entirely independent of the priesthood on the one hand, or of popular elective control on the other (37). If so the title's attractions for ambitious rulers of small city-states is clear enough. At the same time the rulers of Kish, as early as Etana, if we may credit the comment of the editor of the King List, were not merely the rulers of the city and its immediate neighbourhood. They also aspired 'to make firm all the lands'. There are many points in the early histories of Ur, Lagash and Uruk, inadequately though they are documented, which suggest that the rulers of Sumer were politically expansionist, even imperialist, long before the supremacy of the Akkadian dynasty. The Kish monarchy seems somehow to have sanctioned and re-inforced these ambitions, making its title particularly desirable.
Partial as excavations on the site of Kish have so far been, there is already clear evidence of an extensive double-city in the Early Dynastic III period, although its detailed topography remains obscure. Isolated tablets from the house remains in the 'Y' sounding may be dated between the 'archaic' texts from Ur and the tablets more akin to those from Fara and Abu Salabikh; above the Flood Level in the same area tablets more akin to those from Fara occurred with various archaic kudurrus. Presargonic texts were also found at Uhaimir. The earliest shrines at Kish have yet to be identified on the ground. The remains of two ziggurats of small plano-convex brick were examined on Ingharra and a plano-convex brick building was found underlying the Neo-Sumerian temple area at Uhaimir. Palatial administrative buildings were excavated in areas A and P. Soundings in two other mounds -- B and H in the vicinity of Ingharra suggested the existence of other buildings which formed part of the city at this period. The recorded history of Kish in Early Dynastic III suggests numerous instances of war damage. This is reflected in the archaeological record by the heavy fortification of the north wing in palace A, the substantial outer walling of the 'Plano-convex' and evidence for more than one destruction by fire in both building complexes. The final massive destruction of these administrative buildings and the Ingharra ziggurats and temple complex may be associated with Uruk's conquest of Kish late in Early Dynastic IIIB, possibly that of Enshakushanna. Thereafter until well into the Akkadian period the whole area was used, it seems, only for burials.
The city of Kish played an unpredictable role in the political history of the Akkadian dynasty. Although specially favoured by its founder Sargon I the city was eventually so alienated from his successors as to become a major centre of revolt in the reign of his grandson Naram-Sin. Both the King List and epic literature record Sargon's humble origins in a place somewhere on the upper Euphrates and his apparently rapid rise to the position of cup-bearer at the court of Ur-Zababa, a ruler of the Fourth Dynasty of Ur (38). The subsequent stages of Sargon's career are known but their chronology is obscure as no contemporary inscription is yet known. Ur-Zababa was probably dethroned, if not killed by Lugalzagesi, an ambitious and ruthless ensi of Umma who had established himself as ruler of much of Sumer with his capital at Uruk. Although no inscription survives in which Lugalzagesi claimed the title 'King of Kish', as had his predecessor at Uruk, there may be little doubt that the city was subject to him. A later inscription of Naram-Sin recorded the liberation of Kish by Sargon from captivity and servitude to Uruk (39). At the time the citizens of Kish had pledged eternal loyality to Sargon. A liver omen from Mari may also refer to Sargon's liberation of Kish: 'Omen of Kish, of Sargon' (40). Throughout his reign Sargon bore the old titles 'King of Kish', as did his two immediate successors, Rimush and Manishtushu (41) and the city was clearly favoured, although Sargon had created a new capital for himself at Akkad, a site not yet identified somewhere not far to the west or north-west of Kish. According to the Sumerian King List Kish retained her own dynasty of rulers until sometime in the reign of Manishtushu. In this reign Kish was one of four Babylonian cities where the king purchased land, from which the existing population was displaced, in order to reward his highranking Akkadian adherents, mainly state and temple administrators (42). Despite the fact that this land was acquired by purchase, apparently at a fair price, and not confiscated, such policies were hardly likely to be popular with the dispossessed. This action may account for the hostility of Kish to later rulers of the dynasty. Although both Rimush and Manishtushu had to suppress extensive internal revolts at the outset of their reigns, Kish does not seem to have been among the rebels until the reign of Naram-Sin. Then the citizens of Kish in some kind of assembly elected one of their number, Imgu-Kish, as their king and he seems to have headed a revolt (43). Naram-Sin suppressed it and was, significantly, the first king of the dynasty not to style himself as 'King of Kish'. If any single event may be taken to mark the eclipse of Kish as a place of considerable political significance in Mesopotamia this has much to recommend it. The city now had an increasingly minor role, usually much involved with the ascending political fortunes of the neighbouring city of Babylon.
Under the 3rd Dynasty of Ur Kish was administered by a governor and no longer had any special relationship with the ruling dynasty. This arrangement almost certainly dates back to the latter part of the Akkadian dynasty when Naram-Sin abolished any special privileges the city may have enjoyed because of its place in Sargon's career (44). A rich collection of tablets dated to the later part of the Sargonic period found on Tell Ingharra, now published by Gelb (45), indicate that whatever the city's declining role in greater Mesopotamia, life within it flourished.
Kish was not likely to have played any very prominent role in the politics of the declining dynasty of Akkad. Her place in the Gutian invasions is illustrated by a single piece of evidence. One of the very few contemporary inscriptions of the last Akkadian ruler, Shu-Durul, was found in the course of de Genouillac's excavations at Kish (46). Taken in conjunction with the king's only other known inscription, from the Diyala, it suggests that Shu- Durul, who reigned for about fifteen years, was able to retain some control over the vital area of central Mesopotamia which surrounded his capital at Akkad. The continuing existence of Kish, little more, may be inferred from mention of her governors in various economic and administrative texts of the Ur III period (47) and the occurrence of such texts at Uhaimir and Ingharra, although generally speaking Ur III administrative texts are very rare in north Babylonia. To this period I have attributed the foundation of 'Monument Z' on Ingharra (p.94). In the course of the slow disintegration of central authority during the reign of Ibbi-Sin, when Ishbi-Erra was gradually establishing himself as an independent ruler with a capital at Isin, the governor of Kish is listed among those whom Ishbi-Erra had restored to office after they had presumably been dismissed by Ibbi-Sin for disloyalty (48).
The fortunes of Kish after the collapse of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur have to be reconstructed almost entirely from the date formulae or oaths on contract tablets (49) and isolated royal inscriptions which refer directly or indirectly to the city. At a time when the history of Mesopotamia as a whole is ill-documented it is not likely that a single now relatively obscure city will play a very prominent part in the surviving records. The parallel dynasties of Isin and Larsa established a modus vivendi which persisted for about two hundred years despite periods of friction and the intervention of other city-states like Eshnunna and Uruk (50). Throughout this time the tiny state of Kish was sometimes precariously independent under her own rulers, more often the prey of predatory neighbouring rulers who either established direct overlordships or set up a co-regency between themselves and a local ruler, as did the earlier Amorite rulers over Babylon.
The earliest record we have for Kish in the Isin-Larsa period is a liver omen from Mari (51) which records a defeat for the armies of Ishme-Dagan of Isin at Kish. The text is too cryptic to establish how far the city was involved in the battle but the presence of this record in the liver-omens' tradition of Mari suggests that Kish was caught up in a conflict between the rulers of Isin and Mari. To this reign may also belong reference to the importance of the temples of Kish which appears in the 'Lamentation over Nippur' (52). In the course of his excavations at Kish de Genouillac found a tiny fragment from a text of Lipit-Ishtar's code of laws (53). To this reign may also belong the only known building inscription of a king of Kish in this period. Ashduni-arim, ruler of the city, inscribed a number of very small cones, said to be from Tell Uhaimir, with a rather bombastic account of a campaign against another unnamed city within a day's march of Kish. Following a successful campaign he repaired the 'great wall of Kish' from which these cones may originally have come (54).
If this inscription is correctly placed Ashduni-arim was a near contemporary of a ruler called Sumu-ditan, King of Kazullu or Marad, who ruled over Kish for a brief period about the time of Ur-Ninurta, King of Isin (55). Sumu-ditan is known to have died when the local ruler of Kish was a certain Yawium, associated in a number of oaths with Zababa, city-god of Kish (56). He and maybe also his immediate predecessors were subject at times to control from another city in central Mesopotamia, perhaps Kutha (Tell Ibrahim) (57). Though the available information could hardly be more meagre it is sufficient to demonstrate that Kish had sunk into almost complete political insignificance during the earlier part of the Isin-Larsa period. The rulers of local cities regularly asserted their authority over her own rulers who, when opportunity offered, wrote pathetically pompous accounts of very minor military triumphs.
Yet in such unsettled times the city's independence of action was not completely stifled, for the eleventh year of Sumu-el King of Larsa (circa 1894-1866 B.C.) was designated: 'Army of Kish defeated' (58). Although this certainly marks some resurgence in the city's political fortunes it is still not possible to place it in exact relation with the known rulers of Kish at this time. It is likely that Sumu-el's opponent was Yawium (59). As the influence of Isin and Larsa waned in central Mesopotamia Kish was directly caught between the opposing forces of Babylon in the west and Eshnunna in the east. For the greater part of his thirty-six year reign Sumu-la-el, King of Babylon (circa 1990-1845 B.C.) was engaged in struggles with Kish and Kuzullu. His thirteenth and nineteenth years were named after victories over Kish, though it is impossible to assess how much the city itself suffered in each 'destruction' (60). Once he had overcome the resistance of Kish Sumu-la-el set about endowing it with fine buildings. The date formula for his thirtieth year recorded that he had built e-me-te-ur-sag, the temple complex at Uhaimir (61); a fact also recorded by Hammurapi on inscribed bricks found at Uhaimir (62). This is the first documentary evidence for the construction of any of the temples at Kish, though they were certainly not the first on the site (see Page 171).
Under Sumu-la-el Babylon's influence over Kish was short-lived, for [at] sometime in the second half of the nineteenth century B.C. her great rival Eshnunna, a powerful state in the Diyala region, may have brought Kish under her control. At this time three consecutive rulers of Eshnunna -- Ibiqadad II and his two sons Naram-Sin and Dadusha -- were all deified (63). This may be taken as contemporary acknowledgment of their special power and influence (64). Of the three Ibiqadad II and Naram-Sin may at present be directly linked with Kish. Naram-Sin, the more powerful, established his authority over most of central and northern Mesopotamia where he ruled at Assur for about four years (65). Ibiqadad II revived the old title 'King of Kish' and Naram-Sin used an archaic form of the city's name to write it, without the KI-determinative (66). Their use of this title in a consciously archaic form, apparently defunct for about two hundred years in the sense they appear to have understood it, indicates the vitality of the historical traditions associated with Kish.
Among the texts found in the course of de Genouillac's excavations was a series of letters which formed part of the correspondence of Tutunishu, a Babylonian functionary exercising authority as a governor of Kish about the middle of Sin-muballit's reign (circa 1812-1793 B.C.) (67). Zababa, god of Kish, is never mentioned in the greetings though Samas and Marduk occasionally are. These letters reveal at one point that Kish is threatened by an important enemy fleet assembled at Mashkanshabra. Though the identity of the enemy is unstated it was almost certainly Rim-Sin of Larsa, who was involved in a constant struggle with Babylon and Isin. As might be expected from the geographical proximity of the two cities, Kish was most likely to acknowledge the rulers of Babylon when powerful and the rulers of any other state which momentarily held Babylon in tutelage. The meagre references to Kish in Hammurapi's inscriptions suggest that the city had suffered since the building activities there of his predecessor Sumu-la-el. For his thirty-sixth year, at a time when a series of military victories in the previous few years had established his authority over much of Mesopotamia, Hammurapi adopted the date formula: 'He restored the temple e-me-te-ur-sag and built the temple tower and (thus) he greatly increased the glamour of Zababa as well as of Inanna in a pious manner' (68). Supplementing this with the passage referring to Kish in the Code of Hammurapi a wider appreciation of his work there emerges:
'the monarch of kings full brother of ZababaHummurapi's brick inscription at Uhaimir is further evidence of his building there (70). Fragments of Old Babylonian stone monumental inscriptions, some certainly of Hammurapi, have been found on and off at Uhaimir since Ker Porter retrieved a piece in 1818 (see Page 5) (71). Considerably more obscure is his building at Ingharra or mound 'W'; as in [other] excavations on Ingharra, the Old Babylonian buildings recognized were of little moment [importance ?] and on 'W' never reached.
Although evidence for the complicated political history of Samsuiluna's reign is scanty, the role of Kish is reasonably clear. Throughout a time of considerable insecurity, with recurrent rebellions in the south and north-east, Kish was maintained as a vital military outpost of the capital at Babylon. A lengthy internal rebellion under the leadership of one Rim-Sin, possibly a nephew of the earlier ruler, who had seized the throne of Larsa, was finally crushed at Kish in Samsuiluna's fourteenth year (72). A detailed account of this rebellion records in Akkadian and Sumerian versions the fortification of Kish; fragments of both accounts were found in excavations at Kish (73):
Then (after his victory) Samsuiluna...by the craft of his people built the town of Kish, dug its moat, surrounded it with cane-brake, made its foundations as firm as a mountain with masses of earth, caused its bricks to be moulded, built its wall; in the span of one year he raised its top higher than before' (74).Then again in Samsuiluna's twenty-fourth year, when the fortress Dur-Samsuiluna (Khafajah) was built to hold down the recalcitrant inhabitants of the Diyala region (75), the wall at Kish was refurbished. Samsuiluna's interest in the City was not merely tied to its strategic importance for Babylon. Though Hammurapi had not used the title, Samsuiluna styled himself 'King of Kish' (76) immediately after his primary title 'King of Babylon', clearly using the ancient title for its imperial connotations in Sumer. Inscribed bricks found at Uhaimir record his restoration of the Ziggurat and the Temple of Zababa and Ishtar (77).
During the last century of the First Dynasty of Babylon Kish remained closely associated with Babylon. Ammi-ditana used the title 'King of Kish' (78) and Ammisaduga erected a statue in the temple of Zababa and Ishtar in his fifteenth year (79). A group of legal and administrative texts from clandestine excavations at or about Kish belongs to these two reigns (80).
After the Old Babylonian period evidence for the history of Kish becomes even rarer than before, for neither documents nor excavations have much to offer yet. Nothing is known of the City in the Kassite period save for isolated pieces of evidence which show the persistence of settlement on the site, notably at Uhaimir and on mound 'W'. A small onyx bead inscribed by one of the Kurigalzu's from Uhaimir (microfiche), the faience face-mask pendant from 'W' and a very damaged kudurru from mound 'H' (the Sasanian settlement) are mere stray clues. A Kassite tablet from Nippur, dealing with the administration of the textile industry, reports on workmen from Kish (81). There is a Kassite omen text, now in Chicago, said to be from Kish (82) and one royal name suggests some close connection with the City (83). The period between the collapse of the Kassite hegemony in Babylonia and the emergence of the Chaldean dynasty about five hundred years later was marked by the recurrent impact of foreign invasion, since intrusive peoples regularly took advantage of the vulnerable area in central Iraq round Babylon. Though Kish almost never receives specific mention in available records, her geographical position inevitably involved her in strife as so often before. Again as in the Kassite period it is only through extremely rare references that the continuing existence of the city may be charted. She probably survived, if at times precariously like neighbouring Babylon, largely on account of her highly venerated religious institutions. Stamped bricks at Uhaimir record the work of Adad-apla-iddina (circa 1069-48 B.C.) on e-me-te-ur-sag (84) as part of his programme for restoring some of Babylonia's greatest shrines (85).
Three centuries silence follow until Tiglathpileser III, the first Assyrian king in almost five centuries effectively to assume the crown of Babylonia (circa 728-727 B.C.), recorded his acquisition of Kish and the sacrifices offered at Hursagkalama (86). In the reign of Merodach-Baladan II (circa 722-709 B.C.) Kish was administered by a governor, directly responsible to him, who left record of restoration undertaken on the temple of Nin-lil at Hursagkalama (87). The allegiance of Kish to the Babylonian cause seems to have been firm since the City does not appear among those from which Merodach-Baladan II took pro-Assyrian hostages (88). The inscribed brick fragments of Sargon II found at Ingharra by de Genouillac refer only to Babylon (89) whence they may have been brought by Neo-Babylonian builders. In 703 B.C. Sennacherib launched his first campaign, primarily against Merodach-Baladan II, who had once more acceded to the Babylonian throne. The Assyrian king marched with his army down the Tigris from Assur to Kutha, sending an advance party to Kish where Merodach-Baladan, advancing from Babylon, routed it (90). In anger at this repulse Sennacherib stormed Kutha and advanced towards Kish, but Merodach-Baladan had fled before the Assyrian army was able to defeat his troops and enter Babylon (91). Shortly afterwards Sennacherib weeded out from Kish and Hursagkalama, among other cities, the Arabians, Aramaeans and Chaldaeans...'together with the citizens who led the insurrection' (92). Brinkman has shown that a fragmentary inscription from the surface of Ingharra originally taken to refer to Assur-nadin-sumi, Sennacherib's eldest son, who was regent of Babylon (circa 700-694 B.C.), was misread and may not at present be securely dated (93). Little is known of the history of Kish in the seventh century but the evidence recovered by Burrows and Langdon from mound 'W' indicates the existence there of a thriving religious centre then part of Hursagkalama. During the early phase of the Neo-Babylonian struggle against Assyria under Nabopolassar the Babylonian Chronicle records that the 'Gods of Kish' were removed to Babylon in face of the advancing Assyrian army (94).
The great Neo-Babylonian kings regarded Kish almost as a suburb of Babylon, which, like the capital, they endowed with a remarkable series of fine buildings. But despite the relatively extensive royal building inscriptions which have survived from this period, very little exact information may be gleaned from them about work done at Kish, largely because Nebuchadnezzar II's inscribed bricks bear a text referring only to Babylon (95). An important inscription of this King, quoted on Page 20, indicates that Nabopolassar undertook extensive work at Uhaimir, as did Nebuchadnezzar himself; but of this very little has yet been found in excavations. In contrast the impressive Neo-Babylonian Temple at Ingharra may not certainly be attributed to any single ruler. One of Nebuchadnezzar's undertakings, the fortifications of Babylon, used Kish very much as had Samsuiluna a millennium earlier, as an important bulwark to the east of the capital. A massive wall and a moat was constructed from a point on the Euphrates north of Babylon to 'the middle of Kish' (96). In the Nabonidus Chronicle the gods of Kish and Hursagkalama feature in the record of the New Year Festival of his year 17 (97).
The capture of Babylon by the Persians under Cyrus was virtually bloodless and Kish no doubt surrendered just before the capital was laid siege (98). There may have been a much greater disturbance in the history of Kish when the armies of Xerxes savagely crushed the Babylonian revolt of 482/1 B.C. Occupation of the houses on mound W ceases about then; graves were dug into them in the later fifth century. So far as it is possible to judge there was a comparable sequence in the upper levels of Ingharra. Business documents, notably from mound 'W' bear witness to the persistence of settlement in eastern Kish into the very early Seleucid period; but the city then disappears from recorded history and continuing settlement thereabouts has to be reconstructed entirely from archaeological evidence. Distinctive wares of the Seleucid period, normally unglazed and decorated with stamps and indents, were not generally reported from the site. The pottery sequence re-opens, sporadically with glazed Parthian pottery.
The O.F.M.E. contributed little to understanding of the long period between the establishment of Seleucid rule and the advent of the Sasanians, save for isolated graves encountered in the course of other work and cursory re-examination of the Parthian fortress on Tell Bandar. Research in the considerable Sasanian town adjacent to Ingharra was spoiled by haphazard digging in an unsuccessful search for more stucco decoration once the main concentrations in Buildings I and 2 had been uncovered. It has been argued here (Page136) that this is primarily a settlement of the fifth and early sixth centuries A.D. dominated by a small palace, for a senior member of the court, if not for the monarch himself. There had grown up around the palace an urban community whose business centre was revealed in building 7 and whose houses, virtually unexcavated, were traced in the scattered sondages known as buildings 4-5-6 and 8. The Kish-Cutha area was of considerable importance in the Sasanian period, settlements were numerous and Babylon the site of a royal residence (99). The middle years of the Sasanian empire saw a considerable increase in the power and independence of the landed nobility which would have provided an appropriate setting for the development of an estate like that at Kish as much for a nobleman as for a king.
In the ninth season of the O.F.M.E. Mr. Gerald Reitlinger, in the name of the Expedition, conducted excavations at three sites: Abu Sudaira, Ishan al-Khazna and Tell as-Sufeydan, where considerable remains of the Islamic period existed on or near the surface (100). Published pottery, samples of which are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, found in the clearance of religious buildings close to the surface and in a deep sounding revealed a gap in occupation from the Neo-Babylonian period to the eleventh century A.D. and then settlement from the thirteenth to fourteenth century at Sudaira, S.E. of Ingharra. At Khazna, closest to Uhaimir (see Page 30) eleventh century Islamic occupation overlay buildings said to be Neo-Babylonian, as also at the more distant Tell as-Su'aydan, which lay outside the immediate area of Kish.
(1) Kish Excavations 1923-33 of Oxford-Field Museum of Chicago --- Author P.R.S. Moorey (1978) PDF
Tell Uhaimir and environs (ancient: Kish) Site 104 of the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Cultural Heritage Training Center
Early Dynastic Kish: City-State or Country-State by Dorota Lawecka (2014)
Tell Uhaimir and environs (ancient: Kish) Site 104 of the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Cultural Heritage Training Center
Early Dynastic Kish: City-State or Country-State by Dorota Lawecka (2014)