Now we might perceive why the a part of the constructing which had survived was so remarkably well-preserved. The entire of it had at a while been stuffed up strong with brickwork, changing it into an higher storey for the platform, upon which a but larger temple could possibly be constructed. This was desperately severe, because the wall-paintings had been discovered to stick extra strongly to the filling than to the plaster on which they had been painted; and when this filling was eliminated they got here away with it.
Now was the time at which, beneath totally different circumstances one would have closed down the excavation and awaited the recommendation of European consultants. However this was the primary yr of the struggle and no such assist might probably be obtained. In the long run we did all that was humanly attainable. Infinite time and endurance had been obligatory, first to cut back the filling laid in opposition to the face of the partitions to a mere pores and skin; then to take away what remained with such implements as razor blades and porcupine-quills, in order that the paint could possibly be mounted and preserved for recording. What emerged, is right this moment pretty well-known; significantly the altar frescoes with their noticed guardian lions on both facet and the altar entrance painted like a bit of miniature temple. However the higher elements of the boys and animals within the processional scenes had been sadly misplaced perpetually.
So right here at ’Uqair was a scenario precisely resembling that at ArUbaid itself; a settlement of the “’Ubaid” interval on the bigger hill and beside it a temple which had been repeatedly rebuilt in later occasions. Our best curiosity was to know what, at each websites, would have been the character of the unique Al’Ubaid-period temple, up to date with the settlement. For Sir Leonard Woolley had familiarised us with the concept the makers of the Al’Ubaid pottery had been a primitive marsh-dwelling individuals who constructed solely in wattle-and-daub. It was at Inform Abu Shahrein, the traditional metropolis of Eridu, that I used to be later capable of resolve this downside; and it’s to that web site, maybe probably the most extraordinary from a technical standpoint ever excavated, that we should now flip.
Our strategy to the excavation
From the start Eridu appeared a possible supply of data on such topics, if solely due to its historic fame for excessive antiquity. The Babylonian “Legend of Creation” within the “bi-lingual” model merely states—“All of the lands had been sea: then Eridu was made.” There may be a lot else in Sumerian literature to substantiate the normal precedence of town, because it was the house of Enki, God of the Abyss, who was additionally the supply of human knowledge. Right here he dwelt in his shrine upon the shores of the “deep” which, just like the so-called “waters” in Genesis, was divided as a preliminary to Creation. The location as one sees it right this moment definitely appears an ideal setting for such a legend.