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Nippur Expedition, Iraq

In the desert a hundred miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, lies a great archaeological mound sixty feet high and almost a mile across. This is Nippur, the city of Enlil, the "mooring-rope" of heaven and earth that for thousands of years was the primary religious center of Mesopotamia, where Enlil, the supreme god of the Sumerian pantheon, created mankind.

The Oriental Institute decades-long archaeological and philological research at Nippur resumed in April of 2019 after almost 3 decades of hiatus. After McGuire Gibson retired in 2018, Abbas Alizadeh was appointed as the director of the Nippur archaeological expedition. Much of Nippur had always been covered with sand dunes, but recently most of the dunes are gone, providing a great opportunity to prepare a new topographic map of the site and to create a GIS data bank. Because the entire government has been changed after the fall of Saddam Hussein, with new rules and regulations, the 2019 season of excavations was an exploratory one to assess the working conditions and feasibility for major exploration at the site. The expedition will expand to include several field archaeologists, geomorphologist, a paleozoologist, and a paleobotanist.

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