Research Items


    EXCAVATIONS AT KISH.—Reports on the work of the various archaeological expeditions in the field at the opening of the new season are now beginning to come to hand. Among the more interesting of these is Prof. Langdon's letter to the Times of Jan. 4, which deals with the work of the University of Oxford Expedition at Kish, which resumed work in November. The first undertaking was to continue the attempt to secure an accurate and complete series of archaeological stratifications, which last year had reached modern water level. This has now been carried farther by hydraulic methods down to virgin soil through three metres of wet earth. A scientific classification of the various periods from the beginning of civilisation to the neo-Babylonian period has thus been established. The cavity extends to 14 metres below the pavement of the temple of Nabunidus, dating to the end of the sixth century. The water level has risen nine feet since the foundation of Kish. The lowest stratum, now below water level, shows the monochrome and polychrome painted ware and the deep red ware, with some fine black ware and beautifully made incised black pottery. The first two classes correspond to that found at Jemdet Nasr, 17 miles to the north-east, which has been dated at 3500 B.C. According to Prof. Langdon, it is clear that the proto-Sumerian people, who are the real founders of Kish and the proto-Sumerian cities of Mesopotamia, are really Elamites, and from the evidence now being obtained the foundation of these cities should be placed before 4000 B.C. Seven stages of human history are to be observed in the stratification now laid bare at Kish.

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    Research Items . Nature 123, 107–109 (1929).

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