In a significant archaeological discovery, researchers associated with the British Museum in London unearthed twin temples, one built on top of the other, in Girsu (also known as Tello), a Sumerian city in southeastern Iraq. The newer temple, dating back to the fourth century BC in the Hellenistic era, is believed to be linked to Alexander the Great, and an inscription found inside the temple mentioned “the giver of two brothers,” possibly referring to the Macedonian king.
The archaeological team, part of the British Museum’s ongoing project called The Girsu Project, made the discovery during excavations. The Girsu Project aims to gather more information about the history of the ancient city. Sebastien Rey, an archaeologist and curator of Ancient Mesopotamia at the British Museum, led the excavation.
The newer temple, dedicated to the Greek god Hercules and his Sumerian equivalent, the hero-god Ningirsu, was found to have been built on the exact same spot as the older Sumerian temple. The older temple, dating back 1,500 years earlier, was discovered buried at the same location. The researchers believe that this was not a coincidence and indicates the significance of the site for the people of Mesopotamia.
The remnants of the older Sumerian temple provided insights into the knowledge and awareness of the inhabitants of Babylonia in the fourth century BC about their history. According to Rey, it demonstrates that the legacy of the Sumerians remained vibrant, showcasing a continuity of cultural and historical awareness among the population.
This discovery sheds light on the complex layers of history and cultural connections in the region, highlighting the rich heritage of Mesopotamia and the interplay of different civilizations over the centuries.