Girsu (Sumerian Ĝirsu;[1] cuneiform ĝir2-suki 𒄈𒋢𒆠) was a city of ancient Sumer, situated some 25 km (16 mi) northwest of Lagash, at the site of modern Tell Telloh, Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq.

Kingdom of Lagash (30658120300).jpg
Archaeological remains of constructions at Tello/ Girsu.
Girsu is located in Near East
Shown within Near East
Girsu is located in Iraq
Girsu (Iraq)
LocationTell Telloh, Dhi Qar Province, Iraq
Coordinates31°33′43.3″N 46°10′39.3″E / 31.562028°N 46.177583°E / 31.562028; 46.177583Coordinates: 31°33′43.3″N 46°10′39.3″E / 31.562028°N 46.177583°E / 31.562028; 46.177583


Terracotta stamp seal with Master of Animals motif, Tell Telloh, ancient Girsu, End of Ubaid period, circa 4000 BC. Louvre Museum AO15388.[2]

Girsu was possibly inhabited in the Ubaid period (5300-4800 BC), but significant levels of activity began in the Early Dynastic period (2900-2335 BC). At the time of Gudea, during the Second Dynasty of Lagash, Girsu became the capital of the Lagash kingdom and continued to be its religious center after political power had shifted to city of Lagash.[3] During the Ur III period, Girsu was a major administrative center for the empire. After the fall of Ur, Girsu declined in importance, but remained inhabited until approximately 200 BC.


The site consist of two main mounds, one rising 50 above the plain and the other 56 feet. A number of small mounds dot the site. Telloh was the first Sumerian site to be extensively excavated, at first under the French vice-consul at Basra, Ernest de Sarzec, in eleven campaigns between 1877 and 1900, followed by his successor Gaston Cros from 1903–1909.[4][5][6] Excavations continued under Abbé Henri de Genouillac in 1929–1931 and under André Parrot in 1931–1933.[7][8][9] It was at Girsu that the fragments of the Stele of the Vultures were found. The site has suffered from poor excavation standards and also from illegal excavations. About 50,000 cuneiform tablets have been recovered from the site.[10] Excavations at Tello have now resumed as part of a training program for Iraqi archaeologists organized by the American Schools of Oriental Research.[11] A foundation tablet and a number of inscribed building cones have been found. In March 2020, archaeologists announced the discovery of a 5,000-year-old cultic area filled with more than 300 broken ceremonial ceramic cups, bowls, jars animal sacrifices and ritual processions dedicated to Ningirsu.[12][13] One of the remains was a duck-shaped bronze figurine with eyes made from bark which is thought to be dedicated to Nanshe.[14] An Indus Valley weight was also found.


Ubaid IV artifacts (4700–4200 BC) in GirsuEdit

Uruk Period artifacts (4000–3100)Edit

Early dynastic artifacts in Girsu (3rd millennium BC)Edit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Because of the initial nasal velar ŋ, the transcription of Ĝirsu is sometimes spelled as Ngirsu (also: G̃irsu, Girsu, Jirsu).
  2. ^ "Site officiel du musée du Louvre".
  3. ^ Edzard, Dietz Otto (1997). Gudea and his dynasty. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-1-4426-7555-1. OCLC 809041550.
  4. ^ Découvertes en Chaldée, E. de Sarzec, Paris, Leroux, 1884–1893
  5. ^ Nouvelles fouilles de Tello, Gaston Cros, Paris, 1910
  6. ^ [1]H. V. Hilprecht, The Excavations in Assyria and Babylonia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1904
  7. ^ Fouilles de Telloh I: Epoques presargoniques, Abbé Henri de Genouillac, Paris, 1934
  8. ^ Fouilles de Telloh II: Epoques d'Ur III Dynastie et de Larsa, Abbé Henri de Genouillac, Paris, 1936
  9. ^ A. Parrot, Tello: vingt campagnes de fouilles 1877–1933, Paris, A. Michel ,1948
  10. ^ Telloh Tablets at Haverford Library
  11. ^ "The Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme". American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR). 2018. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  12. ^ Weiss, Daniel (2020). "Temple of the White Thunderbird". Archaeology. January/February: 38–45.
  13. ^ "Ancient cultic area for warrior-god uncovered in Iraq". Live Science. 31 March 2020.
  14. ^ Gavin (2020-04-11). "Ancient cultic area for warrior-god uncovered in Iraq". Most Interesting Things. Retrieved 2020-08-31.
  15. ^ "Site officiel du musée du Louvre".
  16. ^ "Site officiel du musée du Louvre".
  17. ^ "Site officiel du musée du Louvre".
  18. ^ "Figurine féminine d'Obeid". 2019.
  19. ^ Marshall, John (1996). Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization: Being an Official Account of Archaeological Excavations at Mohenjo-Daro Carried Out by the Government of India Between the Years 1922 and 1927. Asian Educational Services. pp. 425–426. ISBN 9788120611795.
  20. ^ THUREAU-DANGIN, F. (1925). "SCEAUX DE TELLO ET SCEAUX DE HARAPPA". Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archéologie Orientale. 22 (3): 99–101. JSTOR 23283916.

Further readingEdit

  • Sébastien Rey, Divine Cults in the Sacred Precinct of Girsu, Near Eastern Archaeology; Chicago, vol. 84, iss. 2, pp. 130-139, June 2021
  • Harriet Crawford, The Construction Inférieure at Tello. A Reassessment, Iraq, vol. 49, pp. 71–76, 1987
  • Benjamin R. Foster, The Sargonic Victory Stele from Telloh, Iraq, Vol. 47, pp. 15–30, 1985
  • Claudia E. Suter, A Shulgi Statuette from Tello, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 43/45, pp. 63–70, (1991–1993)

External linksEdit