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Eridu and Uruk – Large Structures before 4,000 BC

Predynastic period. The oldest Sumerian religious structure has been found at Eridu (modern Abu Shahrein). Built on an artificial platform which anticipates the ziggurat proper, it had buttressed walls. When excavated a quantity of fishbones were found on the floor of the cella, and it has been suggested that the temple was dedicated to Enki, the 'lord of the earth', later called by the Semites Ea, the 'house of sweet waters'.

Predynastic period. c 3200-3000BC. The White Temple, so called because of its whitewashed sides, surmounted the 'Anu ziggurat', the second important predynastic sanctuary at Uruk. The central room is flanked by five side rooms to the north-east. Entry was through a door in the south-western side, leading through a vestibule to the long cella. In one corridor stood a platform or altar and, a few feet in front, an offering table of brick with semi-circular hearth.