The site of Tell al-Hiba, ancient Lagash, at over 600 hectares, is one of the largest mounds in southern Mesopotamia. It was occupied from the fifth millennium into the middle of the second millennium BCE. A joint project of the Penn Museum, Cambridge University and the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage in Baghdad, begun in 2019, has renewed work at this critically important settlement, home to one of Mesopotamia’s Bronze Age cities.


Location of Al Hiba in Iraq

Tell al-Hiba (ancient Lagash) is located 24 km east of the town of Shatra in Dhi Qar Province of southern Iraq (Latitude 31° 24′ 39 9.0000″ 31.4025° N, Longitude 46° 24′ 39 9.0000″ 46.4025° E). The region has always had a mixed ecology, with marshes surrounding habitation sites at higher elevation. Until the mid-twentieth century much of the region was accessed by boat.

The mound measures approximately 3600m in length and 1900 m wide at its largest extent. Though large, the mound has a low topography, with its highest point rising only six meters above the level of the plain. It reached its largest extent by the end of the Early Dynastic period when it was destroyed by Lugalzagesi (2358 – 2334 BCE) of Uruk.


A Topographic Map of Tell al-Hiba