Umma
Overview
Umma was an ancient city in Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

. Note that there is some scholarly debate
about the Sumerian and Akkadian names for this site.

In the early Sumerian text Inanna's descent to the netherworld,
Inanna
Inanna
Inanna, also spelled Inana is the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare....

 dissuades demons from the netherworld from taking Shara
Shara (god)
In Sumerian mythology Shara is a minor god of war, mainly identified with the city of Umma, north-east of Unug . He is identified in some texts as the son of Inana .-References:...

, patron of Umma, who was living in squalor. They eventually take Dumuzid
Dumuzid
Dumuzid can refer to:*Dumuzid the Shepherd, an antediluvian king according to Sumerian mythology;*Dumuzid the Fisherman, a king of the 1st Dynasty of Uruk named on the Sumerian king list;...

 king of Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

 instead, who lived in palatial opulence.

Best known for its long frontier conflict with Lagash
Lagash
Lagash is located northwest of the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and east of Uruk, about east of the modern town of Ash Shatrah. Lagash was one of the oldest cities of the Ancient Near East...

,

the city reached its zenith ca.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Umma was an ancient city in Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

. Note that there is some scholarly debate
about the Sumerian and Akkadian names for this site.

History

In the early Sumerian text Inanna's descent to the netherworld,
Inanna
Inanna
Inanna, also spelled Inana is the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare....

 dissuades demons from the netherworld from taking Shara
Shara (god)
In Sumerian mythology Shara is a minor god of war, mainly identified with the city of Umma, north-east of Unug . He is identified in some texts as the son of Inana .-References:...

, patron of Umma, who was living in squalor. They eventually take Dumuzid
Dumuzid
Dumuzid can refer to:*Dumuzid the Shepherd, an antediluvian king according to Sumerian mythology;*Dumuzid the Fisherman, a king of the 1st Dynasty of Uruk named on the Sumerian king list;...

 king of Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

 instead, who lived in palatial opulence.

Best known for its long frontier conflict with Lagash
Lagash
Lagash is located northwest of the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and east of Uruk, about east of the modern town of Ash Shatrah. Lagash was one of the oldest cities of the Ancient Near East...

,

the city reached its zenith ca. 2275 BC, under the rule of Lugal-Zage-Si
Lugal-Zage-Si
Lugal-Zage-Si of Umma was the last Sumerian king before the conquest of Sumer by Sargon of Akkad and the rise of the Akkadian Empire, and was considered as the only king of the third dynasty of Uruk...

, who also controlled Ur
Ur
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate...

 and Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

. Under the Ur III dynasty, Umma became an important provincial center. Most of the over 30,000 cuneiform tablets recovered from the site are administrative and economic texts from that time. They permit an excellent insight into provincial affairs in Umma.

The Umma calendar of Shulgi
Shulgi
Shulgi of Urim was the second king of the "Sumerian Renaissance". He reigned for 48 years, dated to 2029 BCE–1982 BCE...

 (ca. 21st century BC) is the immediate predecessor of the later Babylonian calendar
Babylonian calendar
The Babylonian calendar was a lunisolar calendar with years consisting of 12 lunar months, each beginning when a new crescent moon was first sighted low on the western horizon at sunset, plus an intercalary month inserted as needed by decree. The calendar is based on a Sumerian precedecessor...

, and indirectly of the post-exilic Hebrew calendar
Hebrew calendar
The Hebrew calendar , or Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits , and daily Psalm reading, among many ceremonial uses...

.

Archaeology

The site was visited by William Loftus
William Loftus
William Kennett Loftus was a British geologist, naturalist, explorer and archaeological excavator. He discovered the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk in 1849.-Biography:...

 in 1854
and John Punnett Peters
John Punnett Peters
John Punnett Peters was an American Episcopal clergyman and Orientalist, born in New York City. He graduated from Hopkins School in 1868 and then from Yale in 1873. He studied at Berlin and at Leipzig...

 of the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

 in 1885.
In the early 1900s, many illegally excavated Umma tablets from
the Third Dynasty of Ur
Third Dynasty of Ur
The Third Dynasty of Ur, also known as the Neo-Sumerian Empire or the Ur III Empire refers simultaneously to a 21st to 20th century BC Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state that some historians regard as a nascent empire...

 began to appear on the antiquities market.

In the late 1990s, some salvage excavation related to a roadway
project was conducted at Tell Jokha by Iraqi archaeologists.

Looting

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

, after Coalition bombing began, looters
Archaeological looting in Iraq
Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, archaeological looting has become a major problem. Though some sites, such as Ur and Nippur, are officially protected by US and Coalition forces, most are not...

 descended upon the site which is now pockmarked with hundreds of ditches and pits. The prospects for future official excavation and research were seriously compromised in the process. Looting trenches have been dug over an area the size of 3,000 soccer fields in various sites within Iraq, according to a 2007 report in The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

.

In 2011, Global Heritage Network
Global Heritage Network
Global Heritage Network , established by Global Heritage Fund , is an early warning and threats monitoring system for cultural heritage sites in developing countries...

, which monitors threats to cultural heritage sites in developing nations, released aerial images comparing Umma in 2003 and 2010, showing a landscape devastated by looters' trenches during that time—approximately 1.12 square km in total.

External links

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