Uruk Visualisation Project: The Riemchen-Building
About the project

Uruk/Warka, situated in modern-day Iraq, is one of the first cities in the world, and was populated almost without interruption for over 5,000 years – from the 4th millennium BCE to the 1st millennium CE. Uruk is famous for the invention of cuneiform writing at the end of the 4th millennium, the so-called “late Uruk period”. One of the architectural layers of ‘Untersuchungsareal’ 6 in the centre of Uruk carries the so called Riemchen-Building.

We scientifically reconstructed and visualised the Riemchen-Building as part of the TOPOI-Project ‘XXL – Monumentalized Knowledge. Extra-large Projects in Ancient Civilizations’, in close cooperation with the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin. The near rectangular building measures around 20 x 18 m. Is was constructed subterranean and was only looking out of the sourounding area. It is assumed, that the building was only accessible through the roof with the help of a ladder. If there was a structure on top of the flat roof, it is unknown.

The building is interesting, because inside the sourounding corridor and central room were a lot of objects found. The function of the building is not clear, but it is possible, that it was a grave of some sort. While constructing the Riemchen-Building, the former Stone-Cone-Building was already demolished, but inside the fundament of the Riemchen-Building, were parts of the Stone-Cone-Building found.

At a certain point, there had to be a fire in the building – at least in the central room. If this was done on purpose as a kind of ritual or was part of the destruction of the building, is unclear.

Eichmann, R. 2007: Uruk. Architektur I. Von den Anfängen bis zur frühdynastischen Zeit (=AUWE 14), Textteil und Beilagen, Rahden.

3D visualisation, scientific reconstruction, infographics
Prof. Dr. Ricardo Eichmann, Oriental Institute, German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Berlin
Completed in 2016
Fire in the central room of the building.
Situation after the collapse of the roof. Traces of a fire were found in the central room.