Uruk Visualisation Project: The seleucid period
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.

During the Seleucid period (3rd – 2nd century BCE), Uruk was an important religious centre featuring large complexes of sacral architecture, such as the “Bit Resh” and its adjoining ziggurat, dedicated to the divine couple of Anu and Antum; the Irigal, home of the goddess Ishtar; the “Bit Akitu” (house of the New year’s festival); the Eanna ziggurat; and the Karaindash temple.

We scientifically reconstructed and visualised each of these buildings as part of the “Uruk Visualisation Project”, initiated under the direction of Dr. Margarete van Ess of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin.

For the reconstruction process, we considered variations of specific buildings whenever the archaeological evidence was inconclusive or hinted at more than one possible reconstruction. In the case of the architectural connection between the Bit Resh and the adjoining Anu ziggurat, for example, two solutions were discussed and developed. Also, the number of terraces at the Eanna ziggurat and the appearance of its high temple were subject to discussion, which resulted in the creation of two different models.

The results of our work were presented within a large exhibition about Uruk, called ‘Uruk – 5000 years of the megacity’, in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, and subsequently at the LWL-Museum für Archäologie, Herne, in 2013/14.

Kose, A. 1998: Uruk Architektur IV. Von der Seleukiden- bis zur Sasanidenzeit, AUWE 17, Mainz.

Kose, A. 2013: Himmelsgott, König, Tempelgemeinde - Die Nachblüte der altorientalischen Stadt Uruk in der Seleukidenzeit, in: Crüsemann, N. et al. (Eds.), Uruk - 5000 Jahre Megacity. Ausstellungskatalog, Petersberg, 321-329.

Kose, A. 2013: Das seleukidische Resch-Heiligtum, in: Crüsemann, N. et al. (Eds.), Uruk - 5000 Jahre Megacity. Ausstellungskatalog, Petersberg, 333-339.

Miglus, P.A. 1993: Architektur der Festhäuser in Assur und Uruk sowie des Assur-Tempels in Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, in: BaM 24, 193-216.

3D visualisation, scientific reconstruction, infographics
Dr. Margarete van Ess, Oriental Institute, German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Berlin
Completed in 2010
Overview of the Bit Resh with Anu ziggurat and Irigal.
The video shows a detail of the Bit Resh: the so-called Anu-Antum Temple. It was made as a visual aid during the exhibition "Uruk - 5.000 years of the megacity". We therefore did not add any sound.
View of the Bit Resh within a tentative setting of palm groves.