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’ 3 in the centre of Uruk carries the number 8. Architectural Layer 8 is a chronological predecessor to the famous monumental buildings of Architectural Layer 7 and consists essentially of three buildings of the Middle-Hall Type.

We scientifically reconstructed and visualised each of these buildings 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 main task was to reconstruct the scarce remains of that layer into the third dimension and to find a reasonable way to do so.

The visualisations consist of the three buildings F, G and H and some adjacent, but scarcely preserved, rooms. With the help of modules, which were analysed by Ricardo Eichmann for the architecture of Uruk, it was possible to find a first clue to reconstruct the height of the buildings. In combination with the staircase rooms of each building and therefore the estimated length of the stairs, it was possible to calculate a height for all three buildings. We discovered, that the central building G was higher than the two adjacent buildings F and H, which were nearly of the same height.


  • Eichmann, R. 1989: Uruk. Die Stratigraphie. Grabungen 1912-1977 in den Bereichen ‘Eanna’ und ‘Anu-Ziqqurrat’, (=AUWE 3), Mainz.
  • Eichmann, R. 2007: Uruk. Architektur I. Von den Anfängen bis zur frühdynastischen Zeit (=AUWE 14), Textteil und Beilagen, Rahden.