Eridu(redirected from Abu Shahrayn)
(also Eredu), one of the oldest Sumerian cities (now Abu Shahrain), located in what is now southern Iraq. Founded on the shore of the Persian Gulf, Eridu developed into the center of an early farming society in southern Mesopotamia (the Eredu culture flourished from the end of the sixth millennium to the first half of the fifth millennium B.C). It was later the center of the Ubaid, or Obeid, culture and then of the Uruk culture (fourth millennium B.C). It is mentioned in written sources dating from the middle of the third millennium to the middle of the first millennium B.C. At the beginning of the third millennium B.C, it lost its importance as a city but remained the center of the cult of Ea (Enki), the god of waters and wisdom.
Excavations, conducted in 1918–20 and 1946–48, uncovered mud-brick dwellings and public buildings, a ziggurat, and platform temples, built on the site of earlier sanctuaries, including the temple of Ea, with remains of sacrifices (fishbones). The temples consisted of an elongated hall with an altar and small chambers flanking the hall on two sides, the usual plan of the Sumerian temple (beginning in the fifth millennium B.C). In the necropolis at Eridu (Ubaid period), approximately 1,000 mud-brick cists were unearthed. Cultic articles, pottery, and weapons were found.