The site of Tell al-'Ubaid is famous partly
for the discovery there of a kind of prehistoric pottery to which it
has given its name.
Tell al-'Ubaid lies close to the site of Ur in what was
southernmost Mesopotamia - the silting up of the mouths of the Tigris
and Euphrates has since caused the coastline of the Persian Gulf to move
The Ubaid culture had arisen from the earliest settlement of the
alluvial flood plain in southern Mesopotamia in the late sixth
millennium (starting from around 5300 BC). After spreading outwards in the
fifth millennium to displace the earlier Halaf culture in the north,
it lasted until around 3900 BC.
The Temple of Ninhursag
It was in this area, at Ur, that the Sumerians built a temple to the great mother goddess Ninhursag,
situating it on a high terrace within an oval enclosure. Foundation inscriptions date the creation of the temple to the reign of A-ane-pada,
king of Ur in around 2500 BC.
Ninhursag was the Sumerian earth and
mother goddess, as well as being a goddess of fertility who created all
vegetation. She was the consort of the supreme god Enki (and as
such she is identified with Damgalnunna, the later Babylonian earth
One of the oldest
members of the Sumerian pantheon, Ninhursag had prestigious titles such as
'mother of the gods' and 'mother of all children'.