Of Hillah), Nippur (Niffer) - where stood the great sanctuary of El -lil, the older Bel - Uruk or Erech (Warka) and Larsa (Senkera) with its temple of the sun-god, while eastward of the Shatt el-Hai, probably the ancient channel of the Tigris, was Lagash (Tello), which played an important part in early Babylonian history.
Meanwhile (1877-1881) the French consul, de Sarzec, had been excavating at Tello, the ancient Lagash, and bringing to light monuments of the pre-Semitic age, which included the diorite statues of Gudea now in the Louvre, the stone of which, according to the inscriptions upon them, had been brought from Magan, the Sinaitic peninsula.
The subsequent excavations of de Sarzec in Tello and its neighbourhood carried the history of the city back to at least 4000 B.C., and a collection of more than 30,000 tablets has been found, which were arranged on shelves in the time of Gudea (c.2700 B.C.).
In 1886-1887 a German expedition under Dr Koldewey explored the cemetery of El Hibba (immediately to the south of Tello), and for the first time made us acquainted with the burial customs of ancient Babylonia.
In Babylonia, in place of the basrelief we have the figure in the round, the earliest examples being the statues from Tello which are realistic but somewhat clumsy.
Stone as well as clay and glass were employed in the manufacture of vases, and vases of hard stone have been disinterred at Tello similar to those of the early dynastic period of Egypt.
From the inscriptions found at Tello, it appears that Lagash was a city of great importance in the Sumerian period, some time probably in the 4th millennium B.C. It was at that time ruled by independent kings, Ur-Nina and his successors, who were engaged in contests with the Elamites on the east and the kings of Kengi and Kish on the north.
The objects found at Tello are the most valuable art treasures up to this time discovered in Babylonia.
As at Tello, so at Nippur, the clay archives of the temple were found not in the temple proper, but on an outlying mound.
Been Hadadnadinaches (c. 100 B.C.), who built in Tello the fortified palace which has been excavated by de Sarzec.