On Thursday, British archaeologists unearthed a large structure near the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq that they believe is about 4,000 years old.
The complex might have served as an administrative center for the city at around the same time that Abraham would have lived there before leaving for Canaan, according to the Bible. Ur was the last capital of the Sumerian royal dynasties.
Stuart Campbell of Manchester University's Archaeology Department led the dig. "This is a breathtaking find," he said.
The site is near the partially reconstructed Ziggurat, or Sumerian temple, and is about the size of a football field. Campbell said the complex was extremely rare because of its size and age, Fox News reports.
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"It appears that it is some sort of public building. It might be an administrative building, it might have religious connections or controlling goods to the city of Ur," he said during a phone interview.
One of the artifacts that the team unearthed was a small clay plaque showing a worshipper wearing a long, fringed robe. The figure appears to be approaching a sacred site.
In addition to artifacts, the site could offer clues about the environmental and economic conditions of the region through analysis of plant and animal remains.
The dig started last month, when six British archaeologists teamed with four Iraqi archaeologists to start excavating a site about 200 miles south of Baghdad.
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Campbell's team was the first British-led archaeological group to begin a dig in southern Iraq since the '80s.
"This has been an opportunity to get back to an area very close to our heart for a long time," Campbell said.