Old Babylonian Housing (EM Site)

Woolley fully excavated during his fourth season area just west of Pit F and the EH Site, which he labeled the EM Site. He uncovered a residential quarter that measured approximately 30 meters by 20 meters that included private houses aligned along a series of winding streets and alleyways. The mud and baked brick houses had up to nine rooms each that were centered on an open-air paved courtyard, with each house differing in size and appearance. Some of the houses had brick staircases that either led to a second-story or simply to a rooftop. The streets were narrow and mud-paved, and the brickwork on the street corners was rounded in what Woolley described as “either built on a curve or trimmed after building, so as to avoid the scraping of the pack-load or of the rider’s foot.”

In all, he identified 18 houses and a number of small buildings positioned along 5 separate streets and lanes of which he gave English names, such as Quiet Street and Quality Lane. The houses ranged in ages, with the lowest levels dating to the Isin-Larsa/Old Babylonian periods that were fairly well preserved. Woolley dated some of the ruins to the Kassite and Neo-Babylonian periods, but found them in advanced stages of deterioration, as some were completely destroyed down to foundation levels. He found a number of burials under some of the houses, as well as cuneiform tablets, including a batch from the reign of Hammurabi and the early years of his son Samsu-iluna.