added by archaeologs A tell site at Abu Shahrain, identified as the ancient Eridu, the oldest city of Sumer - possibly the oldest in history. Occupation began in the 'Ubaid period, the earliest phase of which is named after this site, in the mid 6th millennium BC. A series of temples of the 'Ubaid and Uruk periods have been found, decorated with typical Sumerian buttresses and niches in the walls. Its long succession of superimposed temples portrayed the growth and development of an elaborate mud-brick architecture. A palace of the Early Dynastic period c 2500 BC has also been excavated. It was important throughout Mesopotamian history as a religious center and sanctuary of Enki (Ea). Outside the temple precinct, a large cemetery of the late 'Ubaid period was found; containing around 1000 graves. Grave goods include painted pottery vessels, terra-cotta figurines, and baked clay tools, such as sickles and shaft-hole axes. The site declined in importance with the rise of Ur under its 3rd dynasty (c 2100 BC) and was occupied until around c 600 BC.