1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bismya

BISMYA, a group of ruin mounds, about 1 m. long and 1/2 m. wide, consisting of a number of low ridges, nowhere exceeding 40 ft. in height, lying in the Jezireh, somewhat nearer to the Tigris than the Euphrates, about a day’s journey to the south-east of Nippur, a little below 32° N. and about 45° 40′ E. Excavations conducted here for six months, from Christmas of 1903 to June 1904, for the university of Chicago, by Dr Edgar J. Banks, proved that these mounds covered the site of the ancient city of Adab (Ud-Nun), hitherto known only from a brief mention of its name in the introduction to the Khammurabi code (c. 2250 B.C.). The city was divided into two parts by a canal, on an island in which stood the temple, E-mach, with a ziggurat, or stage tower. It was evidently once a city of considerable importance, but deserted at a very early period, since the ruins found close to the surface of the mounds belong to Dungi and Ur Gur, kings of Ur in the earlier part of the third millennium B.C. Immediately below these, as at Nippur, were found the remains of Naram-Sin and Sar-gon, c. 3000 B.C. Below these there were still 35 ft. of stratified remains, constituting seven-eighths of the total depth of the ruins. Besides the remains of buildings, walls, graves, &c., Dr Banks discovered a large number of inscribed clay tablets of a very early period, bronze and stone tablets, bronze implements and the like. But the two most notable discoveries were a complete statue in white marble, apparently the most ancient yet found in Babylonia (now in the museum in Constantinople), bearing the inscription—“E-mach, King Da-udu, King of Ud-Nun”; and a temple refuse heap, consisting of great quantities of fragments of vases in marble, alabaster, onyx, porphyry and granite, some of which were inscribed, and others engraved and inlaid with ivory and precious stones.  (J. P. Pe.)