Missione Archeologica Italiana a Nigin (MAIN), Iraq
The Italian Archaeological Expedition to Tell Surghul is a join project between Sapienza University of Rome and Perugia University, co-directed by Davide Nadali and Andrea Polcaro. The site is a settlement of about 70 hectares, characterized by two principal mounds, called Mound A and Mound B. The first one, reaching actually a height of about 15 meters, is located in the center of the site and corresponds to the main occupational phases of the acropolis of ancient Nigin. The second one, reaching nowadays a height of 5 meters, is located 160 meters south-west from Mound A. Both mounds still show the signs of the two deep excavation trenches operated by Robert Koldewey in 1887. The site of Tell Surghul was already identified as Nigin, one of the three main cities of the ancient Sumerian State of Lagash, corresponding to Tell el-Hibba (located just 7 kilometers to northwest), by the first excavations and surveys operated at the site in the past centuries.
Several cuneiform sources of the First and Second dynasties of Lagash describe the ancient city of Nigin referring to the existence of many sanctuaries (the main one dedicated to the goddess Nanshe) and the canal of the Sumerian state, coming from Tello and reaching the sea to the South.
The first excavations of the Italian Archaeological Expedition in 2015 showed that the history of site is more ancient and dates back to the V millennium BC, in the Ubaid Period, with an impotent and large settlement in the IV millennium BC in the Late Uruk Period.