BAGHDAD (TheBlaze/AP) -- A British archaeologist says he and his colleagues have unearthed a huge, rare complex near the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq, home of the biblical Abraham. The team first discovered the magnificent find using a satellite.
Stuart Campbell of Manchester University's Archaeology Department says the site goes back about 4,000 years, around the time Abraham would have lived there. It's believed to be an administrative center for Ur.
This photo taken on March 31, 2013 photo provided by Manchester University professor Stuart Campbell shows excavation in progress at Tell Khaiber, Iraq. Credit: AP
"It has been off-limits to international archaeologists for many decades so the opportunity of re-engaging with the study of the earliest cities is a truly exciting one," Campbell said, according to Phys.org. "The satellite photos suggested the presence of a substantial building, and our survey has indeed confirmed that there is a building about 80m square, probably connected to the administration of Ur."
Campbell said Thursday it's roughly the size of a football pitch -- about 80 meters on each side. He says complexes of this size and age are rare. The archaeologist also says one of the finds is a plaque of a worshipper wearing a flowing robe and approaching a sacred site.
This photo taken on April 1, 2013 provided by Manchester University archaeologist Stuart Campbell shows a clay plaque, which shows a worshipper approaching a sacred place. Credit: AP
It's the first British archaeological dig in southern Iraq since the 80s. It's possible because parts of Iraq are now relatively stable. Campbell heralds the opportunity to study the area.
"As well as offering unparalleled opportunities for redeveloping research in one of the most important areas of archaeology in the world, the project is also building partnerships with local practitioners and institutions," he continued. "The aim is to help rebuild capacity in archaeological expertise and heritage management, working alongside members of Iraq's State Board for Antiquities and Heritage, and to address the 20-year isolation from the international community."
Read more about the project here.