Region of ancient Mesopotamia, south of modern Ba‛quba and north-east of Baghdad, Iraq. The area incorporates five major cities that flourished first during the Jemdet Nasr and Early Dynastic periods (c. 3100–c. 2340 bc) and has provided numerous examples of Sumerian architecture and sculpture. The region was also important during the Isin–Larsa period (c. 2000–c. 1760 bc).
Until the middle of the 1st millennium bc, the main stream of the Tigris River below Samarra’ followed a line some distance to the east of its present course. In Abbasid times this ancient bed formed part of the Nahrawan canal, which, together with the tributary waters of the River Diyala, created a wide basin of cultivatable land. Later, with the Nahrawan fallen into disrepair and the Diyala deflected by a weir, the whole province became a wilderness strewn with abandoned city-mounds.
There has been much excavation since ...