Archaeologists from the universities of Pennsylvania and Pisa have discovered a 5,000-year-old tavern during excavations in Iraq. Holly Pittman, professor of art history at the University of Pennsylvania, explained in a press release from her university that it is a public dining hall dated to around 2700 BC.
A long search in Iraq
The researcher has investigated the area with interruptions since 1990. However, the most significant find so far has been the restaurant. Benches, a sort of clay refrigerator, a large oven and numerous bowls were also found – many of them still containing fish remains.
The discovery challenges previous assumptions that society at the time consisted only of elites and slaves, and provides insight into how people lived in Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago.
The dining room is proof that people voluntarily got together and spent time together.
“The fact that there was a public meeting place where people could sit down and have a beer and eat their fish stew shows that they weren’t working under the tyranny of royalty,” said Reed Goodman of the University of Pennsylvania
Lagash, the current city of al-Hiba, was one of the oldest and largest cities in the region. The famous archaeological sites of Uruk and Ur are each only about 50 kilometers away.
With over 450 hectares, Lagash was one of the largest cities in southern Iraq during the 3rd millennium. Scholars also assume that Lagash was an important population center. People would have had access to fertile land and would have engaged in handicrafts.