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By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Borsippa (modern Birs Nimrud) had a striking ruin of a ziggurat rising high above its mounds (Jastrow 1915, p 30). Borsippa was close to Babylon, likely forming a single complex in antiquity (Jastrow 1915, p 31). After restorations at the start of the 6th century BC, the tower had seven stages whose lowest stage was 272 square feet and 26 feet high (Jastrow 1915, p 32). Brick fragments were glazed in black, blue, red and possibly other colors. Regarding excavating the ziggurat, the following story is remarkable:

[In the fall of 1854, Rawlinson] first made a careful study of the exposed portions of the tower at Birs Nimrud with a view to determine its general construction and extent, the number of its stages and an estimate of the depth of the lowest layer. Assuming that at the four corners of the huge construction, foundation clay cylinders with dedicatory inscriptions would be found in site, he on the basis of his measurements began to remove the bricks at one of the exposed angles of the third stage and within an hour a perfect cylinder was brought out by one of the workmen at the very spot where Rawlinson had told the workmen to search for it. A second one was found at another corner, and fragments of a third. The inscription proved that Rawlinson had discovered the famous tower of Borsippa which bore the name of E-ur-imin-an-ki, "House of the seven divisions of heaven and earth," indicating that the tower symbolized the entire universe, connecting the earth, as it were, with the heavens. (Jastrow 1915, p 31-32)