Ancient Babylonia - Archaeology


Gilgamesh Tablet

The Hammurapi Stele

Ancient Map

Clay Model of a Sheep's Liver

Mathematics Tablet

Sheeps Liver Cuneiform

Seal Impression

Israelite Seal to Pedaiah

Clay Cylinder of Nabopolassar

The Striding Lion

The Ishtar Gate

The Dragon of Marduk

Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon

The Babylonian Chronicles

Basalt Block Inscription

The Ziggurats

Nabonidus Stele

Cyrus Cylinder




The modern recovery of the history of Babylonia began in the 19th century, following in the wake of the great archaeological discoveries in Assyria. Although initially the finds were not as spectacular as those in the northern region, the gradual exploration of Babylonia has awakened knowledge of its great civilization, which has developed throughout the 20th century.


At the present time the area is filled with ruin-hills or mounds of accumulation of debris, which reveal the sites of ancient cities. Some of these cities were destroyed in a very early era, and were never rebuilt. Others were occupied for millenniums, and their history extends far into the Christian era. The antiquities generally found in the upper stratum of the mounds which were occupied up to so late a period, show that they were generally inhabited by the Jews, who lived there after the Babylonians had disappeared.


There has been literally hundreds of thousands of inscriptions on clay and stone discovered on various sites in Iraq.

At Tello more than 60,000 tablets were found, belonging largely to the administrative archives of the temple of the 3 rd millennium BC.

At Nippur about 50,000 inscriptions were found, many of these also belonging to temple archives. But about 20,000 tablets and fragments found in that city came from the library of the school of the priests, which had been written in the 3 rd millennium BC.

At Sippar, fully 30,000 tablets were found, many being of the same general character, also representing a library.

At Delehem and Djokha, temple archives of the same period as those found at Tello have come to light in great numbers, through the illicit diggings of Arabs.

Babylon, Borsippa, Kish, Erech and many other cities have yielded to the explorer and the Arab diggers inscribed documents of every period of Babylonian history, and embracing almost every kind of literature, so that the museums and libraries of America and Europe have stored up unread inscriptions numbering hundreds of thousands. Many also are in the possession of private individuals.

The Ruins of Nebuchadnezzars Babylon

Travelers and explorers have been drawn to Babylon for centuries, but serious archaeological research did not start until the mid 19th century. Much of the more recent work was carried out by German teams, but in the last few decades the task has been taken over by the Iraqi government. Almost everything that has been excavated relates to the great city built by Nebuchadnezzar II. The change in the course of the Euphrates River and a rise in the water table, along with the fact that king Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt the city so thoroughly, means that very little from before his time has been found or is likely to be.


Many inscriptions in cuneiform have been found, which describe the city. There is also an account by the Greek historian Herodotus, who visited the city of Babylon in about 460 BC. These make it possible to attempt a reconstruction of Babylon in the height of its glory.

There was a vast double wall on both sides of the Euphrates River with 8 gates, at least one of which, the Ishtar Gate, was faced with glazed bricks depicting bulls and dragons. From the Ishtar Gate ran the Processional Way a wide paved road flanked by walls decorated with glazed and gilded bricks showing lions and dragons, which led to the Temple of Marduk and the adjacent Tower of Babel ziggurat which reached to 300 feet high.

There were 4 other temples, and west of the Ishtar Gate stood 2 palace complexes. The German archaeologist Robert Koldewey, who excavated the site from 1899 to 1917, found vaults in one of these palaces which he believed to be the foundations of the legendary Hanging Gardens.


The present site consists of several mounds which cover the remains of Nebuchadnezzar's summer palace, the Ishtar Gate and a further palace complex, the Temple of Marduk and the ziggurat, and a residential area. A reconstruction has been made of the Ishtar Gate, and other works are being carried out by the Iraqi government.

Ancient Babylonia
Ancient Babylonia
by R. Russell

2 Kin 24:13-14 "And Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king's house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said. Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land."

Also see: Ancient Babylonia Map

Fall of Babylon Heart Message




History of Babylonia

Old Babylonian Period (2000 - 1595 BC)

The Amorites, Isin and Larsa, Hammurapi of Babylon, Classical Period, The Language, Religion Law Science and the Arts, Babylon, The KassitesThe People of the Sealand, The Hittite Kingdom

Middle Babylonian Period (1595 - 1000 BC)

The Kassite Dynasty, Kadashman-Enlil I and Burnaburiash II, Kurigalzu II, Elam and Assyria, Dur Kurigalzu a New Capital, The Kudurru, Nebuchadnezzar I, The Aramaeans, The Culture

Neo Babylonian Period (1000 - 539 BC)

Assyria, Nabu-nasir, Tiglath pileser III, The Babylonian Chronicles, The Chaldeans, Sennacherib, Ashurbanipal, Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar II, The Fall of Babylon


Sumerian Origins, Schools of Scribes, Numbering Tablets, Aramaic and Greek, Poetry, Music, Myths, The Gilgamesh Epic, The Babylonian Flood Myth, Biblical Flood, Prayers and Hymns, Wisdom Literature, Prophecy, Cuneiform


Marduk and his son Nabu, Babylonian Gods, Temples and Rituals, Priests, Personal Idols, Divination, Astrology, Extispicy, The New Year's Festival, Morality, Prayers and Hymns, Prophecy

Law and Justice

Shamash the Sun God, Civil Law, Law Codes, Hammurapi and Retaliation, Code of Hammurapi Text, Legal Disputes, Labor, Criminal Law, Prisons Slaves and Women, Legal Documents

King and State

Monarchy, The King's Palace, The King's Harem, Communication, Roads, Scribes, Nebuchadnezzar II

Economy and Social Structure

Houses and Farms, Irrigation, Artisans, Manufacturing, Trade, Social Hierarchy, Family and Tribe, Domestic Relations, Schools


Scientific Knowledge, Astronomy, The Calendar, Mathematics, Medicine, Nature


Gilgamesh Tablet, The Hammurapi Stele, Ancient Map, Clay Model of a Sheep's Liver, Mathematics Tablet, Sheeps Liver Cuneiform, Seal Impression, Israelite Seal to Pedaiah, Clay Cylinder of Nabopolassar, The Striding Lion, The Ishtar Gate, The Dragon of Marduk, Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon, The Babylonian Chronicles, Basalt Block Inscription, The Ziggurats, Nabonidus Stele, Cyrus Cylinder

Biblical History

David Anoints Solomon, Solomon's Choice, Solomon's Temple, God's Ideal King, The Divided Kingdom, The Northern Kingdom Israel, The Southern Kingdom Judah, Judah's Kings, Hezekiah, The Destruction of Jerusalem, The Babylonian Captivity, Daniel and the Prophets, Nebuchadnezzar, The Return from Babylon

Questions about Babylon Answered in the Bible



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