The Ur Region Archaeology Project has been working at the two mounds of Tell Khaiber, 20 km from the ancient city of Ur, in Thi Qar province. On the ground, these low-lying mounds hid their secrets well, but when viewed from above by satellite, large public buildings were revealed, showing their importance in antiquity. From the pottery collected on the surface, we can say that people first came to live there about 4,000 BC and the important buildings were in use around 1500 BC when a western branch of the Euphrates River passed close by.
The Tell Khaiber mounds were first documented by Professor Henry T. Wright of the University of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1965. He collected and dated surface finds from them, and made sketch maps. A visit in January 2012 by some of the URAP team confirmed that the archaeological remains were intact and had not been disturbed by looters, and that they were located in an area safe to work.
Supported by local workmen, a team of international and Iraqi archaeologists excavated annually at Tell Khaiber from 2013 through 2017. This has gradually revealed the virtually complete plan of a fortified administrative building dating to the time of the Sealand Kings, a period about which very little is otherwise known. Research is now underway into the findings from this substantial edifice, in particular its archive of 200 cuneiform tablets, which document the business of the occupants and their neighbours, with particular reference to the collection and re-distribution of quantities of grain, which they were obliged to supply, store and record. These and other finds will be published in a final report, currently in preparation.