- City in central Mesopotamia, some 15 kilometers east of Babylon (several sites: Tell Oheimir, El-Khazneh, El-Bender, and Ingharra). One of the oldest cities, it was continually occupied from c. 5000 B.C. to the sixth century A.D. It was first excavated by a French team under Henri de Genouillac (1912), then by the British as the Field Museum–University of Oxford joint project, under Stephen Langdon and Ernest Mackay (1923–1933). No final report has been published, though various other scholars, such as McGuire Gibson and Roger Moorey, revisited the site in the 1970s. According to the Sumerian King List,“kingship came down from heaven again at Kish” after the Great Flood to begin the First Dynasty of Kish. The text lists 23 kings at Kish with very long reigns (a total of 24,510 years). The penultimate ruler, Mebaragesi, is documented by an inscribed vase that bears this name and title. The Second Dynasty of Kish, listed after that of Awan, had eight kings reigning for 360 years. None of these kings are known from written sources that have preserved the names of other kings of Kish who are not mentioned in the Sumerian King List; the most important of those is Mesalim, of whom several inscribed objects survive. During this time, the Early Dynastic period, there were several independent city-states; Kish was one of them, although the title “king of Kish” began to imply sovereignty over all of Sumer and Akkad, and it was borne by Sargon and his successors during the Akkadian period. The Third Dynasty of Kish (c. 2450–2350) was said to have been founded by a woman, the “innkeeper” Kubaba. Again according to the Sumerian King List, she was defeated by the ruler of Akshak. Her son Puzur-Sin regained power and initiated the Fourth Dynasty of Kish, which was brought to an end by Lugalzagesi, who was captured by Sargon. Thereafter, the city was never the seat of kingship again, but it remained an important center of learning, as it had been since the Early Dynastic period. The main archaeological discoveries were Early Dynastic houses and graves from the Early Dynastic period in Ingharra, as well as the terraces of large zigguratsfrom the same period. There were also the remains of a palaceand an administrative building. At Tell Oheimir, the templecomplex of the godZadaba dates from the Old Babylonian period, and in “mound W” a Neo-Assyrian tablet collection from the seventh century was discovered.
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. EdwART. 2012.