The hilly aspect of several parts of the central plateau is not due to foldings of the strata, which for the most part appear to be horizontal, but chiefly to the excavating action of the rivers, whose valleys are deeply eroded in the plateau, especially on its borders.
These lowlands, dotted over with numberless marshes and lakes, seem to have emerged from the sea at a quite recent geological period; the rivers that meander across them are still excavating their valleys.
The subdrift system requires a smaller amount of narrow work in excavating the necessary haulage roads, and is therefore better adapted to hard ores in which such narrow work is expensive.
Meanwhile (1877-1881) the French consul, de Sarzec, had been excavating at Tello, the ancient Lagash, and bringing to light monuments of the pre-Semitic age, which included the diorite statues of Gudea now in the Louvre, the stone of which, according to the inscriptions upon them, had been brought from Magan, the Sinaitic peninsula.
Nabonidus (Nabunaid), who was more of an antiquarian than a politician, and spent his time in excavating the older temples of his country and ascertaining the names of their builders, tells us that Naram-Sin, the son of Sargon of Akkad, lived 3200 years before himself (i.e.
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