Archaeologists find 5,000-year-old tavern in Iraq, refrigerator still intact

Lagash Archaeological Project (Fair Use)

A 5,000-year-old tavern with an open-air dining area and a partial kitchen was uncovered by a team of archeologists from the Penn Museum in Iraq.

The tavern is located in the southern ancient Iraqi city of Lagash, now known as Al-Hiba. Archaeologists discovered that it had benches, a refrigerator, an oven and remains of old food. 

Field Director Dr. Sara Pizzimenti from the University of Pisa suggested that instead of digging straight down, the team should use a different approach by excavating the area by digging horizontally. The team found the tavern was only 19 inches below the surface by following that approach.

Recovering a site like this almost 5,000-year-old public eatery so close to the surface is remarkable,” the Lagash Archaeological Project (LAP) Director and Curator of the Penn Museum’s Near East Section, Dr. Holly Pittman said. “Only a meticulous, multi-phased horizontal excavation can expose what remains.”

Lagash is one of the oldest and largest Mesopotamian cities during the 3rd millennium. Due to the surrounding marshes and its fertile land, it was a major production center for agriculture and fishing.