University of Pennsylvania Museum Archives

Searching for early Ur, Woolley excavated several enormous pits. Arrayed along the edges and the stairs of the pit are the Arab workers enlisted to do the dirty work—in this case, removing 450,000 cubic feet of dirt. About 65 feet below the surface of the tell, Woolley found evidence of the earliest community at Ur: sherds of pottery with simple painted designs, mudbricks, stone tools, clay sickles, spindle whorls, and a handful of graves, dating to the fifth millennium B.C.E.