A small team of archaeologists working from satellite images hinting at a buried structure have uncovered the corner of a monumental complex with rows of rooms around a large courtyard, believed to be about 4,000 years old.

“The size is breathtaking,” says Jane Moon, a University of Manchester archaeologist who heads the expedition. Ms. Moon says the walls of the structure are almost nine feet thick, indicating that the building was of great importance or indicated great wealth.

The discovery is even more significant because of its location more than 10 miles from Ur, on what would then have been the banks of the Euphrates River – the first major archaeological find that far from the city.

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