This remarkable survival will be preserved by a team of British Museum archaeologists and Iraqi heritage professionals who are being trained to protect ancient sites that have suffered damage at the hands of Daesh.
Built for the ancient Sumerian city of Girsu, the bridge was only rediscovered in 1929. Described at the time as an ‘enigmatic construction’, it has been variously interpreted as a temple, dam and water regulator.
Recent studies using 1930s photographs as well as recently declassified satellite imagery from the 1960s, alongside new research at the site, have confirmed that it was a bridge over an ancient waterway and that it is (at the time of writing) the earliest-known bridge in the world. Since the excavations nearly 90 years ago, the bridge has remained open and exposed, with no identifiable conservation work to address its long-term stability or issues of erosion, and no plans to manage the site or tell its story to the wider world.
The preliminary assessment stressed the urgency of carrying out a larger and more ambitious conservation program, including emergency excavations. Even during this early phase, two trenches were uncovered, containing well-preserved deposits of the prehistoric Ubaid period dating to the fifth millennium BC. These contain a wealth of information on the origins of Girsu and, consequently, the birth of urban centers in Mesopotamia, one of the earliest known civilizations. This would improve international recognition of the rich and important heritage of Iraq.
there is a far more interesting article about it at https://archaeopress.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/the-tello-ancient-girsu-project-iraq-scheme-the-british-museum/
Tello, the modern Arabic name for the ancient Sumerian city of Girsu, is one of the earliest known cities of the world together with Uruk, Eridu and Ur. In the 3rd millennium BC Girsu was considered the sanctuary of the Sumerian heroic god. It was the sacred metropolis and centre of a city-state that lay in the south-easternmost part of the Mesopotamian alluvium. Pioneering explorations carried out between 1877 and 1933 and the decipherment of the cuneiform tablets discovered there revealed to the world the existence of the Sumerians who invented writing 5,000 years ago and may have developed a primitive form of democracy or polyarchy well before the ancient Greeks
to see the few artifacts found at the site: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?people=93467&peoA=93467-4-7