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Archaeological evidence shows that in the 4th millennium BC, Eridu covered an area of 100 acres (~40 hectares), with a 50 ac (20 ha) residential section and a 30 ac (12 ha) acropolis. The primary economic foundation of the earliest settlement at Eridu was fishing. Fishing nets and weights and whole bales of dried fish have been found at the site: models of reed boats, the earliest physical evidence we have for constructed boats anywhere, are also known from Eridu.
Eridu is best known for its temples, called ziggurats. The earliest temple, dated to the Ubaid period about 5570 BCE, consisted of a small room with what scholars have termed a cult niche and an offering table. After a break, there were several ever-larger temples built and rebuilt on this temple site throughout its history. Each of these later temples was built following the classical, early Mesopotamian format of a tripartite plan, with a buttressed façade and a long central room with an altar. The Ziggurat of Enki—the one modern visitors can see at Eridu—was built 3,000 years after the city's founding.
Recent excavations have also found evidence of several Ubaid-period pottery works, with huge scatters of potsherds and kiln wasters.