Telloh was the first Sumerian site to be extensively excavated, at first under the French vice-consul at Basra, Ernest de Sarzec, from 1877 to 1900, followed by his successor Gaston Cros from 1903–1909. Excavations continued under Abbé Henri de Genouillac in 1929–1931 and under André Parrot in 1931–1933. It was at Girsu that the fragments of the Stele of the Vultures were found. The site has suffered from poor excavation standards (in 1877) and also from illégal excavations (allowing European Museums collections to grow). About 50,000 cuneiform tablets have been recovered from the site.
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