Ishchali, in the modern Diyala Governorate in Iraq (on the Diyala River, a tributary of the Tigris), was the ancient town of Nerebtum or Kiti in the city-state of Eshnunna. The site lies about three miles south and seven miles east of Baghdad and 15 miles southeast of Eshnunna.
The most notable feature of Ishchali is the main temple. It was that of Inanna-Kitium i.e. Inanna of Kiti. It is one of the largest temples ever found in the ancient Near East. Rebuilt several times, always following the original plan, the monumental building consisted of one large upper temple and two smaller areas which are thought to be shrines. The many tablets found there give an excellent picture of temple life. A number of cylinder seals dating from the Early Dynastic to the Larsa period were also found there, assumed to be relic donations to the temple.
At first, the site of Ishchali was thought to be Khafajah. Upon discovery there of a date formula that read "year that king Ishme-Bali built the great wall of Nerebtum", that designation became popular. Currently, scholarly opinion is split between Nerebtum and Kiti as the result of many tablets from the temple of Inanna of Kiti being analyzed. The name of Sadlas has also been proposed.
Items from illegal excavations at Ishchali began appearing on the open market in the 1920s, including many tablets. To pre-empt this activity, the Iraq expedition of the Oriental Institute of Chicago conducted two seasons of excavations there in 1934 and 1935. The expedition was led by Henri Frankfort and the work at Ishchali was handled by Thorkild Jacobsen and Harold Hill all of the Oriental Institute. Of the 280 tablets excavated, 138 went to the Oriental Institute with the remaining 142 assigned to the Iraq Museum. The tablets illegally excavated from Ishchali are in many locations including the Lowie Museum of Anthropology at Berkeley, the Musee d'Art d'Histoire in Geneva, Iraq Museum, Oriental Institute, and the Free Library of Philadelphia.