Sunday, 23 November 2014

Gold of the Royal Cemetery of Ur

Ur was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in southern Iraq. Although Ur was once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Gulf, the coastline has shifted and the city is now inland, south of the Euphrates, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Nasiriyah.

The city dates from circa 3800 BC. According to one estimate, Ur was the largest city in the world from c.2030 to 1980 BC. Research indicates that the area was struck by severe drought conditions from 2200 to 2000 BC.
Close to temple buildings at the centre of the city of Ur, a rubbish dump built up over centuries. Unable to use the area for building, the people of Ur started to bury their dead there. The cemetery was used between about 2600-2000 BC and hundreds of burials were made in pits. Many of these contained very rich materials.

British archaeologist Leonard Woolley discovered the tomb of Puabi, which was excavated by his team along with some 1800 other graves at the "Royal Cemetery of Ur" between 1922 and 1934.

Puabi's tomb was unique among the other excavations; not only because of the large amount of high quality and well-preserved grave goods, but also because her tomb had been untouched by looters through the millennia.

Along a wall, three lyres and a harp deteriorated by time stood still in silence. Woolley described the scenery as if “the last player had her arm over her harp, certainly she played to the end”.