Puabi (Akkadian: 𒅤𒀀𒉿 Pu-A-Bi "Word of my father"), also called Shubad due to a misinterpretation by Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, was an important person in the Sumerian city of Ur, during the First Dynasty of Ur (c. 2600 BC).Commonly labeled as a "queen", her status is somewhat in dispute, although several cylinder seals in her tomb identify her by the title " nin " or "eresh", a Sumerian word denoting a queen or a priestess. As most women’s cylinder seals at the time would include a reference to one’s husband, Puabi’s seal does not place her in relation to any king or husband, which supports the theory that she ruled on her own. The fact that Puabi, herself a Semitic Akkadian, was an important figure among Sumerians, indicates a high degree of cultural exchange and influence between the ancient Sumerians and their Semitic neighbors. Although little is known about Puabi's life, the discovery of Puabi’s tomb and its death pit reveals important information as well as raises questions about Mesopotamian society and culture.
Akkadian is an extinct East Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia from the 30th century BC until its gradual replacement by Akkadian-influenced Old Aramaic among Mesopotamians by the eighth century BC.
Sumer is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia, modern-day southern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze ages, and one of the first civilizations in the world along with Ancient Egypt and the Indus Valley. Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumerian farmers were able to grow an abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus of which enabled them to settle in one place. Prehistoric proto-writing dates back before 3000 BC. The earliest texts come from the cities of Uruk and Jemdet Nasr and date to between roughly c. 3500 and c. 3000 BC.
Ur was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in south Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate. Although Ur was once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf, the coastline has shifted and the city is now well inland, on the south bank of the Euphrates, 16 kilometres from Nasiriyah in modern-day Iraq.
British archaeologist Leonard Woolleydiscovered the tomb of Puabi, which was excavated between 1922 and 1934 by a joint team sponsored by the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Puabi's tomb was found along with some 1,800 other graves at the "Royal Cemetery of Ur". Puabi's tomb was clearly unique among the other excavations, not only because of the large number of high-quality and well-preserved grave goods, but also because her tomb had been untouched by looters through the millennia.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Sir Charles Leonard Woolley was a British archaeologist best known for his excavations at Ur in Mesopotamia. He is recognized as one of the first "modern" archaeologists, who excavated in a methodical way, keeping careful records, and using them to reconstruct ancient life and history. Woolley was knighted in 1935 for his contributions to the discipline of archaeology.. He married the British archaeologist Katharine Woolley.
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology—commonly called the Penn Museum—is an archaeology and anthropology museum that is part of the University of Pennsylvania. It is located on Penn's campus in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia.
The number of grave goods that Woolley uncovered in Puabi's tomb was staggering, and included a magnificent, heavy, golden headdress made of golden leaves, rings, and plates; a superb lyre (see Lyres of Ur), complete with the golden and lapis-lazuli encrusted bearded bull's head; a profusion of gold tableware; golden, carnelian, and lapis lazuli cylindrical beads for extravagant necklaces and belts; a chariot adorned with lionesses' heads in silver, and an abundance of silver, lapis lazuli, and golden rings and bracelets, as well as her headdress, a belt made of gold rings, carnelian and lapis beads, and other various rings and earrings. Puabi’s headdress drew inspiration from nature in its floral motifs and is made up of gold ribbons and leaves, lapis and carnelian beads, and gold flowers.
The Lyres of Ur or Harps of Ur are considered to be the world's second oldest surviving stringed instruments after the ones discovered in the Maykop culture. In 1929, archaeologists led by the British archaeologist Leonard Woolley, representing a joint expedition of the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, discovered the instruments when excavating the Royal Cemetery of Ur between from 1922 and 1934. They discovered pieces of three lyres and one harp in Ur, located in what was Ancient Mesopotamia and is contemporary Iraq. They are over 4,500 years old, from ancient Mesopotamia during the Early Dynastic III Period. The decorations on the lyres are fine examples of the court art of Mesopotamia of the period.
Tableware are the dishes or dishware used for setting a table, serving food and dining. It includes cutlery, glassware, serving dishes and other useful items for practical as well as decorative purposes. The quality, nature, variety and number of objects varies according to culture, religion, number of diners, cuisine and occasion. For example, Middle Eastern, Indian or Polynesian food culture and cuisine sometimes limits tableware to serving dishes, using bread or leaves as individual plates. Special occasions are usually reflected in higher quality tableware.
Lapis lazuli, or lapis for short, is a deep blue metamorphic rock used as a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color.
A number of “death pits” were also found outside of the chambers as well as above Puabi’s chamber, which calls into question the initial attribution of the death pits to Puabi specifically. — retainers who were suspected by excavator Leonard Woolley to have poisoned themselves (or been poisoned by others) to serve their mistress in the next world. In Puabi’s chamber, the remains of three other people were found, and these personal servants had minor adornments of their own. The pit found above Puabi’s chamber contained 21 attendants, an elaborate harp/lyre, a chariot, and what was left of a large chest of personal grooming items. Due to the location of the pits and general lack of evidence, it is largely unclear whether the death pits can be directly linked to Puabi.The largest and most well-known death pit held 74 attendants, 6 men and 68 women, all adorned with various gold, silver, and lapis decoration, and one female figure that appeared to be more elaborately adorned than the others. She was also buried with 52 attendants: servants, guards, horse, lions, a chariot, and several other bodies
Recent evidence derived from CAT scans through the University of Pennsylvania Museum suggests that some of the sacrifices were likely violent and caused by blunt force trauma. A pointed, weighted tool could explain the shatter patterns on the skulls that resulted in death, while a small hammer-like tool was also found, retrieved and catalogued by Woolley during his original excavation. The size and weight fit the damage sustained by the two bodies examined by Aubrey Baadsgaard, PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Cinnabar, or mercury vapour residue, was observed as well, and it would have been utilized to prevent or slow the decomposition of the bodies for the necessary funerary rites.
Cinnabar and cinnabarite, likely deriving from the Ancient Greek: κιννάβαρι (kinnabari), refer to the common bright scarlet to brick-red form of mercury(II) sulfide (HgS) that is the most common source ore for refining elemental mercury, and is the historic source for the brilliant red or scarlet pigment termed vermilion and associated red mercury pigments.
Puabi's physical remains, including pieces of the badly damaged skull, are kept in the Natural History Museum, London.The excavated finds from Woolley's expedition were divided among the British Museum in London, the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the National Museum in Baghdad. Several pieces of the treasure were looted from the National Museum in the aftermath of the Second Gulf War in 2003. Recently, several of the more spectacular pieces from Puabi's grave have been the feature of a highly successful Art and History Museum tour through the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Natural History Museum in London is a natural history museum that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. It is one of three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Natural History Museum's main frontage, however, is on Cromwell Road.
The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been widely sourced during the era of the British Empire. It documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world.
London is the capital of and largest city in England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
Mesannepada was the first king listed for the first dynasty of Ur on the Sumerian king list, king of Eannatum and king of Lagash. He is listed to have ruled for 80 years, having overthrown Lugal-kitun of Uruk.
The First Dynasty of Ur was a 26th century-25th century BCE dynasty of rulers of the city of Ur in ancient Sumer. It is part of the Early Dynastic period III of the History of Mesopotamia. It was preceded by the earlier First dynasty of Kish and First Dynasty of Uruk.
The Zigguratof Ur is a Neo-Sumerian ziggurat in what was the city of Ur near Nasiriyah, in present-day Dhi Qar Province, Iraq. The structure was built during the Early Bronze Age but had crumbled to ruins by the 6th century BCE of the Neo-Babylonian period, when it was restored by King Nabonidus.
A cylinder seal is a small round cylinder, typically about one inch in length, engraved with written characters or figurative scenes or both, used in ancient times to roll an impression onto a two-dimensional surface, generally wet clay. Cylinder seals were invented around 3500 BC in the Near East, at the contemporary sites of Uruk in southern Mesopotamia and slightly later at Susa in south-western Iran during the Proto-Elamite period, and they follow the development of stamp seals in the Halaf culture or slightly earlier. They are linked to the invention of the latter’s cuneiform writing on clay tablets. They were used as an administrative tool, a form of signature, as well as jewelry and as magical amulets; later versions would employ notations with Mesopotamian cuneiform. In later periods, they were used to notarize or attest to multiple impressions of clay documents. Graves and other sites housing precious items such as gold, silver, beads, and gemstones often included one or two cylinder seals, as honorific grave goods.
The Standard of Ur is an artifact, a hollow wooden box measuring 21.59 centimetres wide by 49.53 centimetres long, inlaid with a mosaic of shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli. It comes from the ancient city of Ur. It dates to the First Dynasty of Ur during the Early Dynastic period and is c. 4,600 years old. The standard was probably constructed in the form of a hollow wooden box with scenes of war and peace represented on each side through elaborately inlaid mosaics. Although interpreted as a standard by its discoverer, its original purpose remains enigmatic. It was found in a royal tomb in Ur in the 1920s next to the skeleton of a ritually sacrificed man who may have been its bearer. It is now on display, in a reconstructed form, in the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Hong Kong, on loan from the British Museum until 9th September 2019.
Meskalamdug was an early ruler of the First Dynasty of Ur in the 26th century BCE. He does not appear in the Sumerian king list, but is known from his tomb, grave PG 755 at the Royal Cemetery at Ur, and from bead inscriptions found in Mari, mentionning him as King.
The Early Dynastic period is an archaeological culture in Mesopotamia that is generally dated to c. 2900–2350 BC and was preceded by the Uruk and Jemdet Nasr periods. It is part of the history of Mesopotamia. It saw the development of writing and the formation of the first cities and states. The ED itself was characterized by the existence of multiple city-states: small states with a relatively simple structure that developed and solidified over time. This development ultimately led to the unification of much of Mesopotamia under the rule of Sargon, the first monarch of the Akkadian Empire. Despite this political fragmentation, the ED city-states shared a relatively homogeneous material culture. Sumerian cities such as Uruk, Ur, Lagash, Umma, and Nippur located in Lower Mesopotamia were very powerful and influential. To the north and west stretched states centered on cities such as Kish, Mari, Nagar, and Ebla.
Bhirrana, also Bhirdana and Birhana, is a small village located in Fatehabad District, in the Indian state of Haryana. Its history stretches back to pre-Harappan times, as revealed by archaeological discoveries.
The Ram in a Thicket is a pair of figures excavated in Ur, in southern Iraq, and which date from about 2600–2400 BC. One is currently exhibited in the Mesopotamia Gallery in Room 56 in the British Museum in London; the other is in the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, USA.
Imports to Ur reflect the cultural and trade connections of the Sumerian city of Ur. During the period of the Early Dynastic III royal cemetery, Ur was importing elite goods from geographically distant places. These objects include precious metals such as gold and silver, and semi-precious stones, namely lapis lazuli and carnelian. These objects are all the more impressive considering the distance from which they traveled to reach Mesopotamia and Ur specifically.
The Copper Bull is a copper sculpture found at the site of Tell al-'Ubaid near the ancient city of Ur, now in southern Iraq, by Sir Leonard Woolley in 1923. The sculpture, which dates from about 2600 BCE, is now in the British Museum.
The art of Mesopotamia has survived in the archaeological record from early hunter-gatherer societies on to the Bronze Age cultures of the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires. These empires were later replaced in the Iron Age by the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires. Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia brought significant cultural developments, including the oldest examples of writing.
The Royal Cemetery at Ur is an archaeological site in modern-day Dhi Qar Governorate in southern Iraq. The initial excavations at Ur took place between 1922 and 1934 under the direction of Leonard Woolley in association with the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Katharine Woolley, née Menke was a British military nurse and archaeologist who worked principally at the Mesopotamian site of Ur. She was married to archaeologist Sir Charles Leonard Woolley.
The Bull Headed Lyre is one of the oldest stringed instruments ever discovered. The lyre was excavated in the Royal Cemetery of Ur during the 1926-27 season of an archeological dig carried out in what is now Iraq jointly by the University of Pennsylvania and the British Museum. Leonard Woolley led the excavations. The lyre was found in “The King’s Grave,” near the bodies of more than sixty soldiers and attendants. It is one of several lyres and harps unearthed at the cemetery which date to the Early Dynastic III Period. The lyre was included in the first batch of materials taken to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in 1929. The piece consists of a sound box, a quadripartite panel and a sculpted bull's head. Over the years it has undergone extensive conservation and restoration work.
Indus-Mesopotamia relations are thought to have developed during the second half of 3rd millennium BCE, until they came to a halt with the extinction of the Indus valley civilization after around 1900 BCE. Mesopotamia had already been an intermediary in the trade of Lapis Lazuli between the South Asia and Egypt since at least about 3200 BCE, in the context of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations.