Indepth Arts News: |
"Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur"
2002-05-17 until 2002-09-01
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard
This exhibition of 425 excavated Sumerian artifacts from the renowned Royal Cemetery at Ur, dating from c. 2500 B.C., will be on view at the Fogg Art Museum from May 18 through September 1, 2002, when the Harvard University Art Museums present Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur, a major traveling exhibition organized by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
"We are pleased to host an exhibition and symposium of such significance to the field of archaeology," said James Cuno, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot director of the Harvard University Art Museums. "The work of our sister institution at the University of Pennsylvania has been fundamental in the area of Sumerian archaeology and we are delighted to be sharing their work with our audience through this important and beautiful exhibition and accompanying catalogue and symposium."
Famed in the Bible as the ancestral home of the patriarch Abraham, the site of Ur was one of the most important centers in ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). This collection of intricate jewelry of gold, lapis lazuli and carnelian, cups of gold and silver, bowls of alabaster, and rare works of art and culture was uncovered in the late 1920s by British archaeologist (Sir) C. Leonard Woolley, in a joint expedition mounted by the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum. The tombs Woolley excavated opened the eyes of the world to the full glory of ancient Sumerian culture and remain to this day among the most spectacular discoveries of the ancient Near East.
The area excavated by Woolley and his team contained about 1,800 burials. Sixteen of these were classified as royal, based upon their distinctive form, the wealth contained within, and the presence of secondary burials of servants and other high-ranking individuals, like musicians, along with the principal royal personage.