Indepth Arts News: |
"Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur"
2000-02-20 until 2000-04-23
Cleveland Museum of Art
USA United States of America
Extravagant jewelry of gold, lapis lazuli, and carnelian, cups of gold and silver, bowls of alabaster, and extraordinary objects of art and culture were among the Mesopotamian
treasures uncovered in the late 1920s by renowned British archaeologist C. Leonard Woolley (1880-1960) in a joint expedition by the British Museum and the University of
Pennsylvania Museum. One of the most spectacular discoveries in ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), the royal tombs at Ur opened the world's eyes to the full glory of
ancient Sumerian culture at its zenith (2600-2500 BC).
A spectacular find, the Royal Cemetery excavations of that early era in archaeology remain one of the most remarkable technical achievements of Near Eastern archaeology,
and they helped to catapult Woolley's career. Indeed at the time of its discovery, the royal cemetery at Ur competed only with Howard Carter's discovery of the intact tomb of
the boy pharaoh, Tutankhamen, for public attention. Visitors to the site included Britain's Queen-consort Elizabeth and Iraq's King Faisal. By the end of the excavation in
1934 Woolley had become, as The Illustrated London News termed him, a famous archaeologist, with his own series on BBC Radio, and in little more than a year he was
awarded a knighthood. Mystery novelist Agatha Christie (1891-1976), who spent time with Woolley and his wife and later married Woolley's assistant, M.E.L. Mallowan,
melded her observations of the dig into Murder in Mesopotamia (1936).