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"Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur"
2001-02-25 until 2001-05-06
Detroit Institute of Art
This major exhibition, organized by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology
and Anthropology, consists of almost 200 luxury objects from their collection. These objects,
excavated at Ur in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), were found in ancient Sumerian royal tombs
that date back over 4,500 years.
Mesopotamian rulers and their queens were discovered surrounded by their wealth that
included extravagant jewelry of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, and carnelian, weapons, musical
instruments, gaming pieces, sculpture and vessels of gold, silver and alabaster. These royal
figures had been buried with their retinues, soldiers with war chariots or wagons drawn by
oxen and richly adorned handmaidens with harps and lyres to accompany their lords into the
Discovered in the 1920s by the famous British archaeologist Leonard Woolley, these tombs were
considered one of the most spectacular finds ever made from the ancient world. Woolley and his
team under the auspices of the British and the University of Pennsylvania Museums, uncovered a
burial ground of some 1,850 intact or partially intact graves. Of these, 660 were dated to the
height of Sumerian culture in Mesopotamia, around 2600 to 2500 B.C. Woolley identified 16 of
these burials as royal tombs due to the richness of their artifacts.
This exhibition affords a unique opportunity to view one of the earliest and richest collections of
precious objects ever excavated from the ancient world.
Gold Vessel in the form
of an Ostrich Egg