In Photos: Treasures of Mesopotamia
By Owen Jarus
Ram in the Thicket
This statuette, popularly known as the “ram in the thicket,” is about 17 inches (42.5 cm) tall. It shows a goat jumping up on a flowering plant or tree and is one of two examples from the “great death pit” at Ur, which also contains the remains of 68 women and 6 men who appear to have been sacrificed. It is made of silver, shell, gold, lapis lazuli and carnelian and may have been used to support a small offering table. It dates to between 2650-2550 BC and is now part of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology collection.
Goat Peering Through the Thicket
A photo of the goat peering through the thicket. Its details are remarkably well preserved despite the passage of more than 4,500 years of time.
King’s Grave Headdress
This headdress, with gold leaf pendants and beads made of lapis lazuli and carnelian, is from the royal cemetery at Ur in Iraq and dates back to around 2,500 BC. It was worn by one of many female attendants found in a tomb known as the “king’s grave.” The woman who wore this may have been sacrificed along with dozens of others.
Lapis Lazuli Collar from Death Pit
A collar consisting of gold and lapis lazuli from the great death pit at Ur. The item was worn by a woman who may have been sacrificed.
Headdress and Necklace from Royal Cemetery
The headdress on the left is from the Ur royal cemetery. It is made of gold and lapis lazuli and would have been worn by a male. The necklace in the right is made of carnelian beads. It is also from Ur’s royal cemetery and it has white etching, which was produced using a technique the Mesopotamians learned from the Indus Valley Civilization in South Asia.
Gold Cup with Long Snout
Found in the death pit of Queen Puabi, at Ur, the long snout of this cup would have been used like a straw. Researchers say that it was probably used for drinking beer and its gold would have been imported from Iran or Turkey. Puabi may have ruled as a queen in her own right. Penn Museum researchers note that cuneiform inscriptions make no mention of her husband, something unusual in Mesopotamia.