Author Archives: Brad Hafford

Ur Digitization Project: February 2013

Ur excavation area EM, domestic architecture: published in UE7 1976, plate 122

Archival documents of the month Spotlight on Maps of Excavated Domestic Areas EM and AH Published in Antiquaries Journal 1927, 1931, and in Ur Excavations volume 7 My last blog post concerned the questions of the standard house in the period most revealed in Woolley’s excavations. Now I want to cover the larger concept of […]

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Ur Digitization Project: January 2013

Watercolor reconstruction of 'typical' house at Ur, No. 3 Gay Street, by A.S. Whitburn, ca. 1930.

Archival document of the month Spotlight on A.S. Whitburn reconstruction drawing of No. 3 Gay Street Early archaeologists often concentrated on temples, palaces and cemeteries, since these were most likely to contain impressive artifacts for museums. Woolley dug his fair share of these areas, but to his great credit, he did not overlook the more […]

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Ur Digitization Project: December 2012

Supervisory staff in front of the improved Expedition house at end of season 1928-29.

Archival documents of the month Spotlight on Field Photo Numbers 0002 and 1365 The Dig House Archaeologist C. Leonard Woolley spent as much as five months (typically November to March) every year in the field, living at a small house he had built near the site of Ur. It was a basic Expedition house for […]

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Ur Digitization Project: November 2012

Field photo number 1617: RAF photo of the Ur ziggurat in 1930

Archival documents of the month Spotlight on Field Photo Numbers 912, 1616, 1617, and 2350) The Enormity of the Task I’ve been on the road most of this month in meetings and conferences in both London and Chicago. At these meetings I and many others involved have been promoting the Ur project and reporting on […]

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Ur Digitization Project: Item of the Month, October 2012

Roll-out in plaster of cylinder seal U.8228, which likely hung from the silver pin B16730.

Artifact of the month Spotlight on Field Number U.8226 (Museum Number B16730) Silver Garment Pin This beautiful pin was found in PG165, a ‘non-royal’ grave in the Royal Cemetery area of Ur. More than 1800 graves were found in this area but only 16 were designated royal; these graves had particular characteristics, most notably a […]

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Ur Digitization Project: September 2012

Current object, U.8190, obviously broken at some time in the past 80 years. Scheduling necessary conservation is an aim of the Ur Project.

This month at the Ur Project has been very busy. We have two major arms of activity ongoing, archival and artifactual (if that’s a word). This blog entry will try to display both through a point of convergence: PG 143. PG stands for Private Grave, a designation Woolley gave to graves in a particular area, […]

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Ur Digitization Project: Item of the Month, August 2012

Our current Ur digitization database contains all of the known links between museum artifacts and the information gathered in the field, but around 40% of the objects that were excavated at Ur are missing that connection. Time and storage, and even human error both in the field and in later inventories, have stripped away some […]

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Ur Digitization Project: Item of the Month, July 2012

Photo of the ring showing individual spirals in rope design

Ur Digitization Project Artifact of the month Spotlight on Field Number U.12380 (Museum Number 30-12-553) Gold Ring from the ‘Great Death Pit’ This ring is made of a spiral coil of gold wire, twisted in places to make a cable or rope pattern. The ancient jeweler more than 4,000 years ago soldered the coil together […]

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Ur Digitization Project: Item of the Month, June 2012

Near the end of May I had the privilege of giving a tour of the Penn Museum Mesopotamian storage to Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods, Anansi Boys, Coraline, and many other excellent books, graphic novels, and stories of all sorts. I asked him what he would like to see and he said anything and […]

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Ur Digitization Project: Item of the Month

Excavations at Ur, the ancient city said to be the birthplace of Abraham, were conducted jointly by the Penn Museum and the British Museum from 1922-1934. The artifacts were divided under laws of the time, with half remaining in the new country of Iraq and the other half split between the excavating institutions. Sir Leonard […]

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