The Joint Expedition to Ur

Originally Published in 1934

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THE first report on the present season of the Ur Expedition has been received from Mr. C. Leonard Woolley. An area of about three hundred and twenty-five square meters was marked for excavation, and it will be necessary to carry this excavation down some seventeen meters before reaching the level of the ancient cemetery which underlies this part of the site and which is expected to date back to the very early Jemdet Nasr period.

A line of workmen walking a switchback in a shaft
Plate I — Excavating the Jemdet Nasr Shaft at Ur
Image Number: 192350

Already ten meters of the deposit have been dug away. Naturally, in the upper levels, which consist of ancient rubbish mounds, not many finds of moment are to be expected, but an interesting problem of long standing has been solved. It has always been puzzling that, throughout the entire historical period at Ur, there should have been enormous rubbish heaps in the very middle of the city; it now becomes evident that these served a double purpose: they were not only depositories for such rubbish, but were also quarries from which material was taken for that raising and filling-in of platforms and terraces which was constantly going on; the work of quarrying has now been traced clearly in the section of the pit that is being excavated.

It has been found that, according to expectations, a cemetery of the Sargonid period {about 2600 B. C.) extended over the whole area under investigation. From the hundred and fifty graves so far examined, have been obtained numerous cylinder seals, including some examples of unusual interest and fine workmanship. It is also worthy of note that a number of the graves contained beads of carnelian with artificially bleached patterns such as have been found a t Mohenjo-daro, that famous site of a great civilization which was excavated several years ago in India; thus is strengthened the chain of evidence indicating trade relations between India and Mesopotamia in the Sargonid period.

Apart from the above-mentioned objects from the graves, the expedition has found an interesting inscribed mace-head of Larsa date (about 2200-1900 B. C.) a vase fragment with a dedication to Nin-e-gal for the life of Dungi (Dungi, it will be remembered, was the second king of the great Third Dynasty of Ur who ruled about 2250 B. C.), and a set of inscribed weights. A fair number of inscribed tablets and cones occurred in the rubbish of the upper strata. Such satisfactory progress, with the work still far from the final objective, augurs well for a successful season.

Cite This Article

"The Joint Expedition to Ur." Museum Bulletin V, no. 2 (March, 1934): 35-36. Accessed July 25, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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