Excavations at Nuzi

Originally Published in 1931

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OUR February report on Nuzi closed with mention of the finding of a well in the temple courtyard. Although this well has since proved to be an uncompleted one, it yielded, nevertheless, many fine objects: six grotesque lion jars, practically all complete, many glazed wall nails and other glazed objects, including a tripod bowl and a number of lion paws which will probably complete the lions found last year. The merit of these lion figures was mentioned last month; we are now glad to be able to announce that the red lion which was in our recent exhibition of objects from Nuzi has been assigned to the Museum; this valuable acquisition is shown in Plate III.

Another important find in the uncompleted well was a cache of very early seals and heads, the seals being of varying sizes and impressions ranging from perfectly intelligible animal and scorpion figures to most archaic and unintelligible series of unconnected holes.

Small figurine of a crouching lion, glazed
Plate III — Red Glazed Lion from Nuzi, Iraq
Museum Object Number: 31-40-1

The tablets from Pavements IV and V are proving to be of the greatest importance. The constant repetition on them of the city name, Ga-Sag, establishes almost beyond doubt that this was the pre-Nuzi city. Some of the texts are in Sumerian; others are in Akkadian; while frequently both appear on the same tablet. According to Dr. Meek, these may be the oldest Akkadian tablets yet found; there is excellent authority for the belief that the circular numerical signs found in some of the tablets do not occur after 2700 B.C., which affords a boundary line for dating them.

In following up the tablet-hearing area, some of the upper palace rooms were removed and immediately beneath were found earlier palace walls which differed considerably in plan from those above. Below this level was found what seems to be the transition point between Nuzi and Ga-Sag. Here was discovered a small slipper-shaped howl, double-decked and with perforations in the supporting walls, a most unusual object.

One of the most interesting recent developments has been in the temple of Stratum IV. The walls are very well preserved and of great depth, sometimes as much as ten feet. The outside wall is regularly buttressed and recessed and within are a series of long narrow rooms. In one of these rooms was found a jar containing a number of bronze objects and hundreds of small shells. Nine sickles, a bell, two bracelets, and, most interesting, two sun discs and two crescents were among the objects which comprised this, one of the most important finds of the year. All were in remarkably good condition and arouse great hopes for what may be found elsewhere in this area.

Cite This Article

"Excavations at Nuzi." Museum Bulletin II, no. 5 (March, 1931): 146-147. Accessed May 21, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/701/


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