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Volume 40 / Issue 2


Issue Cover

Special Issue: The World of Ur

On the cover: The great bull-headed lyre from Ur.
Collection Object Number: B17694B
UPM Neg. T4-480.

Introduction – Summer 1998

By: Helen Schenck

Few sites possess the lure and mystique of the  ancient Near Eastern mound of Ur, with its  imposing ziggurat and its so-called Royal Tombs rich in gold and silver treasures. Sometimes it can be hard to see beyond that bright and potent vision to a more nuanced picture of Ur as a vital, long-lived city-state […]

Musings and Visions from the Director’s Desk – Summer 1998

By: Jeremy A. Sabloff

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology’s collection of materials from the excavations in the Royal Cemetery at Ur is among the most celebrated of the Museum’s illustrious holdings. “The Ram in the Thicket,” for example, is illustrated in Janson and Janson’s well-known History of Art, now in its fifth revised edition (1997). […]

A Makeover for the Philadelphia ‘Ram Caught in a Thicket’

By: Tamsen Fuller

PHOTO 1. The “Ram” as it was before the new work began in May 1997. As conservators and curators discovered, the statue was at this point the product of a 1940s restoration of Woolley’s original reconstruction done in the late 1920s. In both of these incarnations, the front hooves of the goat did not rest […]

Rescue and Restoration

A History of the Philadelphia 'Ram Caught in a Thicket'

By: Yelena Rakic

  In 1928 Sir Leonard Woolley unearthed a find that has been described by some as the most beautiful object recovered from the Royal Cemetery of Ur (Fig. 1). Christened by Woolley the “ram caught in a thicket” (later shortened to “Ram in the Thicket”), this compos­ite statue of a goat standing upright in front […]

Texts, Tablets, and Teaching

Scribal Education in Nippur and Ur

By: Steve Tinney

Besides the justly famous treasures of the so-called Royal Cemetery, the site of Ur also yield­ed up to its excavators a treasure with less immediate aesthetic appeal, but arguably of even greater impor­tance: thousands of clay tablets and stone objects inscribed with cuneiform writing. These inscriptions bear witness to the lives and thoughts of the […]

Life on the Edge of the Marshes

By: Edward Ochsenschlager

In 1968, archaeologists digging at the mound of Al-Hiba in Iraq were struck by the fact that the people living in the surrounding area depended on many of the same resources, and seemed to use them in the same way, as the people who had lived there in the 3rd millennium BC. So while archaeological […]

The ‘Boat-Shaped’ Lyre

Restudy of a Unique Musical Instrument from Ur

By: Maude de Schauensee

Stringed instruments have probably been around since the first time someone stretched a gut, rawhide, or fiber string over a resonator and plucked it. These early prototypes evolved over time into differenti­ated, often elaborately decorated and revered instruments. The University of Pennsylvania Museum is fortunate to house some of the earliest actual remains of stringed […]

The Musical Instruments from Ur and Ancient Mesopotamian Music

By: Anne Draffkorn Kilmer

The nearly half million cuneiform tablets excavated from ancient Near Eastern sites provide us with ample evidence for the uses of music in ancient Sumer, Babylonia, and Assyria, and among their neighbors in Anatolia, Iran, and Syria-Palestine. Pictorial representations of musical instruments, singers, religious and magic rituals, dancers, acrobats, and sporting events likewise testify to […]

Ur and Its Treasures

The Royal Tombs

By: Lee Horne

Alder Sumer lay in lower Mesopotamia, an arid land broken by belts of green along the banks of its canals and waterways and, to the southeast, the marshes and islands of the Shan al-Arab delta (see map on p. 3). Sumer was occupied as early as the 7th millennium BC. By 2500 BC it had […]