The Joint Expedition To Ur

Originally Published in 1925

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Plans have been completed for resuming the excavation of Ur in lower Mesopotamia on the first day of November. Mr. Woolley remains Field Director and Dr. Legrain again joins the staff as cuneiform scholar and second in command. Mr. Henry Mallowan, M.A. Oxford, who has specialized in Ancient History and Babylonian Archaeology, has received the appointment of assistant archaeologist. We cannot yet give the name of the surveyor and architect who will take the place of Mr. Newton whose admirable work on the Expedition will be remembered and whose death in Egypt on Christmas Day last year has been regretted by all connected with these explorations.

The work contemplated by this Expedition for the coming season consists of a continuation of the clearing of the Royal Area near the Ziggurat and the Moon God’s official residence. The burial places of the early Kings of Ur, though by no means to be reckoned among the likely discoveries, are a feature of the ancient city that compels attention and curiosity. Not a trace of these has been found and they may never be recovered and the feeling of the excavators with reference to them is one of perplexed uncertainty rather than of expectation. The great antiquity of the site and the natural changes in the condition of the ground make the location of the Royal Tombs a matter of great difficulty and obscurity.

All who read Dr. Legrain’s article in the last JOURNAL will realize that the conditions under which work is conducted at Ur, while permitting of amenities, are attended by trials as severe as any expedition in the East has to endure. Mr. Woolley’s reports have shown how in spite of these conditions, the work has been prosecuted with energy and has achieved surprising results, both in the extent of its operations successfully carried out, in the magnitude of the ground covered, and in the number of antiquities registered.

Meantime, during the summer of 1925, the objects discovered in the last season’s work, of which the most important is the great stela of Ur-Engur, have been displayed according to previous arrangement in the British Museum, where they were inspected by many visitors who during the summer season come to London from all countries of Europe and America and of the World. These objects will be shown in the University Museum during the coming winter.

The financial support of the Expedition is provided half by the University Museum and half by the British Museum. Payments on the part of the University Museum on account of the joint fund for the coming campaign are derived from a generous contribution of Mr. Edward B. Robinette, who has provided in this way for two years’ work of the Expedition. It is the expressed wish of Mr. Robinette that the name of Dr. Charles Custis Harrison, President of the Museum, be associated with the Joint Expedition to Ur. With this thought in his mind, Mr. Robinette, in making the aforesaid provision, coupled therewith the following statement of the purposes that he had in mind.

“As Mr. Harrison is so greatly interested in this Expedition and as it promises to be one of the most important expeditions the University Museum has ever had in the field, I would like, if possible, if Mr. Harrison’s name could in some way be used so that it could always be associated with the work of the Expedition.”

The Board of Managers in thanking Mr. Robinette for his generous gift further expressed itself as follows:

Resolved, That the Board heartily approves of Mr. Robinette’s suggestion that Dr. Harrison’s name be connected with the Ur Expedition in a manner to be devised.”

Cite This Article

"The Joint Expedition To Ur." The Museum Journal XVI, no. 3 (September, 1925): 202-203. Accessed February 21, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/journal/1351/


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