November 30, 2022

Puabi’s Tomb

Puabi was an important woman in the Sumerian city of Ur, during the First Dynasty of Ur (c. 2600 BCE) Her seal does not place her in relation to any king or husband. It has been suggested that she was the second wife of king Meskalamdug.

Puabi (Akkadian) was an important woman in the Sumerian city of Ur, during the First Dynasty of Ur (c. 2600 BCE) Her seal does not place her in relation to any king or husband. It has been suggested that she was the second wife of king Meskalamdug.

British archaeologist Leonard Woolley discovered the tomb of Puabi. The tomb was excavated between 1922 and 1934 by a joint team sponsored by the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Puabi’s tomb was clearly unique among the other excavations.

The number of grave goods that Woolley uncovered in Puabi’s tomb was staggering. They included a heavy, golden headdress made of golden leaves, rings, and plates. A superb lyre, a golden and lapis lazuli-encrusted bearded bull’s head.

The largest and most well-known death pit held 74 attendants, 6 men, and 68 women, all adorned with various gold, silver, and lapis decoration, and one woman who appeared to be more elaborately adorned than the others.

A pointed, weighted tool could explain the shatter patterns on the skulls that resulted in death. A small hammer-like tool was also found, retrieved, and cataloged by Woolley during his original excavation. The size and weight of the tool fit the damage sustained by the two bodies examined by Baadsgaard.

The excavated finds were divided among the British Museum in London, the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the National Museum in Baghdad. Puabi’s physical remains, including pieces of the badly damaged skull, are kept in the Natural History Museum, in London.

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