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Ram in a Thicket - From the Royal Cemetery at Ur

The 'Ram in a Thicket' From From Ur, southern Iraq, about 2600-2400 BC.

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Definition: Ur was an ancient Sumerian city that is thought to have been settled in the late sixth millennium, during the Ubaid Period. By about 3000 B.C., the area of Ur was about 37 acres. During the Early Dynastic Period [see Ur kings timeline], Ur reached its maximum area of 124 acres and was one of the richest of the southern cities thanks to trade, facilitated by its harbor on the Persian Gulf.

Ur is near the modern Iraqi city of An Nasiriya. Archaeologists investigate Ur at Tell al-Muqayyar where, in 1854, acting for the British Museum, John George Taylor started examining the city's ancient Ziggurat. Lying under the corners were cylinder seals whose cuneiform writing enabled Henry C. Rawlinson (Assyrian scholar) to determine the city was Ur.

The Royal Cemetery at Ur contains fabulous remains of a royal burial, RT/800. A queen, identified by cylinder seals as Queen Pu-abi (or variations), accompanied by sacrificed attendants and artifacts of gold, marble, and lapis lazuli (the latter two of which required distant trade) attest to her wealth and power. She would have ruled prior to the first dynasty and is estimate to have lived c. 2600 B.C.

Sargon of Agade (2334-2279 B.C.) made his daughter Enheduanna the high priestess of the moon goddess Nanna at Ur. After about 2000 B.C., Ur became a minor city politically.


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Also Known As: Tell al-Muqayyar

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