Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Tomb of Puabi

     During the course of his excavations at Ur, Woolley found the burial of a woman named Puabi who is often referred to as a Queen, but in truth her exact status is not certain. She must have been an extremely important woman as her burial (which dates to around 2600 B. C.) was truly splendid.

     Her tomb was entered via a sloping corridor the led to a pit at the bottom of which was a stone covered burial chamber. Her burial included a lyre (a musical instrument similar to a harp) which was decorated by a golden bull's head like the one shown in the previous post on this blog. It also contained a great deal of jewelry which covered Puabi's body. In fig. 1 you can see the huge gold headdress that adorned her body. Also note the almost impossibly large gold earrings. The beads below the headdress were worn around the Queen's shoulder, like a shawl.

     Her tomb also contained the bodies of oxen and numerous retainers who were buried with her. They were either killed just before the burial pit was covered over, or they were drugged and left in the tomb to be covered with earth while still alive! Many of these retainers were decked out in golden finery before their deaths. When found, the bodies of these sacrificial victims had been crushed by the weight of the earth piled up on top of them. The skulls of some of these persons are on display at the Penn Museum with the flattened gold jewelry that adorned them still in place.

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