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f\H 30I3-IO B 

The ^ft of 

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During the 19th Century ^ 



Clark Research Professor of Assyriolosv and Scientific Director of the Babylonian 

Expedition. University of Pennsylvania 


Lie. DR. DENZINGER. Formerly University of Berlin 
PROF. DR. HOIiMEL. University of Munich 
PROF. DR. JENSEN, University of Marburg 
PROF DR. STEINDORFF. University of Leipzig 

With Nearly Two Hundred Illustrations and Four Maps 





AH 20/3,/^ 




Copyright, 1903, by A. J. Holman & Co. 

yi// rights reset ved 

Published, Fbbruakv, 1903 







Nearly ten years ago Messrs. A. J. Holman & Co. ap- 
proached me with a request to prepare, for the close of the 
century, a brief historical sketch on the explorations in Bible 
lands, which would convey to the intelligent English-reading 
public a clear conception of the gradual resurrection of the 
principal ancient nations of Western Asia and Kgypt. After 
much hesitation, I consented to become responsible for the 
execution of their comprehensive plan, provided that I be 
allowed to solicit the cooperation of other specialists for 
the treatment of those subjects which did not lie directly 
within the sphere of my own investigations, as most of the 
books dealing with this fascinating theme suffer from the 
one serious defect thaf their authors are not competent au- 
thorities in every part of that vast field which they attempt 
to plough and cultivate for the benefit and instruction 
of others. Several well-known German specialists, whose 
names appear on the title-page, were therefore accordingly 
invited to join the editor in the preparation of the volume, 
and to present to the reader sketches of their respective 
branches of science, with the historical development of 
which they have been prominently connected during pre- 
vious years. At the close of 1900 the entire MS. was 
ready to be printed, when the results of a series of exca- 
vations carried on by the Babylonian Kxpedition of the 
University of Pennsylvania began to attract more than 
ordinarv attention on both sides of the Atlantic. In view 
of the growing demand for a popular and authentic report 
of these important archaeological researches, the publishers 


deemed it necessary to modify their former plans by asking 
the editor to make the exploration of Assyria and Babylonia 
the characteristic feature of the uncompleted book, and, 
above all, to incorporate with it the first full account of the 
American labors at Nuffar. Thus it came about that the 
opening article of this collective volume, intended to give 
but a brief survey of a subject which at present stands in the 
centre of general interest, has grown far beyond its original 

As the results of Koldewey's methodical excavations and 
topographical researches at the vast ruin fields of the ancient 
metropolis on the Euphrates, belong chiefly to the twentieth 
century and, moreover, are not yet fully accessible to other 
scholars, their omission in these pages will scarcely be re- 
garded as a serious deficiency, since the object of the present 
book was to set forth the work of the explorers of the pre- 
vious century. If, however, the public interest in the mate- 
rial here submitted should warrant it, thev will find their 
proper treatment in a future edition. 

In preparing the first 288 pages of my own contribution 
I have had the extraordinary assistance of my lamented wife 
and colaborer, who, with her remarkable knowledge of the 
history of Assyriology and her characteristic unselfish devo- 
tion to the cause of science and art, promoted the work of 
the Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsyl- 
vania (in charge of her husband) in many essential ways 
unknown to the public. The best passages in the following 
chapter on the " Resurrection of Assyria and Babylonia ** 
are likewise due to her. She laid down her pen only when 
the approaching angel of death wrested it from her tired hand 
on March i, 1902. The Board of Trustees of the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania has since honored the memory of 


this great and gifted woman by resolving unanimously that 
the famous collections of tablets from the temple library at 
Nippur shall be known henceforth by her name. In view 
of her very extensive contributions to the present book, it 
was my desire to have her name associated with mine on its 
title-page. But when I asked for her consent the day pre- 
vious to her final departure, — immediately after she had 
completed her last task, and had arranged with me for the 
next twenty years the details of the scientific publications of 
the American Expedition to NuflFar, — I received the mem- 
orable reply : " Why should the world learn to discriminate 
between your work and my work, your person and my 
person ? Was not your God my God, your country my 
country, your labor my labor, your sorrow my sorrow, your 
name my name? Let it remain so even at my coflin and 
tomb." In the light of this sacred legacy, my reviewers 
will pardon me for appearing to appropriate more than is 
due to me. 

More rapidly than I could have anticipated I was placed 
in a position to carry out my wife's lofty ideas with regard 
to the strictly scientific publications of the Philadelphia ex- 
pedition. It seems therefore eminently proper for me in this 
connection to express publicly my deep gratitude to Messrs. 
Kdward W. and Clarence H. Clark of Philadelphia, the two 
widely known patrons of American explorations in Babylo- 
nia, who by their recent munificent gift of $100,000 have 
enabled the Board of Trustees of the University of Penn- 
sylvania to establish the " Clark Research Professorship of 
Assvriology,*' the only chair of its kind in existence. As 
its first incumbent I am authorized to devote the rest of 
mv life to the study and deciphering of those remarkable 
results which through the generosity and energy of a few 


Philadelphia citizens were obtained at the ruins of NufFar, 
and which through the liberality and personal interest of 
Mr. Eckley B. Coxe, Jr., will be printed and submitted to 
the public more rapidly than was hitherto possible. 

From the very beginning I have been connected with the 
various Babylonian expeditions of the University of Penn- 
sylvania. The farther we proceeded with our researches, the 
more it became necessary for me to spend my time almost 
regularly every year in three different parts of the world 
and to surrender completely the comfort of a fixed home. 
In consequence of this nomadic life I was often out of con- 
tact with my well-equipped library, — a disadvantage espe- 
cially felt when certain passages were to be examined or 
verified from the earlier literature dealing with my subject. 
With warm appreciation of all the friendly assistance re- 
ceived, I acknowledge my great indebtedness to Messrs. 
Halil Bey, Director of the Imperial Ottoman Museum; 
Leon Heuzey, Director of the Louvre; L. King of the Brit- 
ish Museum ; Dr. A. Gies, First Dragoman of the German 
Embassy in Constantinople; F. Furtwaengler, H. Gebzer, 
F. Hommel, R. Kittel, V. Scheil, Eberhard Schrader, F. 
Thureau-Dangin, Karl Vollers, and not the least to mv 
friend and assistant, A. T. Clay, who not onlv read a com- 
plete set of proofs, and improved the English garment of 
all the articles here published, but in many other ways facil- 
itated the preparation and printing of the entire volume. 

As it was not always advisable to ship valuable photo- 
graphic material to his temporary abode, the editor found it 
sometimes difficult to illustrate the articles of his colaborers 
in an adequate manner. In several instances it would have 
been almost impossible for hirri to obtain suitable illustra- 


rions had he not profited by the material kindly placed at 
his disposal by Mrs. Sara Y. Stevenson, Sc. D., Curator of 
the Egyptian Section of the Archaeological Museum of the 
University of Pennsylvania; Miss Mary Robinson, daughter 
of the late Professor Edward Robinson of New York ; Mrs. 
T. Bent and Mrs. W. Wright of London ; Mr. C. S. Fisher, 
of the Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsyl- 
vania; Mr. T. Grotefend of Hanover; Professor J. Halevy 
of Paris; and Count Landberg of Munich; to all of whom 
are due his cordial thanks. 

It is the hope of both authors and publishers that the 
present volume may help to fill a serious gap in our modern 
literature by presenting in a systematic but popular form a 
fascinating subject, equal in importance to the Bible student, 
historian, archseologist, and philologist. The rich material 
often scattered through old editions of rare books and com- 
paratively inaccessible journals has been examined anew, 
sifted, and treated by a number of experts in the light of 
their latest researches. It was our one aim to bring the 
history of the gradual exploration of those distant oriental 
countries, which formed the significant scene and back- 
ground of God*s dealings with Israel as a nation, more 
vividiv before the educated classes of Christendom. May 
the time and labor devoted to the preparation of this work 
contribute their small share towards arousing a deeper 
interest on the part of the public in excavating more of 
those priceless treasures of the past which have played 
such a conspicuous role in the interpretation of the Old 

Testament writings. 


Jena, December 2", 1902. 



Thb Resurrection of Assyria and Babyi.onia . . . . i 

By Professor H. V. Hilprecht, Ph.D., D.D., I^L.D. 

I. The Rediscoverj' o^ Nineveh and Babylon, pp. 7-22. 

Nineveh, pp. 7-12. 
Babylon, pp. 13-22. 

II. Exploring and Surveying in the Nineteenth Century, 
pp. 22-69. 

Claudius James Rich, pp. 36-36. 

J. S. Buckingham, pp. 36-44. 

Sir Robert Ker Porter, pp. 44-51. 

Captain Robert Mignan, pp. 51-54' 

G. Bailie Eraser, pp. 54-57. 

The Euphrates Expedition under Colonel Chesney, pp. 57-63. 

James Felix Jones, pp. 63-66. 

Lynch, Selby, Collingwood, Bewsher, pp. 66-69. 

III. Excavations at the Princi|>al Sites of Assyria and Baby- 
lonia, pp. 70-577. 

1. The Discovery of Assyrian Palaces, pp. 73-187. 

French Excavations at KhorsabAd, l^ Botta and Place, pp. 73-87. 

English Exca\'ations at Nimrfid. Qoyimjuk and Qal'at Shirgat. 
by I^yard, Ras«>am, and I^flus, pp. 88-138. 

2. First Successful AttempCn in Babylonia, pp. 138-187. 

William Kennett Loftu.-». pp. 139-157. 

Sir Austen Henry I^yard, pp. 157-163. 

The French Hxpedition under Fresnel, Oppert and Thomas, 
pp. 163-171. 

J. E. Taylor, pp. 171-1S2. 

Sir Henry Rawlinson, pp. 182-187. 

3. Temporar>- Revival of Public Interest in Assyrian Excavations, 

pp. 187-190. 

George Smith, pp. 190-201. 
Ilormuzd Rassam, pp. 201-213. 

4. Methodical Excavations in Babylonia, pp. 213-215. 

French Excavations at Tello, under Dc Sarzec, pp. 216-260. 

English Excavations, under Rassam, at Babylon, Bl-Birs and 
AbO Habba, pp. 260-279. 


German Excavations at Surghul and Bl-Hibba, under Moritz 
and Koldewey, pp. 2S0-288. 

American Bxcavatious at Nuffar, under Peters, Hilprecht and 
Haynes, pp. 289-568. 

Turkish Gleanings at Abft Habba, under Scheil and Bedry Bey. 
pp. 56S-577. 

Researches in Palestine 579-622 

By Lie. Dr. J. Benzinger. 

I. Topography, pp. 585-591- 
II. The Geographical Survey of the Land, pp. 591-596. 

III. Jerusalem, pp. 596-606. 

IV. Archaeological Results, pp. 607-622. 

Excavations in Egypt 623-690 

By Professor Georg SteiiidorfT, Ph.D. 

History of the Excavations, pp. 628-643. 
The Results of the Excavations, pp. 643-690. 

I. The Delta, pp. 643-652. 
II. The Pyramids of Memphis, pp. 652-665. 

III. The Kayfim, pp. 665-673. 

IV. HI 'Amama, pp. 674-676. 

V. The Tombs of the Kings of Abydos and NaqSda and the 
Oldest Egyptian Cemeteries, pp. 676-682. 

VI. Thebe.s, pp. 682-690. 

Explorations in Arabia 691-73-^ 

By Professor Fritz Hommel, Ph.D. 

I. (History of the Exploration), pp. 693-726. 
II. (The South Arabian Inscriptions), pp. 727-741. 
III. (Arabia and the Old Testament), pp. 741-752. 

The So-Called Hittites and their Inscriptions . 753-793 

By Professor P. Jensen, Ph.D. 


General Index 795 

Scriptural Index 810 






The asterisk (*) indicates that the illustration has been added by the Editor to the 

material furnished by the contributors. 

he Excavations at the Temple Court in Nippur . . Frontispiece 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University 
of Pennsylvania. 


icorg Fried rich Grotefend .2 

From the photograph of an oil painting presented to the Editor by Grotefend's 
grandson. Nrrr Ober-f^stkasseH-Kassirer Grotffend, Hanover. 

a the Trenches of Nuffar 3 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Tic *Afej Marshes near Nuffar 5 

From a photogrraph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

\qarqiif, the "Tower of Babel " of Early Travellers . Opp. p. 15 

From Chesney. " The Expedition for the Survey of the Rivers Euphrates and 
Tigris.' Vol. I. 

!1-Qasr, East Face 29 

From Rich's Collected Memoirs, edited by his widow. 

!elek, or Native Raft, Composed of Goat Skins . • • 35 

From Victor Place, A'/w/:r ft F Assytir. 

he P'uph rates above Der, with the Ruins of Zelebiye on the Left 

^>PP- P 3^ 

From (.."hesney, / f.. Vol. I. 

abil. West Face, as it Appeared in 181 1 ...... 39 

From Richs Collected Memoirs, edited V)y his widow. 

he Steamers "Euphrates" and "Tigris" Descending the Euphrates 59 
From Chesney. " Narrative of the Kuphrates Expedition." 

<)ss of tlie " Tigris " during a Hurricane . . opp. p. 60 

From Chesney. " Narrati%'c of the Kuphrates Expedition " 

he Rock of Rehistun, with the Great Trilingual Inscription . 71 

From (rcorge Rawlin.son. " .\ Memoir of Major-Oen< ml Sir Henry Creswicke 
RawlinwjTi." < By permission of t 
Ivongnians. (»reen & Co.. IX)ndon.) 

Rawlins<jn." < Bv permission of the editor and of the publishers, Messrs. 
•n & C( 

lound ami Village of Khorsabad, from the West ..... 75 
From liotta and Flandin. Monuments de Sinivf. 

as-Relief from the Palace of Sargon. Khorsabad .... So 

From Botta and Flandin, /. r. 



Wall Decoration in Enamelled Tiles, Khorsabd,d 82 

From Victor Place, Ninive el VAssyrie. 

^ The Palace of Sargon, Conqueror of Samaria, according to the Restora- 
tion of Victor Place opp. p. 85 

From Victor Place, /. c. 

s The Ruins of Nimr^d (Layard removing a human-headed winged bull 

to a raft on the Tig^s) opp. p. 93 

From I«ayard, " Nineveh and its Remains." 

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser II 107 

From a cast in the Museum of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania. 

Plan of Layard's Excavations at Nimriid (Calah ) 113 

From Layard, /. c. (with additional explanations by H. V. Hilprecht). 

The Ruins of Nineveh, from the North 117 

From Ivayard, " The Monuments of Nineveh," Series II. 

Bronze Plate from Nimdid (Calah) 125 

From Layard, " The Monuments of Nine\'eh," Series II. 

King Ashurbdnapal Hunting 135 

From a cast in the Museum of Archaeology, University of Penns>'lvania. 

Ruins of Tell Hamm^m 141 

F*rom Loftus, " Travels and Researches in Chaldaea and Susiana." 

-^ Tuwaiba Arabs Carrying the First Coffin from the Ruins of WarkA 

Opp. p. 143 

From Loftus, /. r. 

Tell Buw^riye at Warki 145 

From Loftus, /. <r. 

Terra-Cotta Cone Wall at Warki 148 

From Loftus, /. c. 

Clay Tablet with Envelope, Nuffar ....... 155 

From the original in the Museum of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania. 

*Afej Reed-Huts, near Nuffar 160 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Babil, South- East Face, as it Appeared in 1853 '67 

From Oppert, Expldition Scientifiqtu en Mhopotamie, Atlas. 

Plan of the Ruins of Muqayyar, the Biblical Ur of the Chaldees . .172 

From "The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ire- 
land," Vol. XV^, Part II. 

Ruins of the Temple of Sin at Muqayyar 175 

From Loftus, /. c. 

Clay Coffin from Muqayyar 176 

From "The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ire- 
land," Vol. XV.. Part IL 

Temple Ruin at Abii Shahrain, from the South 180 

From "The Journal of 
land." Vol. XV., Part II. 

From "The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ire- 
I. XV., ~ 



1-Birs, Northwest Face 182 

From Rich's Collected Memoirs, edited by his widow. 

he Tower of Battel ( According to the model prepared by Sir Henry 

awlinson) Opp. p. 186 

From Helmholt's ireitgeschichU, Vol. III., Part I. 

he Ruins of Nineveh 195 

From Georg^e Smith. "Assyrian Discoveries." 

art of a Bronze Panel from the Great Palace Gate of Balaw^t 208 

From Birch and Pinches, " The Bronxe Ornaments of the Gates of Balaw&t." 

otive Statuette in Copper 222 

From Heuzey, Dfcottvertes en Chalder par Erneit tie Sarxec. 

udea, Priest-King of Lagash, as Architect .... Opp. p. 237 
From Heuzey, /. c. 

liver Vase of Entemena, Priest-King of Lagash, decorated with the 

mblem of his God Opp. p. 241 

From Heuzey. /. c, 

rench Excavations at Tello under De Sarzec 245 

From Heuzey. /. c. 

[arble Tablet of King Xabii-apal-iddina. About 850 B. C. . . 270 

From a cast iu the MuMrum of Archaeology. University of Pennsylvania. 

he Shammar Bedouins, appearing at the Mounds of Nuffar, Opp. p. 303 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Ian of the Ruins of Nuffar 305 

From a cast in the Mu.Hcum of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania. 

lipper-Shaped Coffins in their original position. About 100 A. D. 

Opp. p. 308 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

ooms antl To\\ers excavated in the Upper Strata of the Southeastern 

emple Enclosure ......... Opp. p. 312 

From a pholrjgraph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

rab Workmen at Nuffar — dancing, chanting and brandishing their 
-uns — < executing a so-calle<l Hausa) ..... Opp. p. 315 

From a photojfraph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

he Camp of the Second Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

cnnsylvania at Nuffar ........ opp. p. 322 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the Uni%'ersity of 

abylonian Pottery of the Parthian Period. About 250 B. C. to A. I). 

10 ..... Opp. p. 326 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

amp in Brown Enamelled Terra-Cotta 331 

From the original in the Museum of Archaeolog>', University of Pennsylvania. 



Bath - Tub - Shaped Coffin and Large Burial Urn in their Original 

Position Opp. p. 337 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

• Court of Columns of a Parthian Palace on the Western Bank of the 
Chebar. About 250-150 B. C. Opp. p. 340 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

^Terra-Cotta Images of Bel and his Consort Beltis. About 2500 B. C. 

Opp. p. 342 

From the originals in the Museum of Archaeologj', University of Pennsj'lvania. 

'Mud Castle (Meft^l) of 'Abud el-Hamid, Supreme Shaikh of the Six 
Hamza Tribes Opp. p. 349 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

^ Well, built of Bricks and two Terra-Cotta Drains . . Opp. p. 36^ 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Drain composed of Jars. About 200 B. C Opp. p. 365 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

■ Northwestern Fayade of the Ziggurrat, as restored by Ashurbanapal 
about 650 B. C. Opp. p. 368 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

' Water Conduit, built by King Ur-Gur, 2700 B. C. . . Opp. p. 372 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Parthian Well in the Center of the Northeast Fa9ade of Ashurbdnapal's 
Stage-Tower Opp. p. 374 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Excavated Section of the Court of the Ziggurrat in Nippur opp. p. 377 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Torso of an Inscribed Statue in Dolerite. About 2700 B. C. . . 3S5 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian F^xpedition of the University of 

^ Treasury Vault and Temple Archive of the Time of Sargon I. About 

3800 B. C. opp. p. 390 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian F^xpedition of the University of 

Southeastern Section of the Ziggurrat 394 

From the drawing designed by Hilprecht and made by Fisher. 

T-pipe Joint 396 

From the drawing made by Fisher. 

' The Earliest Babylonian Arch known. About 4000 B. C. opp. p. 399 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 


XVI 1 

Pre-Sargonic Drain in Terra-Cotta 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Pre-Sargonic Clay Tablet 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Exercise Tablet of a Child 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Pre-Sargonic Chamber with Two Large Vases. About 4500 B. C. 

Opp. p. 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Earliest Vase from Nippur. Pre-Sargonic Cup 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Clay Tablet with Seal Impressions from the Archives of Murash^ Sons 
From the original in the Museum of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania 

Olilong Weight in Hematite 

From the original in the Museum of Archarology, University* of Pennsylvania 

Triangular Label ("One I^mb, the Shepherd Uzi-ilu.") 

From the original in the Museum of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania 

Label with Seal Impressions ........ 

From the original in the Museum of Archa.'ologj', University of Pennsylvania 

Ellipsoidal Label. Dateti in the Reign of King Ammisadugga 

From the original in the Museum of Archarology, I'niversity of Pennsyl\*ania 

C.^fisite .\ccount Tablet. Alx)ut 1400 B. C. . 

From the original in the Museum of Archaeology, University of Penn.sylvania 

Votive Tablet of rr-Kiilil. Al)out 4000 B. C. 

rrotii .i ca«*l in the Museum of Archicology. I'nivtrsity of Pennsylvania. 

^^•»rl>elle<l Arch of Crude Bricks ....... 

I-roni a photojiraph taken by the Babylonian Kxpe<lition of the l'ni%'ersity of 
Prnti->\ haTiia. 

I. irly Habyloniaii Terra-Cotta Fountain from the Be<l of the Chebar 

From the original in the Museum of .Archicology, University of Pennsylvania 

Three J.irs found at the head of a Parthian Coffin. About 200 B. C. 

I"ri«m .1 photograph taken by the Biibylonian Expedition of the University a 
I*eiiti*\ 1\ ;inia 

Blue Fii.imelled Slip|)er-Sha]^d Coffin with Conventional I'enialc Fig 
I' r<*s 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian K.x^)edition of the University of 












Ruins of a Parthian Temple. Altar in front. AlK)ut ico A.I). opp. p. 424 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Kxpedition of the I'niversity of 

The Daghara Canal and a Freight-Boat iMcshhi\f \ of the Expedition 431 

rrT>m 3 photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 




Headquarters of the Uni\'ersity of Pennsylvania's Fourth Expedition 

at Nuffar ............. 433 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Hajji Tarfa's Garden and Reception Room (Mudhif ) .... 436 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

• Camel Herds of the Shammar browsing among the Thorn-Bushes around 
XufTar ........... Opp. p. 438 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

' The Removal of a Tower of the Seleucido-Parthian Fortress and the 
Clearing of the Ancient Temple Gate beneath it . . . opp. p. 444 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

• Incantation Bowls inscribed in Hebrew Characters. About 750 to 850 

A. D Opp. p. 447 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Hebrew Incantation Bowls in their Original Position .... 44S 

F"roni a photograph taken by the Babylonian F'xpedition of the University of 

• Southeast View of the Ziggurrat of Nippur. Excavated to the Water 
Level ........... opp. p. 453 

From a photograpli taken by the Babylonian F^xpedition of the University of 

Truncated Cone containing Ashurbanapars Account of his Restoration 

of the Stage Tower of Nippur ........ 461 

F'roni a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Ground Plan of Kkur. Temple of Bel, at Nippur 470 

From the drawing made by Fisher. Restored and designed by Hilprecht. 

Pre-Sargonic Votive Tablet in Limestone, Sacrificial Scene . . . 475 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Pre-Sargoiiic Bas-Relief in Limestone 487 

From a photograpli taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Old Babylonian Baking Furnace. About 2300 B. C 489 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Section of a Babylonian Baking Furnace in Use (Time of Abraham) . 490 
From the drawing made by Fisher. 

Babylonian Stilt. About 2300 B. C 491 

From the original in the Museum of Archieology, University of Pennsylvania. 

Stilt used in Modern China Manufactories 492 

From a Potlerj' Manufacturer. Trenton, N. J. 

"^ Ruins of the Pre-Sargonic Gate in the Northeast Wall of Nippur, 

Opp. p. 49.1 

Prom a photograph taken by the Babylonian Exi>edition of the University of 


Xorthwestem Section of the Northeastern City Wall .... 498 
From the drawing made by Fisher. 

Plan of Tomb of Two High Officers from the Parthian Palace. First 

Century A. D . .506 

From the drawing made by Fisher. 

Northeast Wing of the Temple Library and Priest-School of Nippur, 

. . opp. p. 509 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Vaulted Family Tombs of the Parthian Period, Southeastern Slope of 

the Library* Mound ......... opp. p. 511 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Kxp>edition of the University of 

Squeeze of an Inscription of Sargoii I. 3800 B. C. . . . .517 
From the original in the Museum of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania. 

I^rge Fragment of a Clay Tablet containing the Plan of Nippur and 

its Environments . . . . . . . . . .518 

From a photograph taken by the liabylonian Expedition of the University of 

Northeastern Portion of the Temple Library at Nippur . 523 

From the drawing made by CJeere. 

I>eltis Leading a Worshipper ......... 52S 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Lutanist Surrounded by Animals ........ 529 

From a photograph taken by the Babylonian F^xpedition of the University of 

Astronomical Tablet from the Temple Library ..... 530 
From the orijiinal in the Museum of Archarology, University of Penn.sylvania. 

Multij)licalif)n Table . . . . . -531 

I roin Ihi- orr^iuTl in ll>e .Mn<eum of ,\rch;c<)lojjy. University of Peunsylvania. 

lacing Wall of a rre-SarLjonic Cemetery ...... 533 

1 roTii tlu- dr.nviu^ niatle by Cure. 

')ur I"ir^t ICxpedilion to the Ruins of Abu Hatab and I'ara . opp. p. 53S 

I H'tu .1 phot.i^rajih t.iktii by the Babv Ionian Hxi)e(Jili«jn of the Uuivtrsity of 
Pe!iTi*«\ Ivauia 

>Lirkhur C.oat in Cop|>fr ......... 540 

Fr«»ni the orij^iiial iu tlu MiKeuniof .^rclueolo^y. Universit\ of Pennsylvania. 

Pre-Siirj^onic Hricks in their Historieal Development .... 542 
From lh<, «»ri;^inals in the Musfuui of .VrclKewlo^y. University of Pennsylvania. 

Stfflion of a Pre-Sargonic Well. Bricks laid in Herring-bone I'ashion 543 

From .1 photograph taken h\ the Babylonian I\xpedilion of the University of 
i*tiin*\ Ivani.j 

Section of the Stage-Tower and the .Vdjoining Southeast Court . 549 

From the drawing nja<le by I'isher. Restored and designed by Ililprechl. 

Kkiir the Temple of Bel at Nippur 552 

From the re««toration by Hilprecht and Fisher. 


Section through the Parthian Fortress covering the Temple of B^l, 

looking Southwest 555 

From the drawing made by Fisher. 

Parthian Palace built over the Ruins of the Temple of B^l . . . 559 
From the drawing made by Fisher and (ieerc. Restored by Hilprecht. 

Section through the Small Parthian Palace on West Side of the Chebar, 

looking Northeast . 563 

From the drawing made by Fisher. 

Plan of a Small Parthian Palace at Nippur, about 250 B. C. . . 567 

From the drawing made by Fisher. 

The Imperial Ottoman Museum at Constantinople . . . .571 


* Edward Robinson 580 

From a photograph presented to the Editor by Miss Mar>' A. Robinson (his 

The So-Called Tomb of Absalom 5S1 

From Miiller-Benzinger, Itlustriertc Ausgabe des ye.uen Testaments. 

Colonnade of Sebastiye .......... 587 

From a photograph of the collection Bonfils, BeirClt. 

The So-Called Tomb of Hiram, near Tyre 593 

From a photograph of the collection Bonfils. Beirftt. 

Herod's Temple, 30 B. C, according to the Model by Dr. Schick . . 597 
From a phologra])h in the possession of Dr. Benzinger. 

The So-Called Tower of David 60' 

From a photograph of the collection of the American Colony, Jerusalem. 


Russian Exploration near the Holy Sepulchre ..... 605 
From a photograph of the collection Ilcntschel, Leipzig. 

*Plan of the Excavated Upper Town of Tell Sandahanna . . . 610 
From the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Kxploration Fund, October, 1900. 

^Victory Stele of King Mesha of Moab 612 

From M. Philippe Berger. Histoid e de t Ecriture dans V Autiquitt. 

^ The Pool of Siloam (Showing the outlet of the Conduit connecting 
with the Spring of Gihon) opp. p. 613 

From Miiller-Benzinger, /. c. 

*Tlie Siloam Inscription 614 

From a cast in the Museum of .\rchu:ology, University of Pennsylvania. 

*The So-Called Sarcophagus of Alexander in Pentelikon Marble 

opp. p. 61S 
From 0. Ilamdy Bey and Theodore Reinach, L'ne Xecropole Royale <> Sidon. 


^ Mosaic Map Discovered by Father Kleophas at Madaba Opp. p. 620 

From AbhandluHgfH drr Kdnigl. GeselhchafI der H'issenscha/ten zu Gottingfn, 
\rue Folge, Vol. IV., Part II. 

Letter of Abdi-Kheba of Jerusalem (about 1400 B. C. ). Front view . 621 

From a photoeraph of the Royal Museums of Berlin. (For the text comp. Dcr 
Thonta/elfunS von El Amarna, Part II., No. 102, Vordtrseite.) 


Jean Francois Champollion 624 

From J. Diimichen, Gnchichte d£i Alten .-EgypUns (Oncken's Allgemeine Ge- 
ukichU in EinzeldanUllungen, Vol. I.). 

Great Pyramid of Cheops at Gize 625 

From a photo|^ph in the possession of Professor Steindorff. 

*Papyrus Containing Col. 11 of Aristotle's Constitution of Athens 627 

From • Facsimiles of Papyrus CXXXI. iu the British Museum," PI. VIII. 

*Tbe Rosetta Stone opp. p. 629 

From a cast iu the Museum of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania. 

Sphinx Temple near the Great Pyramid of Cheops .... 635 
From a photograph in Che possession of Professor Steindorff. 

Statue of the So Called Village Chief 637 

From a photograph in the possession of Professor Steindorff. 

•Interior of the Great Ammon Temple at Medinet Habu opp. p. 63S 

From a photograph in the pos-session of Mrs. S. V. Stevenson. 

Temple of Kom Ombo 640 

From a photograph in the possession of Profe.ssor Steindorff. 

The Isis Temple on the Isle of Phila? opp. p. 642 

Fr<jm a photojjraph in the possession of Professor Steindorff. 

Hums of Taiiis. the Biblical Zoan ........ 645 

From .1 jili'ilograph iu the possession of Professor Steindorff. 

'*>iphinx from Pithom . . - . . . 647 

l"r«inj Naville. ' The Store-City of Pithom. ' 

*Map of Tell Kl-MaskhCita (Pithom ) 64S 

From Naville. /. c . 

*Slore-Chaniber of Pithom ......... 649 

From Neville. /. c. 

The Step Pyramid of Saqqara ........ 653 

From a pholoj^raph in the pos.session of Profes><)r Steindorff. 

*Breast plate of King Amenemhat III. . . . 659 

From J de Morgan. FouiUt!> a DahcUour. 

The Step Pyramiil of Medum 662 

From a photograph iu the possession of Professor Steindorff. 

•Portrait Paintetl in Wax (From the FayCimi 666 

From the original in the Museum of Archa-ology. I' of Pennsylvania. 



*Pyraini(l of El-Lahiin, Fayum 672 

From a photograph \n the possession of Mrs. S. Y, Stevenson. 

The Temple of Seti I. at Abydos 679 

From a photograph in the p>os.scssion of Professor Steindorff , 

^Royal Cemetery at Abydos 681 

From W. M. Flinders Petrie "The Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty." 

>/ *^Southerii Pylon of the Great Animoii Temple at Luxor . opp. p. 6S2 
From a photograph in the possession of Mrs. S. Y. Stevenson. 

General View of the Temple of Luxor ....... 68' 

From a photograph ol ihc collection Boufils. Bcyrfit. 


>/*Stele in Black Syenite of Menephtah (Mentioning Israel) . Opp. p. 684 
From \V. M. Flinders Pclrie. " Six Temples at Thebes." 

Head from the Sarcophagu.<i of King Rameses IL . . . . 686 

From a photograph in tlie posse.ssi(jn of Professor Steindorff. 

■^ Mummy of Rameses II. 6S7 

From a photograph in tl'.e possession of Mrs. S. Y. Stevenson. 


Valley of the Kings, near Thebes ...... Opp. p. 689 

From a photograph in the pos.-^ession of Professor Steindorff. 


*J. Halevy ............ 692 

From a photograph in the possession of the FIditor. 

^Native of Southwest Arabia 693 

From W. B. Harris, "A Journey through the Yemen." (By permission of the 
publishers, Messrs. William Blackwood & Sons. London ) 

Desert Landscape near Bet *Amir, South Arabia 695 

I'rom a photograph by Count Landberg. 

The Oasis of Jof in Northern Arabia 696 

From Lady Anne Blunt. "A Pilgrimage to Xejd," Vol. L (By permission of 
the publisher, Mr. John Murray, London. j 

*Head from Minean Tombstone ........ 69S 

From Mittetlungen oh.^ de'n Oi irntalisch^n Satnnilun^cfi det Koni^l. Afnscen zu 
Be r 1 171, Vol. VII. 

*Aden . 701 

I'rom a photograph in the posses.sion of tlic Editor. 

*Sandstorm in the Wadi Kr-Rajel ........ 705 

From Lady Anne Blunt. /. c. Vol. I. (By permission ) 

Khoraiba, South of Azab 707 

From \V. B. Harris, /. c. (By permis.sion.) 

*South Arabian Princes iSons of the Sultan of Lahij, with two slaves) . 711 
From a photograph in the possession of the FMitor. 

San 'd, Capital of Yemen 713 

From a photograph by Langer. published by Hommel in Ausland, May, 1883. 



*Lady Anne Blunt in Arab Costume Opp. p 714 

From Lady Annc Blunt. /. c, Vol. I. (By pcrmiasion.) 

Azab (Halfwav between Aden and San *&) 7^5 

From W. B. Harris, /. c. (By permission.) 

♦Oasis of *Aqda, near Hay il 7^^ 

From Lady Anne Blunt, /. c. Vol. II. (By permission.) 

•Mohammedan Pilgrims starting for Mecca .... Opp. p. 720 
From a photograph in the possession of the Editor. 

Village of .\re<ioah, South of Khoraiba 721 

From W. B. Harris, /. c. (By permission.) 

*E<iuard Glaser (With him Shaikh X^ji ibn-Muhsin, of the Tribe Al 

Tu*aiman. and his Nephew) opp. p. 722 

From a photograph in the possession of the Editor. 

Castle at Shibdm in Hadhram6t 723 

From T. and Mrs. T. Bent, "Southern Arabia." (By permis.sioD of Mrs. 
Mabel V. A. Bent, who took the photograph. ; 

South Arabian Wadi and Castle (a few miles from Makalla) . . 725 

From a photograph by Count Laudberg. 

Bronze Tablet with Sabean Inscription (From 'Anirdn) . . . 731 

From Corpus Inscriptionum Sftniticarum, Vol. I., Part IV. : fasciculus 2. 

Granite Ranjje of Jebel Shammar (Effect of Mirage). In the Back- 
ground the Mountains .Aja and vSelma, " the Gate of Ancestors " of the 
Inscriptions of (iudea .......... 739 

From Lady Anne Blunt, /. r.. Vol. II. (By pcrmis.sion.) 

*Camel Market at Aden, with Mountains in Background . Opp. p. 742 
From a photograph in the possession of the Editor. 

♦Inside of Harbor of Mask at with Castle at Entrance .... 744 

From a y)hc)tojjrn|)h by Mr. Clarence S. Fisher, architect of the Babylonian 
KxtM<'iitr 'n of the I'liiverMty of Pennsylvania. 

Minean Inscription from El-'C)la iMidian^ mentioning two women 
l<evitts ( ^luit. 55 .......... 749 

From J. H. Mordtniann. [intriitit zur Mtnai^chfu Jlpti^raphik. 


♦\V. Wriglit 754 

From a ph'»tograph in the possession ui h\> widow. 

Hittite Inscription from Hamath . - 7.'- 

From W.Wright. "The Knipire of the HittiUs.'" *iecond edition. (By per- 
mission of the publishers, Messrs James Ni^-bet & Co , London ) 

Hittile Howl from Babylon ......... 757 

From W Wright. / c. (Fly permission.) 

The Hittite God of the Sky i Stele in dolerite, excavated by Dr. Kol- 
dcwey in the ])aiace of Nebuchadrezzar at Babylon, in 1S99). Opp. p 758 

From li'i^srnscha/thchf I'erijfffntluhungen der Dtut^chen Onent-Ceiellschaft, 
Heft I 

^ U' 


Sculptures and Inscriptions near Ivriz 762 

From Recueil de Travaux relati/s d la f^iiologie el d P Archiologif Agyptiennes 
el Assyrienrus, Vol. XIV. 

• The Pseudo-Sesostris (Carved on the rock in the pass of Karabel) 

Opp. p. 762 

From W, WriRht, /. c. (By permission.) 

Hittite Inscription on a Bowl from Babylon (Conip. p. 6) . . 767 

From W. Wright, /. c. (By permission.) 

Bilingual Inscription on the Silver Boss of Tarkondemos . . . 769 
From the "Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology," Vol. VII. 

•j The Inscribed Lion of Mar 'ash (Now in the Imperial Ottoman Museum, 

Constantinople) Opp. p. 777 

From W. Wright, /. f. (By permission.) 

*Hittite Relief, found near Malatya in 1894 (Now in the Imperial Otto- 
man Museum, Constantinople) Opp. p. 779 

From a photograph in the possession of the Editor. 

(in the pocket at tiik end of the book.) 

No. I. Western Asia (with Plan of Ancient Jerusalem, according to J. 
Drawn by L. Hirsch, architect, Jena, from material furnished by the Editor. 

No. 2. Plan of Babylon, according to R. Koldewey. 

Drawn by L. Hirsch, architect, Jena, according to the drawing published in 
Friedrich Delitzsch. Babylon, second edition, Leipzig. 1901. 

No. 3. Egypt. 

Drawn by Hubert Kohler, Graph. Art Institute, Munich, from material 
furnished by the Editor. 

No. 4. Arabia. 

Drawn by Hubert Kohler, Graph. Art Institute. Munich, from material 
furnished by Professor Hommel. 






E history of the exploration of Assyria and Babylonia 
f the excavation of its ruined cities is a peculiar one. It 

,_ ^ is a history so full of 

dramatic effects and 
genuine surprises, 
and at the same time 
so unique and far- 
reaching in its results 
and bearings upon 
so many different 
branches of science, 
that it will always 
read more like a 
thrilling romance 
penned by the skil- 
ful hand of a gifted 
writer endowed with 
an extraordinarv 
power of imagina- 
tion than like a plain 

and sober presenta- 

in thr Trtn,hn ut Ni.rtjr fion of actual facts 

and events. 
ncveh and Babvlon ! What illustrious names and 
incnt types of human strength, intellectual power, and 
aspiration ; but also what terrible examples of atrocious 
, ot lack of restraint, of moral corruption, and ultimate 


downfall ! " Empty, and void, and waste " (Nah. 2 : lo); 
when " flocks lie down in the midst of her " (Zeph. 2 : 14) ; 
when " the gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace 
shall be dissolved " (Nah. 2 : 6) — was the fate of the queen 
in the North; and " How art thou fallen from heaven, O 
Lucifer, son of the morning ! how art thou cut down to the 
ground, which didst weaken the nations " (Is. 14: 12) — 
rings like a mourning wail through Babylon's crumbling 
walls, and like the mocking echo of the prophetic curse from 
the shattered temples in the South. 

Ignorant peasants draw their primitive ploughs over the 
ruined palaces of Qoyunjuk and Khorsabad ; roaming Be- 
douins pasture their herds on the grass-covered slopes of 
Nimrud and Qal'at Shirgat ; Turkish garrisons and modern 
villages crown the summits of Krbil and Nebi Yunus. 
Nothing reminds the traveller of the old Assyrian civiliza- 
tion but formless heaps and conical mounds. The solitude 
and utter devastation which characterize Babylonia in her 
present aspect are even more impressive and appalling. 
The whole countrv from 'Aqarquf to (^orna looks " as when 
God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah" (Is. 13: 19; Jer. 
50:40). I'he innumerable canals which in bygone days, 
like so many nourishing veins, crossed the rich alluvial plain, 
bringing life and joy and wealth to every village and field, 
are choked up with rubbish and earth. Unattended by 
industrious hands and no longer fed by the Euphrates and 
Tigris, they are completely " dried up *' — "a drought is 
upon the waters of Babylon** (Jer. 50:38). But their 
lofty embankments, like a perfect network, " stretching on 
every side in long lines until they are lost in the hazy dis- 
tance, or magnified by the mirage into mountains, still defy 
the hand of time,*' bearing witness to the great skill and 
diligent labor which once turned these barren plains into 
one luxuriant garden. The proverbial fertility and prosper- 
ity of Babylonia, which excited the admiration of classical 


writers, have long disappeared. " Her cities are a desola- 
tion, a dry land, and a wilderness" (Jer. 51 : 43). The soil 
is parched and the ground is covered with fine sand, some- 
times sparingly clad with 'arid and seritHy qubbar, and tarfa, 
and other low shrubs and plants of the desert. 

And yet this is but one side — and not the most gloomy 
— of Chaldea's present cheerless condition. " The sea is 
come up upon Babvlon : she is covered with the multitudes of 
the waves thereof" (Jer. 51 :42), savs the Old Testament 

seer, in his terse and graphic description ot the future state 
of the unfortunate country. In the autumn and winter 
Babvlonia is a "desert of sand," but during spring and 
summer she is almost a continuous marsh, a veritable 
"desert of the sea" lis. 21:1). While the inundations 
prevail a dense vegetation springs from the stagnant waters. 
Large flocks of birds with brilliant plumage, "pelicans and 
cormorants sail about in the undisputed possession of their 
safe and tranquil retreats." Turtles and snakes glide 
swiftly through the lagoons, while millions of green little 
frogs are seated on the bending rushes. L'gly Iniftaloes 
are struggling and splashing amongst the tali reeds and 


coarse grasses, " their unwieldy bodies often entirely con- 
cealed under water and their hideous heads just visible upon 
the surface." Wild animals, boars and hyenas, jackals and 
wolves, and an occasional lion, infest the jungles. Here 
and there a small plot of ground, a shallow island, a high- 
towering ruin, bare of every sign of vegetation, and towards 
the north large elevated tracts of barren soil covered with 
fragments of brick and glass and stone appear above the 
horizon of these pestiferous marshes. Half-naked men, 
women, and children, almost black from constant exposure 
to the sun, inhabit these desolate regions. Filthy huts of 
reeds and mats are their abodes during the night ; in long 
pointed boats of the same material they skim by day over 
the waters, pasturing their flocks, or catching fish with the 
spear. To sustain their life, they cultivate a little rice, 
barley, and maize, on the edges of the inundations. Gen- 
erally good-natured and humorous like children, these 
Ma'dan tribes get easily excited, and at the slightest provo- 
cation are ready to fight with each other. Practicing the 
vices more than the virtues of the Arab race, extremelv 
ignorant and superstitious, they live in the most primi- 
tive state of barbarism and destitution, despised by the 
Bedouins of the desert, who frequently drive their cattle and 
sheep away and plunder their little property during the 

Restlessly shifting nomads in the north and ignorant 
swamp dwellers in the south have become the legitimate 
heirs of Asshur and Babel. What contrast between ancient 
civilization and modern degeneration ! The mighty kings 
of yore have passed awav, their empires were shattered, 
their countries destroyed. Nineveh and Babylon seemed 
completely to have vanished from the earth. Hundreds of 
years were necessary to revive the interest in their history 
and to determine merely their sites, while the exploration 
of their principal ruins, the deciphering of their inscriptions, 


and the restoration of their literature and art were achieved 
only in the course of the nineteenth century. The road was 
iong, the process slow, and many persons and circumstances 
combined to bring about the final result. 




Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire, owed its 
greatness and domineering influence exclusively to the con- 
quering spirit of its rulers and the military glory and prow- 
ess of its armies. As soon as the latter had been routed, 
her influence ceased, the city fell, never to rise again, and 
its very site was quickly forgotten among the nations. 
When two hundred years later Xenophon and his ten thou- 
sand Greeks fought their way through the wilderness and 
mountains to the Black Sea, they passed the ruins of Nine- 
veh without even mentioning her by name. But a vague 
local tradition, always an important factor in the East, con- 
tinued to linger around the desolate region between Mosul 
and the mouth of the Upper Zab, where the final drama 
had been enacted. 

Benjamin of Tudela, a learned Spanish Jew, who trav- 
elled to Palestine and the districts of the I\uphrates and 
Tigris in the twelfth century, about the time when Rabbi 
Pethahiah of Ratisbon visited Mesopotamia, had no dif- 
ficulty in locating the actual position of Nineveh. In 
speaking of Mosul he says : " This city, situated on the 
Tigris, is connected with ancient Nineveh by a bridge. It 
is true, Nineveh lies now in utter ruins, but numerous 
villages and small towns occupy its former space.'* ^ 

* Comp. Itinfrarium Beniamini TuJelensis ( ex Hebraico Latinum fac- 
tum Bene J. Aria Montano interprete)^ Antwerp, 1575, p. 58. 


The German physician, Leonhart RauwolfF, who spent 
several days in Mosul at the beginning of 1575, writes ^ in 
his attractive quaint style with reference to a high round 
hill directly outside the city (apparently Qoyunjuk) : ^ " It 
was entirely honeycombed, being inhabited by poor people, 
whom I often saw crawling out and in in large numbers, 
like ants in their heap. At that place and in the region 
hereabout years ago the mighty city of Nineveh was situated. 
Originally built by Asshur, it was for a time the capital of 
Assyria under the rulers of the first monarchy down to 
Sennacherib and his sons." ^ 

Sir Anthony Shirley, who sailed to the East at the close 
of the sixteenth century, is equally positive : " Nineve, that 
which God Himself calleth That great Citie, hath not one 
stone standing which may give memory of the being of a 
towne. One English mile from it is a place called Mosul, 
a small thing, rather to be a witnesse of the other's might- 

^ In his Itineriirium or RassibuchleiJi^ which appeared in Laugingen, 
1583, the author writes his name either Rauwolf, RauwolfF, or Rauchwolff, 
the middle being the most frequent of all. Interwoven with allerhandt wun- 
dcrbarliche geschicht u?td Histor'tefiy die den gutherzige?i leser erlustigen 
und hohereji sachen nach xudenken auffpiundtcrn soIIe?i, this book contains 
much valuable information as to what RauwolfF has seen in the Orient dur- 
ing the three years of his perilous journey, which lasted from May i 5, i 573, 
to February 12, 1576. Of especial importance are his observations on the 
flora of the regions traversed, a subject on which he speaks with greater 

'^ Comp. the statement of Tavernier, quoted on p. 10. 

^ P. 244 : Sonst ersahe ich auch ausserhalb gleich z'or der Stadt ein 
hohcn runden Bihel^ der schier gantx durchgrabefi und z'on armen leuten 
bezvohnet zvirty zvie ichs dann offtermals hab in grosser anvcahl {^als die 
Ohnmaysen in irem hauffen') sehen auss und einkriechen. An der stet und in 
der gegne hierumb, ist z'or Jar en gclegen die meehtige Statt NinivCy welehe 
{yon Assur erstlich erbawet) unter den Pot en tat en der erst en Monarchic eine 
xeitiang biss auf den Sennacherib und seine Sone die Hauptstatt in Assyrien 
gewesen, etc. Comp., also, p. 214 : Mossel so vor Jar en Ninive gehais- 


inesse and God's judgement, than of any fashion of mag- 
nificence in it selfe/' ^ 

From the beginning of the seventeenth century we quote 
two other witnesses, John Cartwright, an English traveller, 
and Pietro della Valle, an Italian nobleman, the latter being 
satisfied with the general statement : " Mousul, where pre- 
viously Nineveh stood," ^ the former entering into certain 
details of the topography of the ruins, which, notwithstand- 
ing his assurance to the contrary, he cannot have examined 
very thoroughly. As a first attempt at drawing some kind 
of a picture of the city on the basis of personal observation, 
legendary information from the natives, and a study of the 
ancient sources, his words may deserve a certain attention : 
" We set forward toward Mosul, a very antient towne in 
this countrey, . . . and so pitched on the bankes of the river 
Tigris. Here in these plaines of Assiria and on the bankes 
of the Tigris, and in the region of Kden, was Ninevie built 
by Nimrod, but finished by Ninus. It is agreed by all 
prophane writers, and confirmed by the Scriptures that this 
cittv exceeded all other citties in circuit, and answerable 
magnificence. For it seems by the ruinous foundation 
(which I thoroughly viewed) that it was built with four 
sides, but not equall or square ; for the two longer sides 
had each of them (as we gesse) an hundredth and fifty fur- 
loners, the two shorter sides, ninety furlongs, which amount- 
eth to foure hundred and eighty furlongs of ground, which 
makes three score miles, accounting eight furlongs to an 
Italian mile. The walls whereof were an hundredth foote 
upright, and had such a breadth, as three Chariots might 

' Comp. ** His Relation of His Travels into Persia," London, 1613, p. 
21, partly quoted by Felix Jones in ** Journal ot the Royal Asiatic Society,'* 
vol. XV., p. 3^3, footnote 3; and the Dutch edition, Leyden, 1706, p. 10. 

- I quote from the German translation in my library ( Rfise- Bfsihrtif^u?!^^ 
Geneva, 1674), part i, p. 193, b : Mousul, an zviLhem Ort v'jrxcitcn 
Ninn-c gestanden. 


passe on the rampire in front : these walls were garnished 
with a thousand and five hundreth towers, which gave ex- 
ceeding beauty to the rest, and a strength no lesse admir- 
able for the nature of those times." ^ 

Tavernier, who justly prides himself in having travelled 
by land more than sixty thousand miles within forty years, 
made no less than six different excursions into Asia. In 
April, 1644, he spent over a week at Mosul, and most 
naturally also visited the ruins of Nineveh, which were 
pointed out to him on the left bank of the Tigris. " They 
appear as a formless mass of ruined houses extending almost 
a mile alongside the river. One recognizes there" a large 
number of vaults or holes which are all uninhabited," — 
evidently the same place which, seventy-five years before 
him, RauwolfF had found frequented by poor people, and 
not unfittingly had compared to a large ant-hill. " Half 
a mile from the Tigris is a small hill occupied by many 
houses and a mosque, which is still in a fine state of preser- 
vation. According to the accounts of the natives the pro- 
phet Jonah lies buried here." ~ 

During the eighteenth century men of business, scholars, 
and priests of different religious orders kept the old tradi- 
tion alive in the accounts of their travels. But in 1748 
Jean Otter, a member of the French Academy, and after- 
wards professor of Arabic, who had spent ten years in the 
provinces of Turkey and Persia for the distinct purpose 
of studying geographical and historical questions, suddenly 
introduced a strong element of doubt as to the value and 
continuitv of the local tradition around Mosul.^ He dis- 

^ "The Preacher's Travels," London, 161 5, pp. 89, se^, Comp., 
also, Rogers, '* History of Babylonia and Assyria," vol. i., pp. 94, se^. 

'^ Comp. Herrn Johann Baptistcn Tavernier s I'lerxig-yahrige Reise- 
Beschreibungf translated by Menudicr, Nuremberg, 1681, part i, p. 74. 

' In his Foyage e?i Turquie et cJt Perse y Paris, 1748, vol. i., pp. 133, 
seq, Comp., also, Buckingham, ** Travels in Mesopotamia," London, 
1827, vol. ii., p. 17. 


criminates between the statement of the Arabian geographer 
Abulfeda, claiming the eastern bank of the Tigris for the 
true site of Nineveh, and a tradition current among the 
natives/ who identify Eski-Mosul, a ruin on the western 
side and considerably higher up the river, with the ancient 
cit)', himself favoring, however, the former view. For, 
" opposite Mosul there is a place called Tell Et-tuba^ i. e.y 
* Mound of Repentance,' where, they say, the Ninevites 
put on sackcloth and ashes to turn away the wrath of God." 

The old tradition which placed the ruin of Nineveh 
opposite Mosul was vindicated anew by the Danish scholar 
Carsten Niebuhr, who visited the place in 1766. Though 
not attempting to give a detailed description of the ruins in 
which we are chiefly interested, he states his own personal 
conviction very decidedly, and adds some new and important 
facts illustrated by the first sketch of the large southern 
mound of Nebi Yunus.^ Jewish and Christian inhabitants 
alike declare that Nineveh stood on the left bank of the 
river, and they differ only as to the original extent of the 

Two principal hills are to be distinguished, the former 
crowned with the village of Nunia (/. e,y Nineveh) and a 
mosque said to contain the tomb of the prophet Jonah 
(Nebi Yunus), the other known by the name of (^al^at 
Nunia (" the castle of Nineveh "), and occupied by the vil- 
lage of (^oyunjuk. While living in Mosul near the Tigris, 
he was also shown the ancient walls of the city on the other 

* Al>o reported (and favored ) by the Italian Academician and botanist 
Se>rini, who in I 78 1 travelled from Constantinople through Asia Minor to 
Mosul and Basra, and in the following year from there via Mosul and Aleppo 
:o Alexandria. Comp. the French translation of his account, Foytij^r dc Con- 
.tjrjtin'ipie a Bassora, etc., Paris, vi. (year of the Republic = 1798J, 
p. 152. 

' Comp. C Niehuhrs Reisebeschre'tbung nach Arabien und andern um- 
Itegenden Landern^ Copenhagen, 1778, vol. ii., p. 353, and Plates xlvi. and 
xlvii.. No. 2. 


side, which formerly he had mistaken for a chain of low 
hills. Niebuhr's account was brief, but it contained all the 
essential elements of a correct description of the ruins, and 
by its very brevity and terse presentation of facts stands 
out prominently from the early literature as a silent protest 
against the rubbish so often contained in the works of pre- 
vious travellers. 

To a certain degree, therefore, D'Anville was justified in 
summing up the whole question concerning the site of 
Nineveh, at the close of the eighteenth century, by making 
the bold statement in his geographical work, "The Eu- 
phrates and Tigris " : ^ " We know that the opposite or 
left bank of the river has preserved vestiges of Nineveh, 
and that the tradition as to the preaching of Jonah by no 
means has been forgotten there.** 


The case of Babylon was somewhat different. The 
powerful influence which for nearly two thousand years this 
great Oriental metropolis had exercised upon the nations of 
Western Asia, no less by its learning and civilization than 
bv its victorious battles ; the fame of its former splendor 
and magnitude handed down by so many different writers ; 
the enormous mass of ruins still testifying to its gigantic 
temples and palaces ; and the local tradition continuing to 
live among the inhabitants of that desolate region with 
greater force and tenacity than in the district of Mosul, 
prevented its name and site from ever being forgotten 
entirely. At the end of the first Christian century the city 
was in ruins and practically deserted. But even when 
Baghdad had risen to the front, taking the place of Babylon 
and Seleucia as an eastern centre of commerce and civiliza- 
tion, Arabian and Persian writers occasionally speak of the 

^ U Euphrate et le Tigre, Paris, 1779, p. 88. 


two, and as late as the close of the tenth century, Ibn 
Hauqal refers to Babel as " a small village." ^ 

The more we advance in the first half of the second mil- 
lennium, the scantier grows our information. Benjamin of 
Tudela has but little to sav. His interest centred in the 
relics of the numerous Jewish colonies of the countries 
traversed and in their history and tradition. Briefly he 
mentions the ruins of the palace of Nebuchadrezzar, " to 
men inaccessible on account of the various and malignant 
kinds of serpents and scorpions living there." " With more 
detail he describes the Tower of Babel (" built by the dis- 
persed generation, of bricks called al-aj^r " ^), which appar- 
ently he identified with the lofty ruins of Birs (Nimrud). 
Other travellers, like Marco Polo, visited the same regions 
without even referring to the large artificial mounds which 
they must frequently have noticed on their journeys. 
Travelling to the valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris, in 
those early days, was more for adventure or commercial 
and religious purposes than for the scientific exploration of 
the remains of a bygone race, about which even the most 

* A brief summary of the different ancient writers who refer to the gradual 
di->appcarancc of Babylon, and of the more prominent European travellers who 
visited or are reported to have visited the ruins of Babylon ( with extracts from 
their accounts in an appendix ;, is found in the introduction to the <* Collection 
of Rich's Memoirs," written by Mrs. Rich. It rests upon the well-known 
dissertation on Babylon by De Ste. Croix, published in the Memo'tres de P Aca- 
df^u dci Inscriptions t't des BcIIcs-Lettrt-Sy 1789. Of more recent writers 
who have treated the same subject, I mention only Kaulen { Asssrien und 
Bd^yloriiin, 5th cd., I 899) and Rogers ( ** History of Babylonia and Assyria," 
vol. i., 1 900 ). Much information on the early writers is also scattered through 
Rittcr's Die Erdkunde von Asien^ especially vol. xi. of the whole series. 

'^ Itinerarium Beniamini Tude/ensis, p. 70, scq. 

* The Latin translation has Lagzar (HT^sb). Al-ajur fcomp. Injur in the 
Maghreb dialects) is used also by the present inhabitants of Babylonia as 
another designation for ** baked brick'* {tabuq). The word is identical 
with the Babylonian agurru, as was recognized by Rawlinson, ** Journal of 
the Royal Asiatic Society," vol. xvii., p. 9. 


learned knew but little. In the following sketch I quote, 
in historical order, only those travellers who have actually 
furnished some kind of useful information concerning Baby- 
lon or other Babylonian sites. 

From the latter part of the sixteenth century we have 
three testimonials, that of Rauwolff, the adventurous physi- 
cian of Augsburg (travelling 1573—76), that of the Venetian 
jeweller, Balbi (1579-80),^ and that of the English merchant 
Eldred (1583), a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth, who 
descended the Euphrates in a boat, landed at Falluja (or 
Feluja, according to the popular Arabic pronunciation), and 
proceeded across 'Iraq to Baghdad. In vague terms they all 
speak of the ruins of " the mighty city of Babylon," the 
" Tower of Babel,*' and the " Tower of Daniel," which they 
beheld in the neighborhood of Falluja or on their way to 
Baghdad or " New Babylon." Their words have been 
generallv accepted without criticism.^ It is, however, en- 
tirely out of question that a traveller who disembarked at 
Falluja, directing his course due east, and arriving at Bagh- 
dad after one and a half days' journey, could possibly have 
passed or even have seen the ruins of Babylon. From a 
comparison of the accounts given by Rauwolff, Eldred, 
and others with what I personally observed in 1889, when 
for the first time I travelled precisely the same road, there 
can be no doubt that they mistook the various ruin heaps 
and the many large and small portions of high embank- 
ments of ancient canals everywhere visible^ for scattered re- 

^ Not having been able to examine his statement in the author's own book, 
I profited by the brief resume of his travel given by Mrs. Rich in her edition 
of her husband's ** Collected Memoirs," p. 55, footnote *. 

^ Rogers, in his ** History of Babylonia and Assyria," vol. i.,pp. 89, scqq.y 
asserts that Eldred confused Baghdad and Babylon. But this is incorrect, 
for Eldred says plainly enough : ** The citie of New Babylon [Baghdad] 
joyneth upon the aforesaid desert where the Olde citie was," /. ^., the desert 
between Falluja and Baghdad which our author crossed. 

* Possibly they included even the large ruins of Anbar, plainly to be recog- 


mains of the very extended city of Babylon, and the im- 
posing brick structure of ^Aqarquf for the " Tower of 
Babel " or " of Daniel." For ^Aqarquf, generally pro- 
nounced *Agarguf, and situated about nine to ten miles to 
the west of Baghdad, is the one gigantic ruin which every 
traveller crossing the narrow tract of land from Falluja to 
Baghdad must pass and wonder at. Moreover, the descrip- 
tion of that ruin, as given by Eldred and others after him, 
contains several characteristic features from which it can be 
identified without difficulty. We quote Eldred's own lan- 
guage: " Here also are yet standing the ruines of the olde 
Tower of Babell, which being upon a plaine ground seemeth 
a farre off very great, but the nearer you come to it, the 
lesser and lesser it appeareth : sundry times I have gone 
thither to see it, and found the remnants yet standing about 
a quarter of a mile in compasse, and almost as high as the 
stone work of Paules steeple in London, but it showeth 
much bigger. The brickes remaining in this most ancient 
monument be half a yard [in the sense of our " foot "] 
thicke and three quarters of a yard long, being dried in the 
Sunne onlv, and betweene everv course of brickes there 
lieth a course of mattes made of canes, which remaine 
sounde and not perished, as though they had been laved 
within one yeere.'* ' 

Master Allen," who travelled in the same region not 

nizcd from Falluja, and only a few miles to the north of it. For all these 
travellers had a vague idea that ancient Babylon was situated on the Eu- 
phrates, and that its ruins covered a vast territory. Eldred* s description is 
especially explicit : "In this place which we crossed over stood the olde 
mightie ciiie of Babylon, many olde ruines whereof are easilie to be scene by 
daylight, which I, John Eldred, have often behelde at my goode leisure, 
ha\'ing made three voyages between the New citie ot Babylon [/. e., Bagh- 
dad] and Aleppo." 

^ Hakluyt, " The Principal Navigations, V'oiages, and Discoveries of the 
English Nation,'* London, 1589, p. 232. 

' Comp. ** Purchas his Pilgrimage,** London, 1626, p. 50 (quoted in 
Rich*s "Collected Memoirs,** pp. 321, sr^., footnote *). 


many years afterwards, gives as his measurement of those 
bricks twelve by eight by six inches. Eldred's statement, 
however, is more correct. While visiting ^Aqarquf, I found 
the average size of complete bricks from that ruin to be 
eleven inches square by four inches and a quarter thick.* 
The layers of reed matting, a characteristic feature of the 
massive ruin, are not so frequent as stated by Eldred. 
They occur only after every fifth to seventh layer of bricks, 
at an average interval of nearly three feet. What is now 
left of this high, towering, and inaccessible structure, above 
the accumulation of rubbish at its base, rises to a little over 
a hundred feet. If there is still any doubt as to the cor- 
rectness of the theory set forth, a mere reference to the 
positive statement of Tavernier,^ who visited Baghdad in 
1652, will suffice to dispel it. 

Shirley's and Cartwright's references to Babylon, or rather 
to the locality just discussed, may be well passed over, the 
former delighting more in preaching than in teaching, the 
latter largely reproducing the account of Eldred, with which 
he was doubtless familiar. Of but little intrinsic value is 
also what Boeventing, Taxeira, and a number of other trav- 
ellers of the same general period have to relate. 

1 Chesney, "The Expedition for the Survey of the Rivers Euphrates and 
Tigris," vol. ii., p. 605, practically gives the same measures (ii^ inches 
square by 4 deep). 

^ I quote from the German edition before me ( Fierzig-jfahrige Reise-Be- 
schrelbungy translated by Menudicr, Nuremberg, 1 68 1 , part i , p. 9 1 ) : Ich muss 
noch allhier besfugerty zvas ich wcgcn liessjertigen, das insgemein von dcm Rest 
dcs Thiirns zu Babylon gcglauhet wirdy in acht nehmen konnen, welcher Name 
(^Babylon) auch ordentlich der Stadt Bagdad gegeben zvird, ungeachtet selbige 
davon aber j Meilen entfernet liget. Man siehet also . . . ei/itn grossen 
von Erden aufgehauften Hugely den man noch heut zu Tage Nemrod nennet, 
Selbiger ist in mitten einer grossen Lands chaff t^ und las set sick feme schon zu 
Gesichte fassen. Das gemeine Volky zuie ich bereits gedachty glaubety es seye 
solcher der Uberrest des Babslonischen Thurns : Allein es hat einen besseren 
Scheiny was die Araber ausgebeny welche es Agarcouf nennen, Comp., also, 
C. Niebuhrs Reisebeschreibungy Copenhagen, 1778, vol. ii., p. 305. 


The first to examine the real site of ancient Babylon with 
a certain care was Pietro della Valle, who sent the first copy 
of a few cuneiform characters from Persepolis to Europe, at 
the same time stating his reasons why they should be read 
from the left to the right. This famous traveller also car- 
ried with him a few inscribed bricks — probably the first that 
ever reached Europe — from Babil, which he visited towards 
the end of 1616, and from Muqayyar (Ur of the Chaldees), 
which he examined in 1625 on his homeward journey. His 
description of Babil, the most northern mound of the ruins 
of Babylon, while not satisfactory in itself, stands far above 
the information of previous travellers. He tells us that this 
large mound, less ruined at those days than at the beginning 
of the twentieth centur\% was a huge rectangular tower or 
pyramid with its corners pointing to the four cardinal points. 
The material of this structure he describes as " the most re- 
markable thing I ever saw." It consists of sundried-bricks, 
something so strange to him that in order to make quite 
sure, he dug at several places into the mass with pickaxes. 
" Here and there, especially at places which served as sup- 
ports, the bricks of the same size were baked." 

Vinccnzo Maria di S. Caterina di Sienna, procurator gen- 
eral of the Carmelite monks, who sailed up the Euphrates 
forty years later, like Pietro della Valle even made an at- 
tempt at vindicating the local tradition by arguing that the 
place is situated on the banks of the Euphrates, that the sur- 
rounding districts are fertile, that for many miles the land is 
covered with the ruins of magnificent buildings, and above 
all, that there still exist the remains of the Tower of Babel, 
"which to this day is called Nimrod*s tower," — referring 
to Birs (Ximrud) on the western side of the l\uphrates. 

More sceptical is the view taken bv the Dominican father 
Emmanuel de St. Albert,' who paid a visit to this remark- 

J In D'Anville's Memoirc sur la Position dc BahslonCy I 761 , puhlibhed as a 
paper of the Memoir es de P Academic des Inscriptions et da Bcllcs-Lettrcs^ 
vol. xxviii., p. 256. 


able spot about 1700. In sharp contrast to the earlier trav- 
ellers, who with but few exceptions were always ready to 
chronicle as facts the fanciful stories related to them by Ori- 
ental companions and interpreters in obliging response to 
their numerous questions, we here find a sober and distrust- 
ful inquirer carefully discriminating between " the foolish 
stories " current among the inhabitants of the country and 
his own personal observations and inferences. Near Hilla, 
on the two opposite banks of the river and at a considerable 
distance from each other, he noticed two artificial elevations, 
the one " situated in Mesopotamia," containing the ruins of 
a large building, " the other in Arabia about an hour's dis- 
tance from the Euphrates," characterized by two masses of 
cemented brick (the one standing, the other lying overturned 
beside it), which " seemed as if they had been vitrified." 
" People think that this latter hill is the remains of the real 
Babylon, but I do not know what they will make of the 
other, which is opposite and exactly like this one." Con- 
vinced, however, that the ruins must be ancient, and much 
impressed by the curious " writing in unknown characters " 
which he found on the large square bricks, Father Emman- 
uel selected a few of the latter from both hills and carried 
them away with him. 

Travellers, whose education was limited, and missionaries, 
who viewed those ruins chiefly from a religious standpoint, 
have had their say. Let us now briefly discuss the views 
of such visitors who took a strictlv scientific interest in the 
ruins of Babylon. In connection with his epoch-making 
journey to Arabia and Persia, Carsten Niebuhr examined the 
mounds around Hilla in 1765. Though furnishing little 
new information as to their real size and condition, in this 
respect not unlike the French geographer and historian Jean 
Otter, who had been at the same mounds in 1743, Niebuhr 
presented certain reasons for his own positive conviction that 
the ruins of Babylon must be located in the neighborhood 


ofHilla/ He regarded the designation of " Ard Babel" 
given to that region by the natives, and the apparent re- 
mains of an ancient city found on both sides of the river, es- 
pecially the numerous inscribed bricks lying on the ground, 
which are evidence of a very high state of civilization, as 
solid proof for the correctness of the local tradition. He even 
pointed out the large ruin heaps, " three quarters of a Ger- 
man mile to the north-northwest of Hilla and close bv the 
eastern bank of the river [Kl-Qasr]," as the probable site 
of Babylon's castle and the hanging gardens mentioned by 
Strabo, while Birs (Nimrud), " an entire hill of fine bricks 
with a tower on the top *' he regarded as Herodotus* " Tem- 
ple of Belus," therefore as lying still within the precinct of 
ancient Babvlon. 

Our last and best informed witness from the close of the 
eighteenth century, who deserves, therefore, our special atten- 
tion, is Abbe De Beauchamp. Well equipped with astro- 
nomical and other useful knowledge, he resided at Baghdad 
as the Pope's vicar-general of Babylonia for some time be- 
tween 1780 and 1790. The ruins of Babylon, in which he 
was deeply interested, being only sixteen to eighteen hours 
distant from Baghdad, he paid two visits to the famous site, 
publishing the results of his various observations in several 
memoirs," from which we extract the following noteworthv 
facts : " There is no difficulty about the position of Baby- 
lon/* Its ruins are situated in the district of Hilla, about 
one league to the north of it (latitude j 2° ;{4'),on the oppo- 
site (left) side of the Kuphrates, ** exactly under the mound 
the Arabs call Babel.** There are no ruins of Babylon 
proper on the western side of the river, as D*Anville in his 

-'t (4 

1 Comp. Rt'isehesihreihung, Copenhagen, 1778, vol. ii., pp. 28"", 
Dds 8*2 bs Ion in der (legend z'on He lie j^elegen hahef daran i^t ^ar ke'ni Yrxci- 


f s m 

' In 'Jr.urnal dei Savants, Mai, 1785, and Dec, 1790. For extracts see 
Rich's '• Collected Memoirs," pp. 301, 5eq. 


geographical work assumes, making the Euphrates divide 
the city. The mounds which are to be seen "on the other 
side of the river, at about a league's distance from its banks, 
are called by the Arabs Bros [meaning Birs]." Among 
the ruins of Babylon, which chiefly consist of bricks scat- 
tered about, " there is in particular an elevation which is flat 
on the top, of an irregular form, and intersected by ravines. 
It would never have been taken for the work of human 
hands, were it not proved by the layers of bricks found in 
it. . . . They are baked with fire and cemented with zepht 
[zift^ or bitumen ; between each layer are found osiers." 
Not very far from this mound, " on the banks of the 
river, are immense heaps of ruins which have served and 
still serve for the building of Hillah. . . . Here are found 
those large and thick bricks imprinted with unknown char- 
acters, specimens of which I have presented to the Abbe 
Bartholomy. This place [evidently El-Qasr] and the 
mound of Babel are commonly called by the Arabs Mak- 
loube [or rather Muqailiba^ popularly pronounced Muje- 
liba\y that is, overturned.*' Further to the north Beau- 
champ was shown a thick brick wall, " which ran perpen- 
dicular to the bed of the river and was probably the wall of 
the city." The Arabs employed to dig for bricks obtained 
their material from this and similar walls, and sometimes 
even from whole chambers, " frequently finding earthen 
vessels and engraved marbles, . . . sometimes idols of clay 
representing human figures, or solid cylinders covered with 
very small writing . . . and about eight years ago a statue 
as large as life, which was thrown amongst the rubbish." 
On the wall of a chamber they had discovered "figures of a 
cow and of the sun and moon formed of varnished bricks." 
Beauchamp himself secured a brick on which was a lion, and 

^ In the Arabic dialect of modern Babylonia the diminutive (^fu*ail) is 
frequently used instead of the regular noun formation. Comp. Oppcrt, 
Expedition en Mesopotamie, vol. i., p. 114. 


Others with a crescent in relief. He even employed two 
laborers for three hours in clearing a large stone which the 
Arabs supposed to be an idol, apparently the large lion of 
the Qasr ^ recently set up again by the German expedition. 

Imperfect as the report of Beauchamp must appear in 
the light of our present knowledge, at the time when it was 
written it conveyed to the public for the first time a tolera- 
bly clear idea of the exact position and enormous size of 
the ruins of Babylon and of the great possibilities connected 
with their future excavation. It was particularly in England 
that people began to realize the importance of these cylin- 
ders and bricks covered with cuneiform writing " resembling 
the inscriptions of Persepolis mentioned by Chardin." The 
East India Company of London became the first public ex- 
ponent of this rapidly growing interest in Great Britain, by 
ordering their Resident at Basra to obtain several specimens 
of these remarkable bricks and to send them carefully packed 
to London. At the beginning of the nineteenth century a 
small case of Babylonian antiquities arrived, the first of a 
long series to follow years later. Insignificant as it was, it 
soon played an important role in helping to determine the 
character of the third system of writing used in the Persian 

There were other travellers at the close of the eighteenth 
century, who, like Kdw. Ives" and the French physician 
G. A. Olivier,^ also visited the ruins of Nineveh and Babv- 
Ion, occasionally even contributing a few details to our 
previous knowledge. But they did not alter the general 
conception derived from the work of their predecessors, 
especially Niebuhr and Beauchamp. The first period of 

^ Also the opinion of Rich, '* Collected Memoirs,** pp. 36, 64, sf/^. 

- Comp. "Journal from Persia to England,** London, 1773, vol. ii., pp. 
321, se'^. (Nineveh), etc. 

• Comp. royage dans P Empire Othoman, /* Egypte et la Perse y 6 vols. , 
Paris, 1801-07, especially vol. ii. 


Assyrian and Babylonian exploration had come to an end. 
Merchants and adventurers, missionaries and scholars had 
equally contributed their share to awakening Western Eu- 
rope from its long lethargy by again vividly directing the 
attention of the learned and religious classes to the two great 
centres of civilization in the ancient East. The ruins of 
Nineveh, on the upper course of the Tigris, had been less 
frequently visited and less accurately described than those 
of Babylon on the lower Euphrates. The reason is very 
evident. The glory of the great Assyrian metropolis van- 
ished more quickly and completely from human sight, and 
its ruins lay further from the great caravan road on which 
the early travellers proceeded to Baghdad, the famous city of 
Harun-ar-Rashid, then a principal centre for the exchange 
of the products of Asia and Europe. But the ascertained 
results of the observations and efforts of many, and in par- 
ticular the better equipped missionaries and scholars of the 
eighteenth century, were the rediscovery and almost definite 
fixing of the actual sites of Nineveh and Babylon, which, 
forgotten by Europe, had seemed to lie under a doom of 
eternal silence, — the Divine response to the curses of the 
oppressed nations and of the Old Testament prophets. 




The close of the eighteenth and the dawn of the nine- 
teenth centuries witnessed a feverish activitv in the work- 
shops of a small but steadily growing number of European 
scholars. The continuous reports by different travellers 
of the imposing ruins of Persepolis, the occasional repro- 
duction of sculptures and inscriptions from the walls and 
pillars of its palaces, the careful sifting and critical editing 


of the whole material by the indefatigable explorer Niebuhr, 
had convinced even the most sceptical men of science that 
there were really still in existence considerable artistic and 
literary remains of a bygone nation, whose powerful influ- 
ence, at times, had been felt even in Kgypt and Greece. 
Strong efforts were made in Denmark, France, and Ger- 
many to obtain a satisfactory knowledge of the ancient sa- 
cred language of the Zend-Avesta, to discover the meaning 
of the younger Pehlevi inscriptions on Sassanian seals and 
other small objects so frequently found in Persia, and to 
attempt even the deciphering of these strange wedge-shaped 
characters on the walls of Persepolis. Names like Anque- 
til-Duperron, Kugene Burnouf, Sylvestre de Sacy, Niebuhr, 
Tychsen, M (inter, and others will always occupy a promi- 
nent position in the esteem of the following generations 
as the pioneers and leaders in a great movement which 
ultimately led to the establishment of the great science 
of cuneiform research, destined as it was to revolutionize 
our whole conception of the countries and nations of 
Western Asia. This new science, though the final result 
of many combined forces, sprang so suddenly into exist- 
ence that when it was actually there, nobodv seemed readv 
to receive it. 

In the year 1802 the genius of a young German scholar, 
Georg Friederich Grotefend, then only twenty-seven years 
old, well versed in classical philology but absolutely ignorant 
of Oriental learning, solved the riddle, practically in a few 
days, that had puzzled much older men and scholars appa- 
rentlv much better qualified than himself Under the magical 
touch of his hand the mystic and complicated characters of 
ancient Persia suddenly gained new life. But when he was 
far enough advanced to announce to the Academy of Sci- 
ences in Gottingen the epoch-making discovery which es- 
tablished his fame and reputation forever, that learned body, 
though comprising men of eminent mental training and 


intelligence, strange to say, declined to publish the Latin 
memoirs of this little known college teacher, who did not 
belong to the University circle proper, nor was even an 
Orientalist by profession. It was not until ninety years 
later (1893) that his original papers were rediscovered and 
published by Prof. Wilhelm Meyer, of Gottingen, in the 
Academy's Transactions — a truly unique case of post 
mortem examination in science. 

Fortunately Grotefend did not need to wait for a critical 
test and proper acknowledgment of his remarkable work 
until he would have reached a patriarchal age at the close 
of the nineteenth century. Heeren, De Sacy, and others 
lent their helping hands to disseminate the extraordinary 
news of the great historical event in the learned world of 
Europe. Afterwards it became gradually known that far 
away from Western civilization, in the mountain ranges of 
Persia, an energetic and talented officer of the British army. 
Lieutenant (later Sir) Henry Rawlinson (born on April 11, 
18 10), had almost independently, though more than thirty 
years later, arrived at the same results as Grotefend by a 
similar process of combination. 

Niebuhr had already pointed out that the inscriptions of 
Persepolis appeared always in three different systems of 
writing found side by side, the first having an alphabet 
of over forty signs, the second being more complicated, 
and the third even more so. Grotefend had gone a step 
farther by insisting that the three systems of writing repre- 
sented three different languages, of which the first was the 
old Persian spoken by the kings who erected those palaces 
and inscribed their walls. The second he called Median, 
the third Babylonian. The name given to the second lan- 
guage, which is agglutinative, has later been repeatedly 
changed into Scythian, Susian, Amardian, Elamitic, An- 
zanian, and Neo-Susian. The designation of the third 
language as Babylonian had been made possible by a com- 


parison of its complicated characters with the Babylonian 
inscriptions of the East India House in London, published, 
soon after their arrival in 1801, by Joseph Hager. This 
designation was at once generally accepted, and has re- 
mained in use ever since. 

For the time being, however, little interest was manifested 
in the last-named and most difficult system of writing, 
which evidently contained only a Babylonian translation of 
the corresponding Persian inscriptions. More material, 
written exclusively in the third style of cuneiform writing, 
was needed from the Babylonian and Assyrian mounds 
themselves, not only to attract the curiosity but to com- 
mand the undivided attention of ^scholars. This having 
been once provided, it would be only a question of time 
when the same key, which, in the hands of Grotefend, had 
wrought such wonders as to unlock the doors to the history 
of ancient Persia, would open the far more glorious and 
remote past of the great civilization between the Euphrates 
and Tigris. But in order to obtain the inscriptions needed, 
other more preparatory work had to be undertaken first. 
The treasure-house itself had to be examined and studied 
more carefully, before a successful attempt could be made 
to lift the treasure concealed in its midst. A survey of 
Babvlon and Nineveh and other prominent ruins in easv 
access, and more authentic and reliable information con- 
cerning the geography and topography of the whole 
country in which they were situated, was an indispensable 
requirement before the work of excavation could properly 

So far England had been conspicuously absent from the 
serious technical work carried on by representatives of other 
nations in the studv and in the field. And vet no other 
European power was so eminently qualified to provide what 
still was lacking as the " Queen of the Sea,** through her 
regular and well-established commercial and political rela- 


tions with India and the Persian gulf. The sound of pop- 
ular interest and enthusiasm, which had been heard in Great 
Britain at the close of the eighteenth century, never died 
away entirely. Englishmen now came forward well quali- 
fied to carry out the first part of this scientific mission of 
the European nations in the country between the Euphrates 
and Tigris, where for many years they worked with great 
energy, skill, and success. 


The first methodical explorer and surveyor of Babylonian 
and Assyrian ruins and rivers was Claudius James Rich. 
Born in 1787 near Dijon, in France, educated in Bristol, 
England, he developed, when a mere child, such a decided 
gift for the study of Oriental languages that at the age of 
sixteen years he was appointed to a cadetship in the East 
India Company's military service. Seriously affected by 
circumstances in the carrying out of his plans, he spent 
more than three years in the difl^erent parts of the Levant, 
perfecting himself in Italian, Turkish, and Arabic. His 
knowledge of the Turkish language and manners was so 
thorough that while in Damascus not only did he enter 
the grand mosque " in the disguise of a Mameluke," but 
his host, " an honest Turk, who was captivated with his 
address, eagerly entreated him to settle at that place, oflFer- 
ing him his interest and his daughter in marriage." From 
Aleppo he proceeded by land to Basra, whence he sailed 
for Bombay, which he reached early in September, 1807. 
A few months later he was married there to the eldest 
daughter of Sir James Mackintosh, to whom we owe the 
publication of most of her husband's travels and researches 
outside of the two memoirs on Babylon published by him- 
self. About the same time he was appointed Resident of 
the East India Company at Baghdad, a position which he 


held until his sudden and most lamented death from cholera 
morbus in Shiraz, October 5, 1821.^ 

The leisure which Rich enjoyed from his public duties 
he spent in pursuing his favorite historical, geographical, 
and archaeological studies, the most valuable fruits of which 
are his accurate surveys and descriptions of the ruins of 
Babylon and Nineveh. In December, 181 1, he made his 
first brief visit to the site of Babylon. It lasted but ten 
davs, but it sufficed to convince him that no correct 
account of the ruins had yet been written. Completely 
deceived " bv the incoherent accounts of former travellers," 
instead of a few " isolated mounds," he found " the whole 
country' covered with the vestiges of building, in some 
places consisting of brick walls surprisingly fresh, in others 
merely a vast succession of mounds of rubbish of such in- 
determinate figures, variety, and extent as to involve the 
person who should have formed any theory in inextricable 
confusion and contradiction." He set to work at once to 
change this condition. 

His two memoirs on the ruins of Babylon (especially the 
first) are a perfect mine of trustworthy information radically 
different from anything published on the subject in previous 
years. He sketches the present character of the whole 
country around Babylon, describes the vestiges of ancient 

^ Rich\s first '* Memoir on the Ruins of Babylon '* was written in 181 2 
in Baghdad, and published ( with many typographical errors and unsatisfactory 
pjatcs ' in the FunJgruben des Orients^ Vienna, I 81 3. To make it accessi- 
ble to English readers. Rich republished this memoir in London (1816), 
where also his second memoir appeared in 1818. Both memoirs were later 
republished with Major RennePs treatise " On the Topography of Ancient 
Babvlon,'* suggested by Rich's first publication, and with Rich's diaries of 
his first excursion to Babylon and his journey to Persepolis, accompanied by a 
useful introduction and appendix, all being united by Mrs. Rich into a col- 
lective volume, London, 1839. His widow also edited his " Narrative of 
a Residence in Koordistan and on the site of Ancient Nineveh," London, 


canals and outlying mounds, and " the prodigious extent '* of 
the centre of all his attention, — the ruins of Babylon itself. 
And to all this he adds his personal observations on the 
modern fashion of building houses, and the present occupa- 
tions and customs of the inhabitants of 'Iraq, interwoven 
with frequent references to the legends of the Arabs and the 
methods of their administration under Turkish rule, cor- 
rectly assuming that " the peculiar climate of this district 
must have caused a similarity of habits and accommodations 
in all ages." But valuable as all these details are, they 
form, so to speak, only the framework for his faithful and 
minute picture of the ruins of Babylon,^ which we now 
reproduce, as far as possible with his own words : — 

" The whole of the area enclosed by the boundary on 
the east and south, and the river on the west, is two miles 
and six hundred yards in breadth from E. to W., and as 
much from Pietro della Valle's ruin [/. e.y Babil in the north], 
to the northern part" of the southern city wall, "or two miles 
and one thousand yards to the most southerly mound of all. 
This space is again longitudinally subdivided into nearly 
half, by a straight line of the same kind with the boundary, 
but much its inferior in point of size. . . . These ruins 
consist of mounds of earth, formed by the decomposition of 
buildings, channelled and furrowed by the weather, and the 
surface of them strewed with pieces of brick, bitumen, and 

The most northern mound is Babil, called by the natives 
Mujeliba? " Full five miles distant from Hilla, and nine 
hundred and fifty yards from the river bank, it is of an 
oblong shape, irregular in its height and the measurement 
of its sides, which point to the cardinal points. The ele- 
vation of the southeast or highest angle, is one hundred and 

^ Comp. Map, No. 2 (Plan of Babylon). 

- Like Bcauchamp, Rich states correctly that this term is sometimes also 
applied to the second mound, El-Qasr. 


forty-one feet.' The western face, which is the least ele- 
vated, is the most interesting on account of the appearance 
of building it presents." Rich regarded this conspicuous 
mound as part of the royal precincts, possibly the hanging 

" A mile to the south of Babil is a large conglomeration 
of mounds, the shape of which is nearly a square of seven 
hundred yards" in length and breadth." It was designated 

D-yist, tjsl Kicr 

bv Rich Kl-^asr )" the palace") from a very remarkable ruin, 
"which being uncovered, and in part detached from the rub- 
bish, is visible from a considerable distance. , , . It consists 
ot several walls and piers, eight feet in thickness, in some 
places ornamented with niches, and in others strengthened 

' The height as measured bv Rich differs considerablv from that given by 
the later sur\'eyors. This diffcrerce, while doubtless to a large extern the 
result of Rich's inaccurate estimation, must also be explained by the fad that 
in course of time the Arab brick-diggers have reduced ihe height iif Babil. 

- Most of the numbers given by Rich have been later on more or ie>s 
modified by the different surveyors, « ho had more lime and iverc belter 
equipped with 


by pilasters and buttresses, built of fine burnt brick (still 
perfectly clean and sharp), laid in lime-cement of such te- 
nacity, that those whose business it is to find bricks have 
given up working on account of the extreme difficulty of 
extracting them whole." Here stood, as we now know, the 
palace of Nebuchadrezzar, in which Alexander the Great 
died after his famous campaign against India. 

Separated from the previous mound by a valley of five 
hundred and fifty yards in length, " covered with tussocks 
of rank grass, there rises to the south another grand mass 
of ruins, the most elevated part of which is only fifty or 
sixty feet above the plain. From the small dome in the 
centre dedicated to the memory of a spurious son of *Ali, 
named ^Omran (^Amran), it is called by the Arabs, Tell 
*Omran ibn ^Ali. It has been likewise considerably dug 
into by peasants in search of bricks and antiquities. 

The most southern point is connected with the large em- 
bankment here traceable and with a flourishing village, near 
which the luxurious date groves of Hilla commence. Both 
are called Qumquma (Sachau), now generally pronounced 
Jumjuma (regarded by Rich as original, meaning "skull") 
or Jimjime. Here terminate the ruins of ancient Babylon. 

It was to be expected that Rich, in connection with his 
topographical work on the ruins of Babylon, would also 
examine " the most interesting and remarkable of all the 
Babylonian remains," viz.^ Birs (Nimrud), of which he like- 
wise left us an accurate description, in several details soon 
afterwards supplemented by that of Buckingham. Like 
his successor he recognized the general character of the 
ruins as a stage tower, doubtless influenced by his endeavor 
to identify it with the Tower of Belus, and by the deep and 
lasting impression which this gigantic ruin, still one hundred 
and fifty-three feet high,^ made upon him at his first visit. I 

^ According to Felix Jones's sun^ey of 1855, this is the exact vertical dis- 
tance of Birs (Nimrud) from the water level of the plain to the highest poinl of 


quote his own language : " The morning was at first stormy, 
and threatened a severe fall of rain, but as we approached 
the object of our journey, the heavy clouds separating, dis- 
covered the Birs frowning over the plain, and presenting 
the appearance of a circular hill, crowned by a tower, with 
a high ridge extending along the foot of it. Its being 
entirely concealed from our view, during the first part of 
our ride, prevented our acquiring the gradual idea, in gen- 
eral so prejudicial to effect, and so particularly lamented by 
those who visit the Pyramids. Just as we were within the 
proper distance, it burst at once upon our sight, in the 
midst of rolling masses of thick black clouds partially ob- 
scured by that kind of haze whose indistinctness is one 
great cause of sublimity, whilst a few strong catches of 
stormy light, thrown upon the desert in the background, 
served to give some idea of the immense extent and dreary 
solitude of the wastes in which this venerable ruin stands." ^ 

The impression which the ruin left upon the mind of an 
otherwise sober observer and unbiassed man of facts was so 
profound that it deflected his judgment and blinded his 
eyes as to the great incongruity between his favorite theory 
and all the topographical evidence so minutely and accu- 
rately set forth by himself, — another illustration of the 
truth how detrimental to scientific investigation any precon- 
ceived opinion or impression must be. 

In addition to all his valuable topographical studies Rich 
directed his attention to other no less important subjects of 
an archaeological character. We refer to his remarks on the 
hieratic and demotic styles of cuneiform writing (" Memoirs/* 
pp. 184, seqq.)\ his observation that inscribed bricks, when 
found in siiUy are " invariably placed with their faces or 
written sides downwards'* (pp. 162, seqq.)^ a fact which he 

the ruin at the summit of the mound, as over against the 235 feet strangely 
given by Rich. 

* Comp. Rich's ** Collected Memoirs," edited by his widow, p. 74. 



at once employed skilfully against his opponent, Rennell, to 
vindicate the Babylonian origin of the " surprisingly fresh " 
looking ruin of the Qasr; furthermore, his discussion of 
the different kinds of cement (bitumen, mortar, clay, etc.) 
used in ancient and modern Babylonia (pp. lOO, j^yy.), later 
supplemented by Colonel Chesney ; ^ and his endeavor " to 
ascertain in what particular part of the ruin each antique is 
found " (pp. 187, seqq.)y — the fundamental principle of all 
scientific excavations, against which later excavators have 
sinned onlv too often. 

He spared neither personal exertion nor expenses to ac- 
quire every fragment of sculpture and inscribed stone of 
which he had got information. To his efforts we owe the 
barrel cylinder, with Nebuchadrezzar's account of his work 
on the famous canal, Libil-khegaL It was Rich who col- 
lected the first contract tablets and account lists discovered 
in the lower parts of the Qasr (/. r., p. 187), and it is Rich 
again who obtained the first fragment of a clay tablet from 
Ashurbanapal's library at Nineveh.'- 

But in mentioning the latter, we have approached another 
field of the indefatigable explorer's labors and researches, 
which we now propose to sketch briefly. 

In 1820 and 1 821, on his return from a trip to Persia and 
Kurdistan, Rich made an exploring tour to some of the 
most prominent ruins of ancient Assyria, Erbil (ancient Ar- 
bela), Qoyunjuk, Nebi Yunus (Nineveh), and Nimrud. The 
modern town of Erbil is situated partly on the top and 
partly at the foot of an artificial mound "about 150 feet 
high and 1000 feet in diameter." A Turkish castle, which 
up to the present day has been the chief obstacle to syste- 
matic excavations, crowns its flat top. Rich spent two and 

* In "The Euphrates and Tigris Expedition," vol. ii., pp. 625, J^^^. 

2 Whoever has had one of these finest specimens of cuneiform tablets in 
his hands will readily recognise the character and origin of Rich's fragment 
from his short description (/. r., p. 188). 


a half days at the place taking measurements, and trying 
hard to obtain satisfactory information as to the contents of 
these ruins and their early history.. But he could learn 
very little beyond the fact that some time before his arrival 
a man by the name of Hajji ^Abdullah Bey had dug up a 
sepulchre, in which was a body laid in state, that fell to 
dust after it had been exposed to the air, and that large 
bricks without inscriptions had been taken by another man 
from a structure below the cellar of his house standing in- 
side the castle. 

He was more fortunate at the ruins of Nimrud, which 
he visited in March, 1821. Though he could devote but 
a few hours to their examination, he was able to sketch and 
measure the chief mounds, to furnish a brief description of 
their actual condition, and to determine their generaj char- 
acter from scattered fragments of burnt bricks with cunei- 
form inscriptions. In the large village of Nimrud, about 
a quarter of a mile from the west face of the platform, he 
even procured a whole brick covered with cuneiform writ- 
ing on its face and edge, and containing the name and title 
of King Shalmaneser II., as we now know, since the deci- 
phering of the Assyrian script has long been an accom- 
plished fact. 

Of still greater importance and of fundamental value for 
the archaeological work of his successors was his residence of 
four months in Mosul. It fell between his visits to Krbil and 
Nimrud, and was onlv interrupted bv an absence of twelve 
davs, during which he paid a visit to the Yezidi villages and 
the Christian monasteries of Mar Matti and Rabban Hor- 
muzd, to the northeast and north of Mosul, surveying the 
countrv, gathering Syriac manuscripts, and studying the man- 
ners and customs of the people. The great facilities and free- 
dom of movement which he enjoyed in consequence of his 
official position and the pleasant relations established with 
the Turkish authorities at three previous visits to this 


neighborhood were now utilized by Rich to satisfy his 
curiosity and scientific interest in the large mounds on the 
eastern side of the Tigris, opposite Mosul. 

Tradition identified them with ancient Nineveh, as stated 
above (pp. 7-12). Yet doubts as to the correctness and 
continuity of the local tradition, as already expressed by 
Jean Otter, were justified, as long as the latter had not been 
corroborated by convincing facts. They were first adduced 
by Rich, who, by a careful topographical survey of the ruins 
here grouped together and by a close examination of all 
the large hewn stones, inscribed slabs, burnt bricks, and 
other smaller antiquities accidentally found by the natives, 
demonstrated beyond doubt that all these vestiges were of 
the same general age and character ; that they belonged to 
a powerful nation, which, like the Babylonians, employed 
cuneiform script for its writing ; and that the original area 
of the ancient city, represented by the two large mounds, 
Qoyunjuk and Nebi Yunus, and enclosed by three walls on 
the east and by one wall each on the three other sides, was 
" about one and a half to two miles broad and four miles 
long" — strong reasons, indeed, in support of the local tradi- 
tion and the general belief expressed by so many travellers. 

Twenty-eight years later his famous countryman, Layard, 
was enabled to excavate this site methodically and to make 
those startling discoveries which restored the lost civiliza- 
tion of the Assyrian empire to the astonished world. But 
it will always remain the great merit of Rich to have placed 
the floating local tradition upon a scientific basis, to have 
determined the real significance of the large Assyrian 
mounds in general, and to have prepared the way for their 
thorough exploration by his important maps and accurate 

In returning from Mosul to Baghdad Rich used the 
kelek^ as on two previous occasions, in order to obtain more 

^ A native raft composed of goat- skins inflated with air, and by reeds or 


exact bearings of the frequent windings of the river, to fix 
the situations of ruins and other places on its embankments, 
and to correct and supplement his former measurements. 
On the basis of the rich material thus brought together 
personally, he drew the first useful map of the course of the 
Tigris from Mosul to a point about eighteen miles to the 
north of Baghdad, a map in every way far superior to that 
of Carsten Niebuhr, which rests entirely upon information, 
and that of Beauchamp, which in all essential features must 
be r^arded as a 
mere copy of the 

Previously he 
had surveyed a 
considerable por- 
tion of the F,u- 
phrates, T72,,from 
Hit to about the 
thirty- - third de- 
gree north lati- 
tude. All his 
material was later 
incorporated into 

the results obtained by the British Kuphrates expedition, and 
in I 849 edited by Colonel Chesnev, its commander, as sheets 
VI. and \ II. of his magnificent series of maps of the F.u- 
phrates and Tigris vallevs. 

.After the untimeiv death of Rich in the fall of 1821, his 
Oriental antiquities, coins, and an extraordinary collection of 
eight hundred manuscripts ' were purchased bv the Knglish 

iiipci ti^iened dose together 10 a frame of rough logs. On rinc pan of ihis 
very ancient means of navigation a kind of hut covered wjih matting is 
generally raised as a necessary shelter against rain and sun. 

' According to Forshall, 1 of these ire in Circck, 59 in Syrian-, H in 
Carjhunic. 389 in Arabic, 131 in Pmiji.. toB in Turkish, i in Armenian, 


Parliament for the use of the British Museum. The frag- 
ments of clay and stone which he had gathered so scrupu- 
lously from Babylonian and Assyrian ruins filled a compara- 
tively small space, and for the greater part at present have 
little but historical value. But these small beginnings con- 
tained in them the powerful germ which in due time pro- 
duced the rich treasures now filling the halls of the London 

After the fundamental work of Rich little was left for the 
average European traveller to report on the ruins of Baby- 
lon and Nineveh, unless he possessed an extraordinary gift 
of observation and discrimination, combined with experience 
and technical training, arch^ological taste, and a fair acquaint- 
ance with the works of the classical writers and the native 
historians and geographers. Among the men to whom in 
some wav or other we are indebted for new information con- 
cerning the geography and topography of ancient Assyria 
and Babylonia at the very time when Rich himself was car- 
rving on his investigations, the two following deserve our 
special attention. 


It was in the year i8 i6, when, on his way to India, after 
a long and adventurous journey from Kgypt through Pales- 
tine, Syria, and the adjacent districts east of the Jordan, 
Buckingham had arrived at Aleppo. Soon afterwards he 
joined the caravan of a rich Moslem merchant, with whom 
by way of Urfa and Mardin he travelled to Mosul," adopt- 
ing the dress, manners, and language of the country " for the 
sake of greater safety and convenience. A few days before 
the caravan reached the I'igris, it was overtaken by two 
Turkish Tartars in charge of papers from the British ambas- 

and I in Hebrew. A list of the Syriac MSS., accompanied by a brief descrip- 
tion, is given by Forshall on pp. 306-311 of vol. ii. of Rich's ** Narrarivc 
of a Residence in Koordistan." 


sador in Constantinople to Mr. Rich, then English Resident 
at Baghdad. Buckingham decided at once to profit by the 
opportunity, so unexpectedly offered, of travelling in com- 
parative safety through a country in which he had met with 
so much lawlessness and interference. Sacrificing, therefore, 
his personal comfort to speed and safety, he completed his 
journey in the company of the two Tartars. In conse- 
quence of the new arrangement, however, he could spend 
only two days at Mosul, and devote but a few morning 
hours immediately before his departure to a hasty inspection 
of the ruins of Nineveh, which for this reason contributed 
nothing to a better understanding of the site of this ancient 
city. In the oppressive heat of a Mesopotamian summer, 
and deserted on the road by one of his Tartars, he finally 
arrived at Baghdad, where, in the congenial atmosphere of 
Rich's hospitable house, he found the necessary encourage- 
ment and assistance in executing his plan of paying a visit 
to some of the principal mounds of ancient Babylonia. 

Accompanied by Mr. Bellino, the well-informed secretary 
to the Residency, he at first examined the ruins of *Aqarquf> 
of whicK he has left us a more critical, correct, and compre- 
hensive account than any of the preceding travellers, even 
Niebuhr and (31ivier not excluded. From the numerous 
fragments of brick and pottery and other vestiges of former 
buildings scattered around the shapeless mass of the de- 
tached ruin he recognized with Olivier that near this so- 
called " Tower of Nimrod'* * there must have stood a city 
to which a large canal (the *Isa), uniting the two great rivers, 

* One of the designations commonly given to this ruin by the Arabs fcomp. 
above, p. i6, note 2, and Rich*s ** Memoirs,*' p. 80). 'Aqarquf has no 
sansfactorv etvmoloev in Arabic. Possiblv it is onlv the badlv mutilated old 
Babvlonian name of the city. Comp. Buckingham, " Trav.,'* vol. ii., p. 226, 
footnote, and Ker Porter, "Travels,'* vol. ii. , pp. 276, 279. A learned 
.Arab of Baghdad, whom Buckingham consulted ( /. r., p. 239 j, did not hesi- 
tate to explain it as •* the place of him who rebelled against God.'* Two 
other etymologies arc quoted by Yaqut in his geographical dictionary. 


conveyed the necessary supply of water. To judge from 
the materials and the style of the principal building the 
whole settlement is of Babylonian origin. Accordingly, the 
theory of Niebuhr, who believed the lofty ruin to be an 
artificial elevation on which one of the early caliphs of Bagh- 
dad, or even one of the Persian kings of El-Mada'in, 
had erected a country house, to enjoy from such a height 
a breeze of cool and fresh air during the sultry summer 
months in the Babylonian plain, is improbable. It was 
rather Buckingham's firm conviction that the building re- 
presents the " remains of some isolated monument either of 
a sepulchral or religious nature." From the fact that the 
" present shapeless form having so large a base, and being 
proportionately so small at the top, seemed nearer to that 
of a much worn pyramid than any other,'* ^ and from his 
observation that a much larger mass of the fallen fragments 
of the top would be visible around the base if it had been 
a square tower, he inferred correctly that the often described 
ruin was originally a step pyramid similar to that found at 
Saqqara in Kgypt.'"* Though the interior of the solid ruin 
of ^Aqarquf is composed of unbaked bricks, " its exterior sur- 
face seems to have been coated with furnace-burnt ones, 
many of which, both whole and broken, are scattered about 
the foot of the pile." The real character of Babylonian 
stage-towers at that time having not yet been disclosed 
by the excavations, it was only natural that Buckingham, 
well acquainted with the pyramids of Kgypt as he was, and 
once having recognized the original form of the struc- 
ture at ^Aqarquf as a step-pyramid or stage-tower, should 
have regarded the latter as an ancient royal tomb rather 
than as the most conspicuous part of a Babylonian temple. 
According to inscribed bricks later discovered all around 

* Comp. the four different views given by Kcr Porter on p. 227 of his 
richly illustrated work quoted below, and the illustration facing p. 1 5 above. 

* See the illustration given below under Egypt. 



in by Sir Henry Rawlinson, the city whose 
represented by 'Aqarquf was called Dur- 

Two davs later Buckingham and Beliino — the former in 
the disguise of a Bedouin acting as the guide of the latter — 
were on their way to the ruins of Babylon. As soon as the 
Mujeliba came into view, they turned away from the regu- 
lar caravan road to Hilla, subjecting the whole complex of 
mounds along the eastern bank of the Euphrates to a care- 

ful examination. In every detail Buckingham was able tocor- 
rohorate the description and measurements of Rich, also shar- 
ing his view that this most northern pile of*ruins could never 
have represented the tower of Belus, as had been so vigor- 
ously maintained bv Major Rennell, He pointed out that 
the appearance of walls and portions of buildings on its sum- 
mit apparently constructed at different periods, the small 
quantity of rubbish accumulated around its base, and the 

a brief' sketch of the histo 
■, DU Erdhuade, vol. jii. 

. 8+7-852. 

IS of" '.Aqarqiil', 


remains of brickwork and masonry visible near the surface 
on the northern and western sides at the foot of the heap, 
proved beyond doubt that this mound " was never built on 
to a much greater height than that at which its highest part 
now stands," and for this very reason could not in any re- 
spect correspond to the famous tower for which it had been 
frequently taken. These features just mentioned, "added to 
the circumstance of its being evidently surrounded by ditches, 
and perhaps walls, with its situation within a quarter of a 
mile of the river, are strong arguments in favour of its being 
the castellated palace described" by Diodorus Siculus. 

After a satisfactory inspection of all the details connected 
with the second mound, called El-Qasr, Buckingham came 
to the conclusion arrived at by Rich that this ruin repre- 
sented the remains of an (other) "extensive palace;" but 
differing somewhat from the view of his predecessor, he was 
inclined to identify the hanging gardens with a part of the 
ruins of El-Qasr, or possibly even *Omran ibn *Ali. The 
neighborhood of the river, a peculiar brick here discov- 
ered by Rich,^ and the famous single tree called Athla^ 
standing close to the broken walls and piers of El-Qasr, 
seemed to him favorable to his theory of locating the hang- 
ing gardens not very far from the latter. 

Not satisfied with a mere examination of the principal 
mounds of Babylon, the two companions set out towards 
the east to search for the original walls of the great metro- 
polis. In order to fully understand their efforts and to judge 
Buckingham's final and serious mistake in the proper light 

^ Engraved with a certain religious symbol, a kind of upright pole with 
pointed top, often found in bas-reliefs and seal-cylinders, but by Buckingham 
and others mistaken for a spade. Comp. Rich's ** Memoirs," p. 60, note*, 
and Ker Porter, ** Travels,*' vol. ii., pi. 77, c. 

^ If not a distinct species, at least a beautiful variety of Tamarix Orientalis 
(^tarfa) according to the Arabic Materia Medic a of Ibn Kibti, the Bagh- 
dad! (A. H. 711). Comp. Mignan, ** Travels," p. 258 ; Sonini, "Trav- 
els in Egypt,** pp. 247, seq. ; Forskal, Fhra j^gsptiaco- Arabica^ p. 206. 


of his period, we must remember that the two most able 
geographers — • D'Anville and Major Rennell — who had 
previously ventured to express an opinion on the original 
size of Babylon, as described by the classical writers, had dif- 
fered so radically in their conclusions that new material was 
required to establish the entire correctness of Herodotus's 
measures, in which Rennell and Buckingham firmly believed. 
In favor, therefore, of giving to Babylon the full extent as- 
signed to it by its earliest historian, Buckingham found no 
difficulty in reclaiming the great network of ancient canals 
to the east of Babylon, flanked by very high embankments 
and often filled with mud and sand far above the level of the 
surrounding plain, as " the remains of buildings originally 
disposed in streets, and crossing each other at right angles, 
with immense spaces of open and level ground on each side 
of them." 

For more than two hours, in pursuit of their phantom, 
the two travellers had been riding over the parched and 
burning plain covered with burnt brick and pottery and an 
occasional detached heap of rubbish. The heat of the at- 
mosphere had meanwhile become so intense and the air so 
suflfocating and almost insufferable that Bellino, completely 
exhausted with thirst and fatigue, declined to proceed any 
farther. Buckingham left his companion in the shade of a 
Mohammedan tomb, himself pushing ahead, determined to 
reach a pyramidal mound called Kl-Ohemir,* and previously 
visited only by Dr. Hine and Captain Lockett, of the Brit- 
ish Residency at Baghdad, which he regarded as of the most 

* DifFcrcntlv rendered bv the travellers as j4/ Hheimar ( Rich, Buck- 
ingham), Al-Hymer ( Ker Porter), El-Hamir (Mignan), {El-)Ohemir 
( Frazcr), Vhaimir (lit. transl.), in accordance with a more or less successful 
endeavor to reproduce the present Arabic pronunciation of the word. The 
name, derived from Arabic ahmary <* red," designates the hill as ** the reddish 
one ** (diminutive) from its most characteristic feature, the deep red brickwork 
crowning its summit. A similar name is El-Homaira (dimin. of the fem. 
hamra)y one of the smaller mounds of Babylon, east of El-Qasr. 


importance for the final solution of his problem. Half an 
hour after quitting Belli no he reached the foot of the steep 
mound of which he had been so eagerly in search. But he 
could remain only a few minutes. Clouds of dust and sand 
filling his eyes, mouth, ears, and nostrils, and rendering it 
difficult and painful to look around, drove him soon from 
the summit, which he judged to be seventy to eighty feet 
high. Yet this brief examination of the conical red mound 
and its surroundings had sufficed to enable him to furnish a 
general description of the size and character of the ruins and 
to state his conviction that this elevated pile, though nearly 
eight miles distant from the Euphrates, was the extreme east- 
ern boundary of ancient Babylon, and itself a portion of its 
celebrated wall. In support of his extraordinary theory, 
which rested entirely upon the partly misunderstood state- 
ments of Herodotus, he endeavored to show that the pecul- 
iar white layers of ashes, occurring at certain intervals in the 
principal ruin of baked bricks, corresponded precisely to " the 
composition of heated bitumen mixed with the tops [rather 
stems !] of reeds," so particularly mentioned by the Greek 
historian as the characteristic cement used in the construc- 
tion of the ditch and walls of Babylon. 

After their late arrival at Hilla, the two travellers pre- 
sented a letter of introduction received from Rich to a pow- 
erful Arab residing in the same town. Through his assist- 
ance they were enabled to pay a visit to the lofty ruins on 
the western side of the Euphrates, which had been " identi- 
fied " bv Niebuhr and Rich with the " Tower of Belus," 
so often described by the classical writers. With regard to 
the name of this ruin Buckingham states correctly ^ that, 

1 As I personally have been able to verify repeatedly in that neighborhood 
in recent years. Comp., also. Abbe De Beauchamp, above, p. 20. The 
same name, El-Birs, is the only one given by Mas'udi in the chapter where 
he describes the course of the Euphrates. Similarly the Qamus gives Birs as 
the name of a town or district between Hilla and Kufa still known. 


though generally referred to as Birs Nimrud by the differ- 
ent travellers, it should properly be called only El-Birs. 
" Whenever Nimrud is added, it is merely because the in- 
habitants of this country are as fond of attributing every- 
thing to this * mighty hunter before the Lord,' as the in- 
habitants of Egypt are to Pharaoh, or those of Syria to Sol- 
omon." Both Rich and Buckingham assumed with good 
reason that the word Birs has no satisfactory etymology in 
Arabic, — the latter, for very apparent reasons, proposing 
to regard it as a corruption of " Belus, its original name," 
which of course is out of the question. Since the extensive 
ruins of El-Birs have been identified with the remains of the 
Babylonian city of Borsippa, we can safely assert that Birs or 
Burs — as it is pronounced occasionally — is nothing but a 
local corruption of Borsippa,^ just as the first half of the 
modern Egyptian village of Saft el-Henne has preserved 
the name of the ancient Egyptian god Sopt, whose sanctuary, 
Per-Sopt, was situated there. 

On the basis of a careful study of the memoirs of Rich 
and Rennell, and after a close personal inspection of the 
ruins, Buckingham at once recognized the original building 
represented by the mound, on which the vitrified wall occu- 
pies such a conspicuous place, as a stage-tower. He went 
even farther than Rich by pointing out that four stages, 
" receding one within another, are to be distinctly traced, on 
the north and east sides, projecting through the general 
rubbish of its face." Determined as he was to prove the 
accuracy of Herodotus* account of the enormous area of 
Babylon, and not less influenced than Rich bv the magni- 
tude of the lofty ruin, which, according to his idea, could not 
possibly have been excluded bv the walls from the territory 
of the ancient city, he did not hesitate for a moment to 
take the ruin of El-Birs for its western extreme, as he had 

* Already recognized as such by Captain Mignan, ** Travels in Chalda^a,'* 
London, 1829, pp. 258, /^f. 


taken the ruin at El-Ohemir for its eastern. At the same 
time he accepted and strengthened the theory of Rich, who 
had identified El-Birs with the famous Tower of Babel, 
however contrary to the very explicit statement of Arrian : 
" The Temple of Belus is situated in the heart of Babylon." 


One of the greatest mines of information concerning the 
life and manners of the people of Western Asia at the be- 
ginning of the last century, and also with regard to the 
monuments, inscriptions, and other antiquities then known 
to exist in Persia and Babylonia, is the magnificent work of 
Sir Robert Ker Porter, " Travels in Georgia, Persia, Arme- 
nia, Ancient Babylonia, etc., etc., during the years 1817- 
20," ^ equally remarkable for the " truth in what the author 
relates," and the " fidelity in what he copies " and illustrates 
by his numerous drawings, portraits, and sketches. From 
childhood loving and practising the arts, he had become a 
famous painter of international reputation, whose eminent 
talents, striking personality, and final marriage with a Rus- 
sian princess had secured for him a social standing which 
enabled him, by his pen and brush, to reach circles hitherto 
but little influenced by the books of ordinary travellers and 
the scientific and often dry investigations of men of the 
type of Otter, Niebuhr, Beauchamp, and Rich. In his pop- 
ularization of a subject which so far had stirred the minds 
of only a limited class of people, and in appealing, by his 
religious sentiment, the manner of his style, and the accurate 
representation of what he had observed, not less to the men 
of science and religion than to the aristocratic circles of 
Europe, on whose interest and financial support the resur- 
rection of Assyria and Babylonia chiefly depended, lies the 
significance of Ker Porter as a Babylonian explorer. 

^ Two volumes, London, 1821, 1822. 


After extensive travels through Georgia and Persia, in 
the course of which the great monuments of Naqs-i-Rustam 
and Persepolis had received his special attention, Porter 
arrived at Baghdad in October, 1818. About two -years 
previously Buckingham had visited the same region, though 
by reason of peculiar circumstances ^ the latter's work could 
not be published until eleven years later. Compared with 
the clear statements and sober facts presented by his pre- 
decessors, Porter's book is sometimes deficient in definite 
information, — pious meditations and personal speculations 
occasionally becoming the undesirable substitutes for an 
intelligent description, judicial discrimination, and logical 
reasoning. Yet, with all these defects, due less to his lack 
of good will and personal devotion than to his unfamiliarity 
with the Oriental languages and the absence of a proper 
technical training. Porter will always hold his distinct place 
in the history of Babylonian exploration. 

During the six weeks which he spent under the inspiring 
influence of Rich at the British Residency in Baghdad, he 
examined the four Babylonian ruins at that time standing 
in the centre of public interest : *Aqarquf, El-Birs, Babil, 
and Kl-Ohemir. As in the case of Buckingham, Bellino 
became his regular companion on his excursions to the 
ruins just mentioned. What his description of ^Aqarquf 
lacks in new elements and successful combination is made 
good bv the four excellent drawings which he has left us 
of the four different sides of that conspicuous landmark at 
the northern boundary of ancient Babylonia. Of interest 
also is his remark as to the original purpose of the ruin in 
question, as coming nearer to the truth than that of any 
previous traveller : " I should suppose the mass we now 

' Arising from the scandalous and malicious accusations of Buckingham's 
r'ormer travelling companion, W. J. Bankes, who in the most contemptible 
manner prevented the publication of his book, at the same time endeavoring 
to ruin the literary character of the author, as he had ruined him socially and 
tinanciallv in India. 


see to be no more than the base of some loftier superstruc- 
ture, probably designed for the double use of a temple and 
an observatory ; a style of sacred edifice common with the 
Chaldeans, and likely to form the principal object in every 
city and town devoted to the idolatry of Belus and the 
worship of the stars." 

Protected by more than a hundred well-armed horsemen 
of the Turkish army against any possible molestation from 
the marauding Bedouins, who were at open war with the 
governor of Baghdad, Porter had the rare opportunity of 
inspecting the huge mass of buildings known as El-Birs or 
Birs Nimrud, with a feeling of absolute security and com- 
fort. Rich and Buckingham having described the more 
essential features of this grandest of all Babylonian ruins 
before, our traveller had nothing to add, but the more to 
speculate on the probable age and cause of the destruction of 
this " Tower of Belus," of which again he left us four fairly 
good drawings, though in certain prominent details decidedly 
inferior to the pen-and-ink sketch published by Rich. It 
was Porter's firm conviction that the extraordinary ruin as 
it now stands, " and doubtless representing the Tower of 
Babel," is the work of three different periods and builders. 
As over against the fundamental investigations of his two 
contemporaries, who by their accurate description and sober 
judgment of Babylonian ruins so favorably contrasted with 
the uncritical method of the early travellers, we find in Por- 
ter's account of Birs (Nimrud) a certain inclination to fall 
back into the outlived fashion of previous centuries. Ac- 
cording to his view, the original tower built by Nimrod and 
" partially overturned by the Divine wrath," is still to be 
recognized in the four lowest stages of the present remains. 
*• In this ruinous and abandoned state most likely the 
tower remained till Babylon was refounded by Semiramis, 
who, covering the shattered summit of the great pile with 
some new erection, would there place her observatory and 


altar to Bel." Nebuchadrezzar, finding " the stupendous 
monument of Babel " in the manner in which it was left by 
the " Assyrian queen," and " constituting it the chief em- 
bellishment of his imperial city," restored the temple " on 
its old solid foundations." But as " it can hardly be doubted 
that Xerxes, in his destruction of the temple, overturned the 
whole of what had been added by the Babylonian monarchs, 
it does not seem improbable that what we now see on the 
fire-blasted summit of the pile, its rent wall, and scattered 
fragments, with their partially vitrified masses, may be a 
part of that very stage of the primeval tower which felt the 
effects of the Divine vengeance." Not many years after- 
wards poor Porter's fantastic speculations were reduced to 
what they were really worth by the discovery that most of 
the vitrified bricks bear the common inscription of Nebu- 

Ten days later, when Ker Porter paid a second visit to 
the Birs, he had the unique spectacle of seeing " three ma- 
jestic lions taking the air upon the heights of the pyramid " 
— a veritable illustration of Isaiah's prophetic word : " Wild 
beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be 
full of doleful creatures" (ij : 21). But this time his stay 
did not last very long. While leisurely surveying the bound- 
less desert from the sublime eminence on which he stood, 
a dark mass came up like a cloud from the horizon. It 
was soon discovered that a body of Bedouins was rapidly 
moving towards their place of observation, which they now 
hastily left, chased by the Arab pursuers to the very walls 
of H ilia. 

Quite different from what he has to relate of Birs (Nim- 
rud) is Porter's account of the ruins of Babylon. His eve 
seems sharpened to discover the slightest peculiarity ; with a 
judicious discrimination he sets forth all the characteristic 
features of the bewildering mass; his expression is clear, his 
language precise, and yet betraying all the enthusiasm with 


which he approaches his subject. In this regard and in his 
earnest endeavor to define the enormous extent of these 
ruins on both banks of the river with accuracy, his graphic 
description may well be placed alongside those of Rich 
and Buckingham, which in several details our author even 
supplements. Like his predecessors he adduces ample 
proof that the Mujeliba can never be taken for the remains 
of the " Tower of Babel." The absence of any trace of a 
sacred enclosure on its southern side, and of any consider- 
able rubbish to represent the remains of the temple and 
residences of the priests around its base, the comparatively 
low elevation of the whole platform, the ruins of extensive 
buildings on its summit, the discovery of certain subterra- 
nean passages and objects in its interior, its very command- 
ing position and strategic importance for the defence of 
the city, — in fact the whole situation and peculiar style of 
this gigantic mass of brick-formed earth " mark it out to 
have been the citadel of the fortified new palace of the 
ancient authors.'* 

He traced Nebuchadrezzar's ancient embankments to 
a considerable length along the steep eastern shore ; he 
noticed the peculiarities of the edge-inscribed bricks on 
the lofty conical mound of El-Homaira ; he dwelt upon the 
remarkable changes which had recently taken place in 
the appearance of the Qasr " from the everlasting digging 
in its apparently inexhaustible quarries," and he expressed 
his strong belief that this latter mound with its adjoining 
ridges contained nothing else than the " more modern and 
greater palace " and the hanging gardens. 

With Rich and Buckingham, Porter believed Babylon to 
have extended considerably on the western side of the 
Euphrates, as far as Birs (Nimrud). In the expectation 
of finding traces of the " lesser palace," he spent a whole 
day in examining the ground to the north and west of 
Hilla, finally inclined to regard a group of mounds half-way 


between El-Qasr and the Birs as the possible remains of 
Alexander the Great's temporary abode, from which in the 
course of his illness he was removed to the palace on the 
other side, only to die. 

In order to ascertain, if possible, the exact boundary line 
of the metropolis on the eastern side of the river, he visited 
El-Ohemir and a number of mounds in its neighborhood. 
Accompanied by Bellino and his usual strong escort, and 
provided with all the necessities of life, he set out on a fine 
November morning and examined the whole district at his 
leisure, so that he could leave us a much more satisfactory 
description than that of Buckingham, who had been at the 
same ruins but a few minutes under the most trying circum- 
stances. To Ker Porter we are likewise indebted for the 
first inscribed brick ^ taken from the pyramidal mound of 
Kl-Ohemir, from which we learn that the god Zamama had 
his temple here restored by a Babylonian king, probably 
Adad-ap[al-]idinnam of the Pashe dynasty, who lived 
about 1065 ^' ^' ^^^ principal ruin, covered with a mass 
of red brickwork, and exhibiting " four straight faces, but 
unequal and mutilated, looking towards the cardinal points," 
apparently represents the original stage-tower or ziggurrat 
of this temple. From a marble fragment picked up by 
Bellino, it becomes evident that the place must have occu- 
pied a prominent position as early as the time of Hammu- 
rabi, about one thousand years earlier. There can be little 
doubt that the city buried here is no other than Kish, with 
its famous sanctuary, playing such an important role at the 
ver\^ beginning of Babylonian history. Though at the time 
unfamiliar with the details mentioned, which are but the 
product of subsequent investigations, Porter clearly recog- 
nized the general character of Kl-Ohemir and its neighbor- 
ing ruins, and, contrary to Buckingham's untenable theory, 
regarded it as entirely out of question to suppose that these 

* Published in his *• Travels," vol. ii., pi. 77, a. 


mounds "could have ever stood within the limits of Baby- 
lon or even formed any part of its great bulwarked exterior 

Ker Porter had spent nearly a fortnight in examining the 
ruins of Babylon and their environments. After his return 
to Baghdad he illustrated what he had seen, not only by 
drawings of the most interesting mounds visited and ob- 
jects discovered, but, profiting from the assistance of Bellino, 
by several plates of cuneiform inscriptions, among them 
the fragment of a large barrel-cylinder, which he had found 
in the ruins of the Qasr.^ 

It is not within the scope of our present sketch to men- 
tion all the different travellers who during the first half of 
the last century visited the sites of Nineveh and Babylon 
and a few other prominent mounds of the two ancient 
empires on the Tigris and Euphrates. As a rule their 
accounts are little more than repetitions of facts and condi- 
tions even then well established. Men like Colonel Mac- 
donald Kinneir (1808 and 18 13) -and Edward Frederick 
(181 1) had formed the necessary link between the old school 
of travellers in the eighteenth century and the accurate 
observers and topographical students of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. The time was now drawing rapidly near when instead 
of the text of the classical writers so ably interpreted by 
Rennell and others, or the measuring rod and compass so 
well used by Rich and his immediate successors, to whom we 

^ Now in the British Museum. In its preserved portions it is a Neo- 
Babylonian duplicate of certain sections (col. iii., 15—63, and col. vi., 44, 
to col. vii., 20) of the so-called East India House Inscription of Nebuchad- 
rezzar, giving a summary of his building operations in Babylon and Borsippa. 

2 "Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire,** together with Freder- 
ick's ** Account of the present compared with the ancient state of Babylon," 
published in the ** Transactions of the Bombay Society,'* Bombay, 181 3, 
pp. 273-295, and pp. 120—139 respectively. Comp., also, Kinneir's 
** Travels in Asia Minor, Armenia, and Kurdistan," the account of his 
journey from Constantinople to Basra, in the year 1813. 


may still add Captain Keppel (1824)/ spade and pickaxe 
would be called upon to speak the final word and settle 
those much discussed topographical questions. At the 
threshold which separates this last chapter of Assyrian 
and Babylonian exploration from the earlier period just 
treated, stand two men, who while properly speaking they 
added but few positive facts to our knowledge of ancient 
Babylonian ruins, yet instinctively felt the pulse of the 
coming age, and through their own personal courage and 
enterprising spirit entered upon the very road which ulti- 
mately led to success. 


In the years 1826-28, when Major Taylor was the East 
India Company's political representative at Basra, Captain 
Robert Mignan, in command of the escort attached to the 
Resident, made several archaeological excursions into the 
little known districts of Persia, *Iraq ePArabi, and northern 
Mesopotamia. While each of these little expeditions claims 
the attention of the historian of ancient geography to a 
certain degree, in this connection it will be sufficient to 
sketch briefly his share in the exploration of ancient Baby- 

In consequence of the constant quarrels which the differ- 
ent Arab tribes were carrying on among themselves or 
against their common enemy, the Turkish government, 
only few travellers had ventured to leave the regular cara- 
van road and to extend their researches beyond a very 
limited radius around Baghdad and Hilla. Kinneir and 
Keppel had thrown some light on certain remarkable ves- 
tiges on the banks of the Lower Tigris, but the whole 

* ** Personal Narrative of Travels in Babylonia, Assyria, Media, and 
Scythia,*' 3d ed., London, 187.7, 2 volumes. 

* Comp. his ** Travels in Chald.Ta,'* London, 1829. 


region adjoining the two rivers between Qorna and Baby- 
lon on the one side, and Ctesiphon and Sclerrcia on the 
other, needed a much closer investigation, before it could 
lay claim to another title than that of a terra incognita. 
Determined to prosecute his studies on a line different 
from those previously followed, Mignan decided to proceed 
on foot from Basra to Baghdad and Hilla, " accompanied by 
six Arabs, completely armed and equipped after the fashion 
of the country, and by a small boat, tracked by eight sturdy 
natives, in order to facilitate his researches on either bank 
of the stream." Accordingly he set out on his novel 
tour towards the end of October, 1827. Many years after- 
wards, when exploring the interior of Southern Babylonia, 
though then still unacquainted with Mignan's travels, I 
adopted the same method of alternate walking and riding 
in a native canoe {turr^da). On the basis of my own past 
experience, I am convinced that the method described is 
the only one which in the end will accomplish a thorough 
exploration of the marshy interior of Babylonia. 

The independence which Mignan thus enjoyed in all his 
movements was utilized especially to satisfy his curiosity 
concerning the early remains occasionally met on both sides 
of the Tigris. Often, when an old wall or an especially 
promising mound attracted his attention, he stopped a few 
hours to investigate the place or to cut a trench into the 
ruin, with a view of ascertaining its age or discovering its 
character. Sixteen days after his departure from Basra, and 
unmolested on his wav by the Arabs, he reached the city 
of the caliphs. Under the heavy showers of an early No- 
vember rain, he examined the tower of ^Aqarquf, in a few 
subordinate points even correcting the accounts of previous 
travellers. Then he turned his attention to the ruins of 
Babylon, Birs, and Ohemir, to which he devoted nearly a 
week of undivided attention. After all that had been writ- 
ten on them, we cannot expect to find extraordinary new 


discoveries in his description. Once more he summed up 
the different reasons, from which it may be safely concluded 
that the great metropolis stood in the place assigned to it, 
referring particularly to " the distances given by Herodotus 
from Is or Hit, and by Strabo and the Theodosian tables 
from Seleucia." With Buckingham he believed that Birs and 
Ohemir are probibly to be included in the original territory 
of Babylon ; but contrary to the generally expressed opin- 
ion of his predecessors, he asserted emphatically that Birs 
(Nimriid) cannot be identified with the Tower of Belus, as 
" all ancient authors agree in placing it in the midst of the 
city ; " and with good reason he disclosed as the real cause 
for the universal mistake the fact that " it more nearly 
resembles the state of decay into which we might suppose 
that edifice to have fallen, after the lapse of ages, than any 
other remains within the circumference of Babylon.'* Yet 
while thus judiciously protesting against a serious topograph- 
ical error of his predecessors, he himself fell into another. 
Notwithstanding all the strong evidence presented against 
an identification of the Mujeliba with the famous tower, he 
clung to the exploded theory of Rennell, at the same time 
transferring the so-called lesser palace to the reddish mound 
of Homaira. He agreed with his predecessors only in the 
identification of the Qasr with the castellated palace of Ne- 

But Mignan's new departure from the method of re- 
search hitherto employed was not so much due to the cir- 
cumstance that he again went on foot over the whole field 
from the Birs to Ohemir, in order to comprehend all the 
topographical details more thoroughly, as rather to the fact 
that he endeavored by actual small excavations at the prin- 
cipal mounds to discover their contents and to find new 
arguments for his proposed identifications. Sometimes he 
was successful beyond expectation. At the Qasr, e.g,, he 
employed no less than thirty men to clear away the rubbish 


along the western face of a large pilaster. A space of 
twelve feet square and twenty feet deep was soon removed, 
when he suddenly came upon a well-preserved platform of 
inscribed bricks, each measuring nearly twenty inches square 
— the largest which so far had been discovered. From the 
same clearing he obtained four seal-cylinders, three engraved 
gems, and several silver and copper coins, one of Alexander 
the Great being among them ; while in a small recess near a 
well-preserved wall of an unexplored passage on the eastern 
side of the Qasr, he even found a large and beautiful in- 
scribed barrel cylinder in situ^ the first thus excavated by 
any European explorer. 

What Mignan had done with regard to our knowledge 
of the eastern border of ancient Babylonia was attempted 
for the interior of the country by another Englishman. 



In connection with his travels in Kurdistan and Persia, 
which in no small degree helped to shape the future life and 
career of a Layard, Fraser made a hasty tour through the 
unexplored regions of the interior of Babylonia. The 
whole trip, on which he was accompanied by Dr. Ross, 
physician of the English Residency at Baghdad, lasted but 
one month, from December 24, 1834, to January 22, 1835. 
Naturally the information gathered and the impression 
gained had to be one-sided and inaccurate ; but neverthe- 
less his vivid account was of considerable value for the time 
being, as the greater part of the country traversed had never 
been visited by any European before. Names of ruins now 
so familiar to every student of Assyrian are found for the 
first time in Eraser's " Travels in Koordistan, Mesopota- 
mia, etc. 

* London, 1840, two volumes. For Babylonia comp. vol. ii., pp. 


After a brief visit to the ruins of Ctesiphon and Seleu- 
cia, the little cavalcade, numbering fifteen persons, all the 
servants included, proceeded to Babylon and Birs (Nim- 
rud), whence by way of El-Ohemir they turned back to 
the Tigris, which they reached not very far from Tell 
Iskharie, a peculiar and most interesting group of stone- 
covered mounds extending for about two miles on both 
sides of the bed of an ancient canal. With the assistance 
of two ill-qualified Arab guides, they pushed from there 
through the Babylonian plain, to-day often included in the 
general term of Jezire (" island "), passed Tell Jokha and 
Senkere at some distance, crossed the Shatt el-Kar, and, 
soon afterwards, the Euphrates with considerable difficulty, 
examined the conspicuous mounds of Muqayyar, which had 
attracted their attention as soon as thev reached the west- 
ern bank of " the great river " (the so-called Shamiye), and 
finally arrived at Suq esh-Shiyukh, the most southern point 
of their remarkable travels. After an unpleasant stay of 
several days with the shaikh of the Muntefik(j), the party 
returned to Baghdad in nine days, for the greater part 
nearly following their old track, but stopping at Senkere for 
a little while, passing Warka on their left, and observing the 
lofty ruin of Tell (J)ide far away in the distance. Before his 
final departure from Baghdad, Fraser also paid a visit to 
the imposing ruin of *Aqarquf, which had been so often 
described by previous travellers. 

Fraser was the first who boldly entered the then unknown 
regions of the Babylonian marshes and pasture grounds 
occupied by roaming Bedouins and the half-settled thievish 
and uncouth MaMan tribes. In this fact lies his importance 
for the history of Babylonian exploration. From his 
graphic account of the character and manners of the present 
Arabs and the nature of their desolate countrv^ from his 
constant references to the manv ancient canals often inter- 
fering with his progress, and the numerous sites of former 


cities, towns, and villages, of which he found important 
traces everywhere, we gained a first general idea of what 
ancient Babylonia must have been in the days of her splen- 
dor, and also what had become of this small but fertile 
country in the course of two millenniums. The picture 
which he draws is anything but pleasing. Where appar- 
ently a dense population and a high grade of civilization 
had formerly existed, there prevails at present nothing but 
utter ruin, lawlessness, and poverty. Even the characteris- 
tic virtues of the Arabs of the desert, proclaimed by so many 
songs and noble examples, seemed almost unknown or re- 
garded as a mere farce in the interior of Babylonia. What 
wonder, then, that Fraser, little acquainted as he had been 
with Arab life and manners before, and suffering consider- 
ably from cold and exposure, lack of food and water during 
a severe Babylonian January, sums up his description of the 
country and of " all Arabs and Shaikhs, jointly and sev- 
erally," with the words of Burns, mutato nomine : — 

•* There *s nothing here but Arab pride 
And Arab dirt and hunger ; 
If Heaven it was that sent us here. 
It sure was in an anger ! " 

So far the exploration of Assyria and Babylonia had been 
exclusively in the hands of private individuals who pos- 
sessed great courage and the necessary means for travelling 
in districts which through their geographical position and the 
notoriously lawless habits of their inhabitants had offered 
most serious obstacles to an accurate scientific investigation. 
It is true, since the time of Niebuhr and Beauchamp a num- 
ber of valuable geographical and topographical data had 
gradually been gathered, and careful measurements, trigo- 
nometrical angles, and astronomical calculations had more 
and more taken the place of former vague statements and 
general descriptions. A few attempts had even been made 


at drawing maps of the countries traversed, with the courses 
of rivers, the ranges of mountains, and the relative positions 
of the places and ruins examined. But no two maps could 
have been found which agreed with each other even in the 
most essential and characteristic features. It was therefore 
very evident that government support was needed, and 
the methodical survey by a well-equipped staff of experts 
required, in order to change this unsatisfactory condition. 
Most naturally the eyes of all who were interested in the 
resurrection of Assyria and Babylonia turned to England, 
where at this very moment peculiar constellations had arisen 
which were prognostications of systematic action. 


Under the especial patronage of King William IV., in the 
years 1835-37, an expedition was organized by the British 
government, in order to survey the northern part of Syria, 
to explore the basins of the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, to 
test the navigability of the former, and to examine in the 
countries adjacent to these great rivers the markets with 
which the expedition might be thrown in contact. The 
Suez Canal not yet existing, England, jealously watched by 
France and Russia, advanced this important step, apparently 
in the hope of stirring the national energy and enterprise 
bv the results to be achieved to such an enthusiasm as to 
lead to establishing regular railway or steamer communica- 
tions with the far East by way of the Euphrates valley, and 
to restoring life and prosperity to a region renowned for its 
fertility in ancient times and generally regarded as the seat 
of the earliest civilization. 

This expedition, then, owed its origin mainly to commer- 
cial and political considerations, with the ultimate view oi 
securing the Euphrates valley as a highway to India. But 
though its purpose was a practical one, it deserves a more 


prominent place in the history of Babylonian exploration 
and surveying than is generally accorded to it in Assyrio- 
logical publications, alike for the novelty and magnitude of 
the enterprise, for the grand scale upon which it was got up, 
for the difficulties it had to encounter, and for the impor- 
tance of the scientific results obtained.^ 

Fifteen officers, including Captain H. B. Lynch and 
William F. Ainsworth, surgeon and geologist to the expe- 
dition, formed the staff of this great military undertaking 
commanded by Colonel (afterwards Major-General) Francis 
Rawdon Chesney, who had travelled extensively in West- 
ern Asia before. The members of the expedition left 
Liverpool in February, 1835. Large provisions and the 
material of two iron steamers accompanied them to the bay 
of Antioch, whence under the greatest difficulties they were 
transported over land to the Upper Euphrates. Somewhat 
below the ferry and castle of Birejik (but on the west bank 
of" the great river ") light field works were thrown up, and 
a temporary station established under the name of Port 
William. Long delays in the transport of the material, car- 
ried by 841 camels and 160 mules from the seashore to the 
Euphrates, heavy rains and consequent inundations, the 
difficult task of puttmg the boats together, and the severity 
of the fever, which seized so many of the party, consumed 
almost the whole first year. As it was found impossible to 
descend the river during the winter, the greater portion of 
this season was spent in reconnoitring the Taurus and the 
country between the Euphrates and the river Balikh-Su as 

^ Comp. Chesney, ** The Expedition for the Survey of the Rivers Eu- 
phrates and Tigris," 2 vols., London, 1850 ; Chesney, *' Narrative of the 
Euphrates Expedition,** London, 1868 ; and a volume of twelve sections 
of a large map, and two additional maps of Arabia and adjacent countries, 
London, 1849. Also W. F. Ainsworth, ** Researches in Assyria, Baby- 
lonia, and Chald.Ta, forming part of the Labours of the Euphrates Expedition,*' 
London, 1838, and the same author's ** A Personal Narrative of the Eu- 
phrates Expedition," 2 vols., London, 1888. 


far north as Sammosata, the ancient capital of Commagene, 
and including Urfa (Edessa) and the ruins of Haran. 

About a year after the expedition had left England, the 
descent of the Euphrates was commenced, on the i6th of 
March, i8j6. It was a memorable day when the first two 
steamboats brought to these regions, " Euphrates " and 
" Tigris," left their moorings. The whole Christian and 
Mohammedan population of the small town had turned out 
"to see an iron boat swim, and, what was more, stem 
the current of the river." For according to Chesney and 
Ainsworth, there was a tradition familiar at Birejik, which 

accompanied the expedition down the whole river, that when 
iron should swim on the wafers of the Fraf, the fall of 
Mohammedanism would commence. 

The descent was made in the following manner. The 
dav before the steamers started, a boat was sent ahead to 
examine and sound the river for a distance of twenty to 
thirty miles. "The officer who had accomplished his task 
became the pilot on the occasion of the first day's descent, 


while another was despatched in advance to become the 
pilot on the second day. Thus the naval officers took it 
by turns to survey the river and to pilot the vessel." 
The detailed bearings of the river were taken by Colonel 
Chesney from the steamer itself. At times exploring tours 
and explanatory missions were sent to the neighboring 
districts of the Arabs, while at the same time the survey 
was carried on ashore by a chain of ground trigonometrical 
angles across the principal heights as they presented them- 

In the early afternoon of May 21, 1836, the expedi- 
tion suffered a most serious loss, almost at the same spot 
where many centuries before the apostate emperor Julian 
had met with a similar misfortune. The weather suddenly 
changed, " accompanied by a portentous fall of the baro- 
meter. ... In the course of a few minutes dense masses 
of black clouds, streaked with orange, red, and yellow, 
appeared coming up from the W. S. W., and approached 
the boats with fearful velocity." Not far below the junc- 
tion of the river Khabur (the biblical Habor) with the 
Kuphrates, during a brief but fearful hurricane or simoom 
of the desert, which, turning day into night, struck the two 
boats with terrible force, the " Tigris,** for the time being 
the flagship of the little squadron, was capsized, and rapidly 
went to the muddy bottom of the foaming river. Twenty 
men, including Lieutenants Cockburn and R. B. Lynch 
(brother of the commander of the " Tigris "), were drowned 
in the Kuphrates. Only fourteen of the crew were washed 
by the high waves over the bank into a field of corn, 
Colonel Chesney, the gallant leader, fortunately being 
among the survivors. Few of the bodies, mostly disfigured 
by vultures beyond recognition, were recovered and buried. 
Among other things picked up " w^as Colonel Chesney's 
Bible, to which great interest attached itself, as it had 
already gone to the bottom of the river when the Colonel 


was first navigating the river on a raft, and had been washed 
ashore in a similar manner." 

The " Euphrates " having descended the rest of the river 
alone, ascended also the Tigris as far as ancient Opis. 
But on October 28, in connection with an attempt to ascend 
the Euphrates, — the second part of the task assigned to the 
expedition, — upon entering the Lamlun marshes of Baby- 
lonia, the engine of the steamer broke down ; and the crew, 
after making every possible effort to repair it temporarily, 
was obliged to drop down the river with the current, occa- 
sionally assisted by the sails. This breakdown was the be- 
ginning of the end. The funds of the expedition were 
exhausted ; and Russia having reproached the Porte " for 
allowing steam navigation in the interior rivers of the em- 
pire to a nation whose policy was avowedly opposed to her 
own," the British government gradually lost its interest in 
an undertaking begun with such energy and enthusiasm, 
and the results of which up to that time had been fully ade- 
quate to the money and labor spent. 

At the close of the nineteenth centurv, the old scheme of 
connecting the Persian Gulf with the Mediterranean by rail 
or boat has been vigorously taken up again by Germany, 
with an apparently greater prospect of ultimate success. A 
regular steamboat line, however, as it seems at present, will 
scarcely ever be established on the Euphrates, because of 
the enormous outlay of capital necessary to secure a certain 
depth of water at all seasons within a well-regulated channel, 
and to prevent the Arabs from building their dams into the 
stream or digging new canals for the purpose of irrigation. 

Among the incomplete scientific results obtained by the 
Euphrates Expedition, the series of twelve maps, published 
bv Colonel Chesney twelve years later (1849), ranks first. 
Even to-day, when for some time more accurate maps of 
certain sections of the Euphrates and Tigris basins have 
been in our hands, it is still of inestimable value, forming, as 


it does, the only source of our topographical knowledge for 
by far the larger part of the course of the two rivers. Nat- 
urally the accuracy attainable for any map prepared from a 
survey by water can only be relative. Rich's survey of the 
middle course of the Tigris, carried on from a primitive raft 
on a " swift-flowing " river,^ afterwards incorporated in 
Colonel Chesney's fundamental work, must therefore be 
even less accurate than that of the staff of the Euphrates 
Expedition, conducted from a well-equipped steamer on a 
river with considerably less current. 

The great influence which these maps exercised upon 
future archaeological explorations in the countries between 
the Euphrates and the Tigris, lies in the fact that for the 
first time thev showed the enormous wealth of ancient ruins, 
canals, and other remains of former civilizations along the 
entire embankment of both rivers. Ainsworth, who mani- 
fested a particular interest in the archaeology and history 
of the country, described carefully what he saw on his daily 
excursions, thus enabling us to form a first correct idea of 
the difference between the numerous barren hills crowned 
with the ruins of extensive castles, temples, and towers, 
along the upper course of the Euphrates, and the thousands 
of ancient and modern canals, numberless mounds of baked 
and sun-dried bricks, half buried under the sands of the 
desert or submerged under the encroaching water of the 
rivers, turning the country into immense swamps for many 
miles, along the lower course of both the Euphrates and 
Tigris. Through his " Researches in Assyria, Babylonia, 
and Chaldaea '* the same scholar added not only consider- 
ably to our knowledge of the general features of Mesopo- 
tamia and *Iraq el-'Arabi (climate, vegetation, zoology, and 
natural history), but he also furnished the first scientific 
treatment of the latest deposits by transport, of the physical 
geography and geology of the alluvial districts of Babylonia, 

* The name of the Tigris signifies "swift-flowing." 


and of the geological relations of the bitumen and naphtha 
springs characteristic of the adjacent regions. 

The work of the Euphrates Expedition had been practi- 
cally confined to a survey of the two great rivers. The 
next step needed for the exploration of Babylonia and 
Assyria proper was to proceed from the base established 
by Colonel Chesney and his staff into the inlterior of the 
neighboring districts, of which little or nothing was known, 
surveying section after section until all the material was 
gathered for constructing a trustworthy map of the whole 
country. This preliminary task has not yet been finished, 
even at the close of the nineteenth century. The most 
essential progress so far made in this regard is closely con- 
nected with the first great classical period of Assyrian and 
Babylonian excavations, during which Sir Henry Rawlinson, 
equally prominent as a soldier and explorer, decipherer and 
linguist, comparative geographer and archaeologist, occupied 
the influential position of British Resident and Consul- 
General in Baghdad, to the greatest advantage of the scien- 
tific undertakings carried on in the regions of the Euphrates 
and Tigris during his administration (1843-55).^ 


Among the technically trained men of that time who in 
no small part assisted by their work and interest in building 
up the young science of Assyriology, Commander James 
Felix Jones will always hold an especially conspicuous 
place. His excellent topographical material, for the greater 
part unfortunately buried in the " Records of the Bombay 

* After a residence of five years in Persia, Rawlinson had spent the greater 
portion of 1839 in Baghdad, when in consequence of the great war in Afghan- 
iitan he was appointed Political Agent at Candahar, where he distinguished 
himself greatly until 1843, ^^'^^^n ^e was sent back to Baghdad as ** Political 
Agent and Consul-General in Turkish Arabia.*' 


Government," ^ from which twenty-five years later Heinrich 
Kiepert excavated it for the benefit of Oriental students, 
deserves a few words also in this connection. 

Being stationed with his armed boat " Nitocris " at 
Baghdad, Jones naturally made this city the base of his 
operations. His attention was first directed to a re-exami- 
nation of the course of the Tigris above the point where 
the Shatt el-Adhem empties into the former. In April, 
1846, when the annual rise of the river had provided the 
necessary water for his steamer, he advanced northward. 
Notwithstanding the increased force of the current, which 
at times almost equalled the power of the machine, seriously 
interfering with his progress, Jones reached the rapids of the 
Tigris above Tekrit, and by his measurements and triangu- 
lations greatly improved the earlier map of Rich and fiir- 
nished considerable new information. 

In the years 1848-50, during the months of March and 
April, when the lack of water and the absence of a settled 
population did not yet prove too great an obstacle to topo- 
graphical work in regions where every accommodation was 
wanting, he made three exploration tours into the districts 
to the east of the Tigris. His intention was to determine 
the tract of the ancient Nahrawan Canal, which, leaving 
the Tigris about halfway between Tekrit and Samarra, had 
once brought life and fertility to the whole territory as far 
down as Kud(t) el-*Amara, to-day almost entirely covered 
with the sand of the desert or with large brackish water 

Of even greater importance from an Assyriological stand- 
point are his " Researches in the vicinity of the Median 
Wall of Xenophon and along the old course of the River 
Tigris," carried on in March, 1850, shortly before he closed 

^ It was with great difficulty and only after long searching that I finally pro- 
cured a copy of his ** Selections from the Records of the Bombay Govern- 
ment," No. xliii., 1857, for my own library. 


his invesrigations on the eastern side of the river just men- 
tioned. Although he succeeded as little in discovering the 
" Median Wall " as his predecessors, Ross and Lynch 
(1836), or his successor Lieutenant Bewsher, all of whom 
endeavored in vain to locate it, yet, in addition to all the 
valuable discoveries of Babvlonian and later Mohammedan 
ruins and canals which he carefully fixed and described on 
this journey, Jones proved conclusively that, contrary to 
previously held opinions, the site of the influential and 
powerful Babylonian city of Opis, better known from Xen- 
ophon's and Alexander's campaigns, is identical with the 
enormous Tell Manjur, on the southern or right side of the 
present bed of the Tigris ; and that, moreover, this location 
is entirely in accordance with ancient tradition, which places 
it on the northern or left bank of that river, in so far as the 
ancient bed of the Tigris, still called by the natives "the 
little Tigris " (Shtet and Dijel),^ with numerous traces of 
canals once proceeding from the latter, could be established 
by him beyond any doubt to the S.W. of Opis.^ 

But the crowning piece of Jones's numerous contributions 
to the general and comparative geography of the countries 
adjacent to the Tigris was his excellent plan of Nineveh 
and his survey of the whole district intermediate between 
the Tigris and the Upper Zab.^ The new impulse given 
to science by the epoch-making discoveries of Botta and 
Layard in the Assyrian mounds had turned the eyes of the 
civilized world again to the long-forgotten country in which 
those historical places were situated. Yielding to a general 
desire of seeing a complete picture of Assyria in her present 
desolation, the East India Company, at the request of the 

* In June, 1900, when I examined that whole region, I heard both names 
hx)m the Arabs. 

' Comp. on this whole question Kiepcrt, Begltitzvorte xur Karte der 
Ruinenfelder von Babylon, Berlin, 1883, pp. 24, seq, 

• Comp. his report in the "Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great 
Britain and Ireland," vol. xv. (London, 1855), pp. 297-397. 


Trustees of the British Museum, despatched Commander 
Jones in the spring of 1852 to proceed with the construc- 
tion of the necessary map. Assisted by Dr. Hyslop * of 
the British Residency in Baghdad, chiefly interested in the 
flora of the Nineveh region, the work was accomplished 
within a month and a half, at that great time when Victor 
Place was still excavating at Khorsabad, and Rawlinson in- 
specting the work of the Assyrian explorers, while Fresnel 
and Oppert had just arrived in that neighborhood from 
Paris, previous to their excavations in Babylon. 

In three large sheets, which up to this day are the stand- 
ard work for the geography of ancient Assyria, the results 
of the survey were published. Before closing his interest- 
ing report on the topography of Nineveh, Jones paid a 
warm tribute to the work of Rich, " the first real laborer in 
Assyrian fields," by writing the following memorable 
words: "His survey (of Nineveh and Nimriid) will be 
found as correct as the most diligent enthusiast can desire ; 
indeed, were it not for the renewed inquiry into Assyrian 
subjects, the present survey we have the honor of submit- 
ting to the public might have been dispensed with, for its 
value chiefly consists in corroborating the fidelity of his posi- 
tions, and otherwise, though quite unnecessary, stamping 
his narrative with the broad seal of truth." 


In the mean while the way was being gradually prepared 
for a similar kind of work in Babylonia. Fraser,^ Loftus,^ 
and Layard* had boldly entered the swamps of *Iraq and 
examined the interior of the country, the former two trav- 
ersing this great alluvial plain almost its entire length, and 

^ Who had succeeded Dr. Ross as physician, after the former's untimely 
death, ^ Comp, above, pp. 54, se^^, 

• Comp. below, pp. 139, seg^. * Comp. below, pp. 157, seq^. 


bringing back the startling news that the whole surface 
was literally covered with large towers, extensive mounds, 
and numerous smaller ruins, with frequent traces of ancient 
canals, fragments of bricks, statuary, and many other objects 
of a high antiquity. Fully convinced of the character and 
age of these remains of a former civilization. Sir Henry 
Rawlinson at once conceived the idea of having the whole 
of Babylonia surveyed after the manner so admirably fol- 
lowed by Jones and Hyslop in Assyria. Prior to his re- 
turn to England (1855), he requested the two last-named 
experienced men, assisted by T. Kerr Lynch, to make 
an accurate survey also of the ruins of Babylon and its 
environments, an order which they executed in 1854-55. 
Finally, after the lapse of some time, through Rawlinson's 
efforts a special committee was appointed by the British 
government of India for the purpose of carrying out his 
more comprehensive plan. It consisted of Commander 
William Beaumont Selby and Lieutenants Collingwood and 
Bewsher. But notwithstanding the fact that this commis- 
sion spent the years 1861-65 in Babylonia executing the 
orders received, and that the most difficult part of the work, 
the surveying of the swampy district from Musayyib to 
Shenafiye, on the west side of the Euphrates, was finished 
in the very first year (1861), yet at the end of the period 
mentioned only about the fourth part of the entire area 
was on paper. 

When contrasted with the large amount of work done 
by Jones within such a short time and often under trying 
circumstances, one cannot but realize that the old fiery en- 
thusiasm, which inspired the first Babylonian and Assyrian 
explorers willingly to risk everything, in order to break un- 
known ground and recover an ancient country, was strongly 
on the wane. And the American Expedition of the Univer- 
sitv' of Pennsylvania had not yet demonstrated that, notwith- 
standing the excessive heat and the often almost incredible 


swarms of vermin and insects, it was possible to work ten to 
fourteen hours every day during the whole year at the edge 
of one of the most extensive Babylonian swamps, infested 
with unruly Arabs and troublesome deserters from the Turk- 
ish army, without any considerable increase of danger to the 
health and life of its members. Commander Selby and his 
party, however, spent only a few weeks out of every twelve 
months in actual work in the field, so that in 1866 the 
Indian government suspended the slowly proceeding and 
rather expensive work. In 1871 the results obtained by the 
commission of three were published under the title " Trigo- 
nometrical survey of a part of Mesopotamia with the rivers 
Euphrates and Tigris'' (two sheets), comprising the land be- 
tween 33^ and 32 degrees north latitude. Even in its 
incomplete condition this map of Babylonia, thoroughly 
scientific, denotes a new epoch in the study of ancient 
Babylonian geography. A third sheet gives the regions 
west of the Euphrates, as mentioned above, while a fourth 
contains a most accurate survey of the city of Babylon. 
From all the material which since the time of Rich had been 
gathered together, in 1883 Heinrich Kiepert constructed 
his own excellent and much consulted map of Northern 
Babylonia,^ until the present day our only trustworthy 
guide through all the ruins to the south of Baghdad. No 
attempt has as yet been made to survey Central and South- 
ern Babylonia. 

How long will this unsatisfactory condition last? A 
single man, or even two or three, while in charge of an ex- 
pedition at one of the Babylonian ruins, cannot survey the 
remaining three quarters of the whole land to the south of 
Nuffar within a reasonable space of time. An especial expe- 
dition must be organized to execute the work properly and 
scientifically, under a firman which should grant the mem- 
bers of this expedition the necessary right to dig enough at 

* Ruinenf elder der Umgegend von Babylon, Berlin, 1883. 


the most prominent ruins to identify the early Babylonian 
cities buried below them. 

In the year 1893, when the organization of the Babylon- 
ian Section of the Imperial Ottoman Museum was en- 
trusted to the present writer, he was also requested to 
submit a report to the Minister of Public Instruction on the 
steps necessary for an effective preservation of the Babylon- 
ian ruins and their future methodical exploration. The 
report was written and certain measures proposed. A seri- 
ous effort was even made to have the plan as outlined 
above adopted and executed by the Ottoman government, 
at whose disposal were a number of excellent officers trained 
in Germany and in France. For several years I had hoped 
to carry out the work myself with Halil Bey, Director 
of the Ottoman Museum, a high Danish military officer, 
and a number of engineers and architects from England and 
America. But pressing duties in Philadelphia, Constan- 
tinople, and Nuffar prevented me from realizing the long 
cherished plan. 

The time, as it seemed, was not yet ripe for such an 
enterprise. It has considerably matured since. In con- 
nection with the preliminary survey for the recently planned 
railroad from Baghdad to Quwait, an accurate map of Cen- 
tral and Southern Babylonia could be easily prepared by 
Germany without any great additional expense. At a time 
when fresh zeal and activity for the organization of new 
expeditions to the land of the earliest civilization are mani- 
fested everywhere, may this grand opportunity, almost pro- 
videntially given to Germany, not be lost but be seized with 
characteristic energy and perseverance and utilized for the 
benefit of Babylonian research at the dawn of the twentieth 





In the fall of 1 843, after a distinguished service in Afghan- 
istan (1839-42), Rawlinson, as we have seen above (p. 63, 
note 1), was transferred to Baghdad as "British Political 
Agent in Turkish Arabia." The young " student-soldier," 
then occupying the rank of major, had requested Lord 
EUenborough, Governor-General of India, to appoint him 
to this particular post (just about to be vacant) rather than 
to the much more dignified and lucrative " Central India 
Agency " offered him, because of his strong desire " to 
return to the scene of his former labors and resume his 
cuneiform investigations, in which he had found the greatest 
pleasure and satisfaction/*^ In accepting a far inferior posi- 
tion with its lighter political duties, which allowed him 
ample leisure for his favorite studies, Rawlinson, with great 
perspicacity, chose a life for which he was peculiarly fitted, 
and entered upon a road which soon brought him fame 
and recognition far beyond anything that he could ever 
have achieved in governing half-civilized tribes or fighting 
victorious battles. The twelve years during which Rawlin- 
son held his appointment in Baghdad mark the first great 
period of Assyrian and Babylonian excavations. It is true 
he undertook but little work in the trenches himself, but he 
influenced and supervised the excavations of others, and 
personally examined all the important ruins of Assyria 
and Northern Babylonia. His advice and assistance were 
sought by nearly all those who with pick and spade were 
engaged in uncovering the buried monuments of two great 

^ Comp. " A Memoir of Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlin- 
son," by his brother. Canon George Rawlinson, London, 1898, pp. 139, 


empires. While Continental explorers won their laurels on 
the mounds of Khorsabad and Nimrud, Rawlinson forced 
the inaccessible rock of Bchistun to surrender the great 
trilingual inscription of Darius, which, in the quietude of 

ith the Grot Trilingual Inirription 

his studv on the Tigris, became the " Rosetta Stone" of 
Assvrioiog\-, and in his master hand the key to the under- 
standing of the Assyrian documents.' 

So far the leading explorers of Assyrian and Babylonian 
ruins in the nineteenth centun,' had been British officers and 
private travellers. In no small degree, the Kast India Com- 
panv, through its efficient representatives at Baghdad and 
Basra, had promoted and deepened the interest in the 

' The two fundamental and epoch -ma ting publications in which Rawlin- 
son -ubmiited ihe first complete copy and his decipherment of the second 
I Persian i and third ( Babylonian) columns of the Behistun inscription lo the 
learned world, appeared in the "Journal o( the Royal Asiatic Societv of 
(ircal Britain and Ireland." vols. x. ( I 846-47), xi. (1849I, xii. | I 8501, 


ancient history and geography of the Euphrates and Tigris 
valleys ; and as long as this company existed, it never ceased 
to be a generous patron of all scientific undertakings carried 
on in regions which, through their close connection with 
the Bible, have always exercised a powerful influence upon 
the mind of the English public. Under Rawlinson's ener- 
getic and tactful management of British interests in " Turk- 
ish Arabia," the old traditional policy of the company was 
kept alive, and such a spirit of bold progress and scientific 
investigation was inaugurated in England as had never been 
witnessed before in the Oriental studies of that country. 
And yet, through a peculiar combination of circumstances 
and events, the first decisive step in the line of actual exca- 
vations was made not by an English explorer, but by an 
Orientalist of France, Professor Julius von Mohl, one of 
the secretaries of the French Asiatic Society, who, bom and 
educated in Germany, had gained the firm conviction that 
those few but remarkable bricks which he had recently seen 
in London were but the first indication and sure promise 
of a rich literary harvest awaiting the fortunate excavator 
in the mounds of Babylonia and Assyria. No sooner, 
therefore, had the French government established a con- 
sular agency in Mosul and selected a suitable candidate 
for the new position, than Mohl urged him most strongly 
to utilize his exceptional opportunity in the interest of sci- 
ence, and to start excavations in the large mounds opposite 





The man whom France had so judiciously sent as con- 
sular agent to Mosul in 1842 was the naturalist Paul Emil 
Botta, a nephew of the celebrated historian of Italy, and 
himself a man of no small gifts and of considerable expe- 
rience in the consular service at Alexandria. A long resi- 
dence in Egypt, Yemen, and Syria, " undertaken regardless 
of difficulties or the dangers of climate, solely to further his 
scientific pursuits, had eminently adapted him for an appoint- 
ment in the East. He could assimilate himself to the habits 
of the people ; was conversant with their language ; pos- 
sessed energy of character ; and was besides an intelligent 
and practised observer. With such qualifications, it was 
obvious that his residence in the vicinity of a spot that 
history and tradition agreed in pointing out as the site of 
Nineveh could not but be productive of important results."* 
Botta was then only thirty-seven years of age. Though 
very limited in his pecuniary resources, he commenced his 
researches immediatelv after his arrival at Mosul with the 
full ardor of vouth, vet in the cautious and methodical 
manner of the scholar. He first examined the whole region 
around Mosul, visited the interior of many modern houses, 
and tried to acquire every antiquity in the hands of dealers 
and other persons, with the fixed purpose of tracing the 
place of their origin, and selecting if possible a suitable 
ruin for the commencement of his own operations. He 
soon came, however, to the conclusion that, unlike Hilla 
and other Babylonian places, Mosul had not been con- 

* Comp. Joseph Bonomi, "Nineveh and its Palaces/' London, 1852, 

p- :- 


structed with ancient Assyrian material.* Of the two conspic- 
uous mounds on the other side of the Tigris, which alone 
seemed to indicate a higher antiquity, the southern one, 
called Nebi Yunus, and partly covered with a village of the 
same name, attracted his first attention ; for it was there 
that Rich had reported the existence of subterranean walls 
and cuneiform inscriptions. But the religious prejudice of 
the inhabitants, and the large sum necessary for their ex- 
propriation, excluded from the beginning any attempt on 
his part at excavating here. There remained, then, no- 
thing else for him but to start operations at the northern 
u/l Qoyunjuk (generally written K(o)uyunjik, and mean- 
ing " Lamb ** in Turkish), which doubtless was an artificial 
mass, and, to all appearance, contained the remains of some 
prominent ancient building.*^ Here Botta commenced his 
researches on a very moderate scale, in the month of 
December, 1 842. The results of his first efforts were not 
very encouraging. Numerous fragments of bas-reliefs and 
cuneiform inscriptions, through which the Assyrian origin 
of the mound was established beyond question, were brought 
to light, but " nothing in a perfect state was obtained to 
reward the trouble and outlay '* of the explorer. Though 
greatly discouraged by the absence of striking finds, he 
continued his excavations till the middle of March, 1843. 

During all the time that Botta was occupied at Qoyunjuk, 
superintending his workmen, and carefully examining every 
little fragment that came out of the ground, the curious 
natives of' the neighboring places used to gather around his 
trenches, gesticulating and discussing what this strange pro- 
ceeding of the foreigner meant, but realizing that apparently 
he was in quest of sculptured stones, inscribed bricks, and 

^ As Rich had regarded as very likely. 

* Comp. the Plan of the Ruins of' Nineveh, published in a subsequent 
chapter, "Temporary Revival of Public Interest in Assyrian Excavations" 
(suif ** George Smith **). 


Other antiquities which he eagerly bought whenever they 
were offered. One day, as far back as December, 1842, an 
inhabitant of a distant village, a dyer of Khorsabad, who 
built his ovens of bricks obtained from the mound on which 
his village stood, happened to pass by Qoyunjuk and to 
express his astonishment about Botta's operations. As soon 
as he had learned what was the real purpose of all these 
diggings, he declared that plenty of such stones as they 
wanted were found near his village, at the same time offer- 
ing to procure as many as the foreigner wished. Botta, 
accustomed to the Arab endeavor of appearing as bearers 
of important and pleasing news, did not at first pay much 
attention to what the man had reported, even after the latter 
had been induced to bring two complete bricks with cunei- 
form inscriptions from Khorsabad to Mosul. But finally, 
weary with his fruitless search in the mound of Qoyunjuk, 

he abandoned the scene of his disappointing labors, and 
remembering the Arab dyer with his bricks and his story, 
he despatched a few of his workmen to Khorsabad on March 
20, 184J, to test the mound as the peasant had advised. 


The village of Khorsabad, situated about five hours to 
the northeast of Mosul, on the left bank of the same little 
river Khosar which flows through Nineveh, is built on the 
more elevated eastern part of a long-stretched mound. The 
gradually descending western half of the same feii ends in 
two ridges which are both unoccupied. It was in the north- 
ern ridge of the latter section that Botta's workmen began 
to cut their trenches. They came almost immediately upon 
two parallel walls covered with the mutilated remains of 
large bas-reliefs and cuneiform inscriptions. A messenger 
was despatched to Mosul in order to inform their master 
of the great discovery. But well acquainted with the rich 
phantasy and flowery speech of the Arab race, Botta seri- 
ously doubted the truth of the extraordinary news so quickly 
received, and at first ordered a servant to the scene of exca- 
vations with instructions to inspect the work and bring him 
a more intelligent account of the actual finds. The required 
evidence was soon in Botta's possession. There could be 
no longer any doubt that this time the Arabs had spoken 
the full truth, and that most remarkable antiquities of a 
genuine Assyrian character had been brought to light. He 
now hastened at once to Khorsabad himself. His consular 
duties allowed him to remain only one day. But the few 
hours which he could spend in the trenches were well em- 
ployed. Though the first sight of these strange sculptures 
and witnesses of a long-forgotten past which, out of the 
depth of a buried civilization, suddenly rose like the fata 
morgana before his astonished eyes, must have filled his soul 
with great excitement and rare delight, yet he could calm 
himself sufficiently to sit down among his Arab workmen, 
and sketch the most important reliefs and inscriptions for 
his friend in Paris. 

On April 5, 1843, Botta wrote the first of a series of 
letters to Mohl,^ in which he briefly described what he had 

* Published in Journal Asiatique, series iv., vol. ii., pp. 61-72 (dated 


just seen, and expressed the hope that some way might be 
found for the safe transport and final preservation of the 
excavated treasures. His ardent desire was soon to be realized 
beyond expectation. It was a memorable day when his letter 
was submitted to the members of the Societe Asiatique^ and 
the explorer's statement was read : " I believe myself to be 
the first who has discovered sculptures which with some reason 
can be referred to the period when Nineveh was flourish- 
ing." What could have appealed more strongly to the 
French nation ! The impression which these simple and 
yet so significant words created in the scientific circles of 
France was extraordinary. The Academy of Paris at once 
requested the minister to grant the necessary funds for a 
continuation of the excavations (so far chiefly carried on at 
Botta's personal expense), and for the transport of all the 
objects recovered to Europe. With its old traditional spirit 
of munificence, and always ready to encourage and support 
undertakings which by their very nature were to shed new 
lustre upon the name of France, the government granted 
the required sum, and a few months later despatched E. 
Flandin, well prepared by his work in Persia, to the assist- 
ance of Botta, in order to sketch all such monuments as could 
not safely be removed from Khorsabad. But half a year 
elapsed before the artist arrived at the ruins, and in the 
meanwhile Botta had to fight his way, blocked with numer- 
ous obstacles, to the best of his ability. 

Many of the excavated sculptures had su fleered consider- 
ably at the time when the great building was destroyed by 
fire. Resting only on the earth of the mound, they began 
to crumble as soon as the halls were cleared of rubbish and 

April 5, 1843), with 12 plates; pp. 201-214 (May 2, 1843), with 9 
plates ; vol. iii., pp. 91 — 103 (June 2, 1843) and pp. 424-435 (July 24, 
1843), with 17 plates; vol. iv., pp. 301-314 (Oct. 31, 1843), with 11 
plates. Comp., also, his report to the Minister of the Interior (March 22, 
1844) in vol. v., pp. 201-207. 


exposed to light. He ordered large beams to prevent the 
collapse of the walls. But scarcely had he turned his back 
when the unscrupulous inhabitants of the village, always in 
need of wood, pillaged his supports, thus causing destruc- 
tion. The heat of the summer and the rains of the winter 
interfered seriously with his progress, often damaging beyond 
recognition what with great labor and patience had just been 
rescued from the ground, sometimes even before he was 
able to examine the sculptures. The malarious condition 
of the whole region caused illness and death among his 
workmen, proving nearly fatal to his own life. The peas- 
ants of Khorsabad, suspicious beyond measure, and unwill- 
ing to aid his researches, refused to work and sell him their 
houses, which occupied the most important part of the ruins. 
In addition to all these constant worriments, necessarily 
affecting his mind and body, the governor of Mosul, with 
ever-increasing jealousy and cunning, tried in many ways to 
dishearten the explorer. He shared the general belief of 
his people that the foreigner was searching for treasures. 
Anxious to appropriate them himself, he frequently threw 
Botta's workmen into prison in order to extract a confession, 
or he appointed watchmen at the trenches to seize every 
piece of gold that might be discovered. When all this failed 
to have the desired effect, he closed the work altogether, on 
the pretext that Botta was evidently establishing a military 
station to take the country by force of arms from the sultan. 
At Paris and Constantinople everything was done by the 
French government and its representative to counteract 
these miserable machinations, and to prove the utter base- 
lessness of the malicious accusations. Finally, well-directed 
energy, tact, and perseverance triumphed over all the obsta- 
cles and animosity of the native population. Botta gradu- 
ally induced the chief of the village to abandon his house 
on the summit of the mound temporarily for a reasonable 
price, and to move down into the plain, where later the rest 


of the inhabitants followed, after the explorer's promise to 
restore the original contour of the mound as soon as the 
latter had been fully examined. Even before this agreement 
was entered into with the villagers, Botta had found it neces- 
sary to fill his trenches again after he had copied the inscrip- 
tions, drawn the sculptures, and removed those antiquities 
which could be transported, as the only way in which the 
large mass of crumbling reliefs could be saved for future 
research from their rapid destruction by the air. But it 
was not until the beginning of May, 1844, after the excava- 
tions had rested almost completely * during the winter, that 
Flandin finally brought the necessary firman from Constan- 
tinople allowing the resumption of the excavations. Not- 
withstanding the approaching heat, no more time was lost. 
Three hundred Christian refugees were gradually engaged 
to excavate the unexplored part of the mound, Botta copy- 
ing the inscriptions and Flandin preparing the drawings of 
the sculptures as soon as they had been exposed. Both 
men worked with the greatest harmony, energy, and de- 
votion during the whole oppressive summer, until, in 
October, 1 844, after most remarkable success, the excava- 
tions were suspended temporarily. 

A large mass of material was packed for shipment by raft 
down the Tigris to Basra, whence the Cormorant, a French 
man-of-war, in 1846, carried it safely to Havre. Flandin 
was the first to leave Khorsabad (November, 1844) and 
to return to Paris. His large portfolio of beautiful sketches 
and drawings had fairly prepared the way for the arrival of 
the originals. But when now these extraordinary monuments 
themselves had found a worthy place in the large halls of 
the Louvre, constituting the first great Assyrian museum of 

* Only interrupted by a short visit to Khorsabad in company with a few 
travellers, among them Mr. Dittel, sent by the Russian Minister of Public 
Instruction to inspect the excavations. In connection with this visit Botta 
even made a slight excavation in order to satisfy the curiosity of his guests. 


whose advice and cooperation Botta and Flandin were ena- 
bled to publish the results of their combined labors in a 
magnificent work of five large volumes.* 

The excavations of the two explorers had penetrated 
into the interior of the mound of Khorsabad until all traces 
of walls disappeared. But a careful study of the plan drawn 
by Flandin had enabled them to infer that the great struc- 
ture which yielded all these bas-reliefs and inscriptions must 
formerly have extended considerably farther. From certain 
indications in the ground it became evident that a part of the 
monumental building had been intentionally destroyed in 
ancient times, but it was to be expected that another consider- 
able part was still preserved somewhere in the unexplored 
sections of the mound. Stimulated by the hope of finding 
the lost trace again, Botta himself opened a number of 
trial trenches at various points. But all his exertions having 
failed, he came to the conclusion that everything that re- 
mained of the palace at Khorsabad had been excavated, and 
therefore he put a stop to the work on this ruin. 

In the year 1851 the French Assembly voted a sum of 
money for an expedition to be sent to Babylonia (which we 
shall discuss later), and another for the resumption of the 
suspended excavations at Khorsabad, to be directed by 
Victor Place, a skilful architect and Botta's successor as 
French consular agent at Mosul. Technically well prepared 
for his task, and faithfully supported in the trenches by 
Botta's intelligent foreman, Nahushi, who with many other 
former workmen had gladly reentered French employment. 
Place completed the systematic examination of the great 
palace and restored its ground-plan during the years 1851-55. 
Under his supervision the excavations exposed all the re- 
maining buildings and rooms attached to the sculptured halls, 
— a space about three times as large as that explored by his 

* Moniiment de Ninive decouvert et decrit par M. P. E. Bottdy rnc^uri 
et de nine par M, £. F/and/'n, 5 volumes with 400 plates, Paris, 1849-50. 


predecessor, and successfully extended even to the walls of 
the town. In these outlying mounds he unearthed four 
simple and three very fine gates, flanked by large winged 
bulls and other sculptures, and their arches most beautifullv 
decorated with friezes of blue and white enamelled tiles 
representing winged genii and animals, plants and rosettes, 
in excellent design and execution. At the angle ' formed 
by two of the walls of the palace he made an especially val- 
uable discovery in the form of an inscribed box serving as 
corner-stone, and containing seven tablets of different size, 
in gold, silver, copper, lead, lapis lazuli, magnesite, and lime- 
stone. Thev all bore identical cuneiform records pertain- 
ing to the history of these buildings. 

It was not always very easv for Place to trace the rooms 
of the " harem " and the other smaller structures, as no 
sculptures like those discovered bv Botta had adorned their 
walls and sustained the crumbling mass of unbaked bricks. 
But gradually his eyes became sharpened and were able to 
distinguish the faint outlines of walls from the surrounding 
earth and rubbish. Though his excavations did not yield 
' Comp. Opperi, Expiditho en Mhopetamif, vol. t., p. 349, note 1. 


anything like the rich harvest in large monuments of art 
reaped by his predecessor, as we have just seen, they were by 
no means deficient in them. But they were especially pro- 
ductive in those small objects of clay and stone, glass and 
metal, which in a welcome manner supplemented our know- 
ledge of the life and customs and daily needs of the ancient 
Assyrians. Place discovered no less than fourteen inscribed 
barrel cylinders with historical records. He found a regular 
magazine of pottery, another full of colored tiles, and a third 
containing iron implements of every description in such a 
fine state of preservation that several of them were used at 
once by his Arab workmen. He unearthed even the water- 
closets, the bakery and the " wine-cellar " of the king, the 
latter easily to be identified by a number of pointed jars 
resting in a double row of small holes on the paved floor, 
and discharging a strong smell of yeast after the first rain 
had dissolved their red sediments. 

Unlike Botta, who, after his great discovery, most natu- 
rally had concentrated all his energy upon a systematic 
exploration of the mound of Khorsabad, Place made repeated 
excursions into the regions to the east and south of Mosul, 
examining many of the smaller mounds with which the whole 
country is covered, and excavating for a few months without 
success at Qal'at Shirgat, the large Tell Shemamyk (about 
halfway between the Upper Zab and Krbil, to the south- 
west of the latter) and even in the neighborhood of Nimrud, 
which had yielded such extraordinary treasures to Lavard/ 
About the same time Knglish excavations were carried on 
bv Rassam, in the ruins just mentioned, under Rawlinson's 
direction, the Ottoman firman having granted to both the 
French and British governments the right of excavating " in 
any ground belonging to the state." In consquence of this 

^ Comp. Lfttre de M. Place a M. Moh/ sur une Expedition faite a 
Arb'elci rdatcd Mosul, Nov. 20, 1852) in the Journal Asiatique^ scries 
iv., vol. XX. (1852), pp. 441-470. 


peculiar arrangement, the interests of the two European 
nations threatened frequently to clash against each other, a 
pardonable rivalry existing all the while between the differ- 
ent excavators, accompanied by a constant friction and ill- 
feeling among their workmen. This was particularly the 
case at Qal^at Shirgat, where Rawlinson " made a distinct 
and categorical assertion of the British claims," and at 
Qoyunjuk, where, at Place's request, he had apportioned 
the northern half of the mound to the French representa- 
tive — a compact which was later entirely ignored by Ras- 
sam on the ground that this mound was not state property, 
and that Rawlinson accordingly had no power to give away 
what did not belong to him/ 

Unfortunately, a large part of the antiquities excavated by 
Victor Place at Khorsabad met with a sad fate. Together 
with sixty-eight cases of the finest bas-reliefs from Ashur- 
banapal's palace at Qoyunjuk, which Rawlinson had allowed 
him to select for the Louvre, and including all the results of 
Fresnel's expedition to Babylon, they were lost on two rafts 
in the Tigris on their way from Baghdad to Basra in the 
spring of 1855. But notwithstanding this lamentable mis- 
fortune. Place was enabled to submit to the public all those 
results which he had previously brought on paper in another 
magnificent work published by his liberal government.^ 

The importance of all the discoveries at Khorsabad, 
brought about by the united eflx)rts of Botta, Flandin, and 
Place, cannot be overrated. The mounds under which the 
monuments had been buried for twenty-five hundred years 
represented a whole fortified town, called after its founder, 

^ Comp. the interesting story of these quarrels as told by Rassam, 
** Asshur and the Land of Nimrod,'* New York, 1897, pp. 7, 12-27 > ^^^ 
George Rawlinson, " Memoir of Major-General Sir Henry Crcswicke 
Rawlinson,** pp. 178, sr^^. 

^ Victor Place, Ninive et /' Assyrie, avec des essais de restaur ation far F, 
Thomas, 3 volumes, Paris, 1866-69. 


Sargon, the conqueror of Samaria (722 b. c), Dur-Sharruken 
or " Sargon's Castle." The walls by which the town was 
protected were found intact at their bases. They constituted 
a rectangular parallelogram, or nearly a square, pointing with 
its four corners to the cardinal points, and enclosing a space 
of a little over 741 acres. Its northwest side was interrupted 
by the royal palace, which, like a huge bastion, protruded 
considerably into the plain, at the same time forming part 
of the great town-wall. The latter was provided with eight 
monumental gates, each of which was named after an Assyrian 

The royal residence was erected on a lofty terrace, nearly 
forty-five feet high and built of unbaked bricks cased with 
a wall of large square stones. At the northern corner of 
this raised platform, covering an area of nearly twenty-five 
acres of land, was an open place ; near the western corner 
stood a temple, and at the centre of the southwest side rose 
the stage-tower belonging to it and used also for astronom- 
ical observations ; the rest was occupied by the palace itself. 
This latter was divided into three sections, the seraglio 
occupying the centre of the terrace and extending towards 
the plain ; the harem, with only two entrances, situated 
at the southern corner, and the domestic quarters at the 
eastern corner, connected with the store and provision 
rooms, the stables, kitchen, and bakery, at the centre of 
the southeast side. The seraglio, inhabited by the king 
and his large retinue of military and civil officers, like the 
other two sections of the extensive building, consisted of a 
great many larger and smaller rooms grouped around several 
open courts. The northwest wing contained the public 
reception rooms, — wide halls, elaborately decorated with 
winged bulls, magnificent sculptures and historical inscrip- 
tions, glorifying the king in his actions of peace and war. 
We see him hunting wild animals, doing homage to the 
gods, sitting at the table and listening to the singers and 



musicians, or attacking strong cities and castles, subduing 
foreign nations, punishing rebels, and leading back thou- 
sands of captives and innumerable spoil of every descrip- 
tion. The private apartments of the monarch, which were 
/ much smaller and simpler, occupied the southeast wing, 
close to the harem or women's quarter. The latter was 
entirely separated from the other two sections, even its 
single rooms, as the traces of discovered hinges indicate, 
being closed by folding doors, while everywhere else the 
entrances appear to have been covered with curtains. 

The floor of the different chambers as a rule was only 
stamped clay, upon which in many cases doubtless precious 
rugs had been spread. Here and there it was overlaid with 
tiles or marble blocks, which were especially employed for 
pavements in connection with courts and open spaces around 
the palace. The walls of the rooms, serving to exclude the 
intense heat of the summer, and to protect against the severe 
cold of the winter, were exceptionally thick. They varied 
between nine feet and a half and sixteen feet, and in one 
case reached the enormous thickness of even twenty-five 
feet and a half. Apart from the large reception rooms and 
gateways, which displayed all the splendor that Assyrian 
artists were able to give them, the inner walls were generally 
covered only with a white plaster surrounded by black lines, 
while the women's apartments were adorned more tastefully 
with fresco paintings and white or black arabesques. Marble 
statues as a decorative element were found exclusively in 
the principal court of the harem. The exterior of the palace 
walls exhibited a system of groups of half-columns, separated 
by dentated recesses or chasings, — the prevailing type of 
ancient Babylonian external architecture, as we shall see 

It is impossible to enter into all the characteristic features 
which this remarkable complex must have presented to 
Sargon and his people, and as a careful study of the whole 


monument allowed Place and others gradually to restore it. 
The Assyrian architecture, previously completely unknown, 
appeared suddenly before us in all the details of a sumptu- 
ous building, adorned with sculptures and paintings which 
lead us back into the midst of Assyrian life during the 
eighth pre-Christian century. We get acquainted with the 
occupations of the king and his subjects, their customs, their 
pleasures, their mode of living, their religion, their art, and 
part of their literature. With great astonishment, artists 
and scholars began to realize how high a standard this people 
in the East had reached at a time when Europe as a whole 
was still in a state of barbarism. With extraordinary en- 
thusiasm, students of philology and history welcomed the 
enormous mass of authentic material, which, in the hands of 
Rawlinson, Hincks, and Oppert, was soon to shed a flood 
of new light upon the person and reign and language of that 
great warrior, Sargon, so far known only by name from a 
statement in Isaiah (20 : i), and upon the whole history and 
geography of Western Asia shrouded in darkness, and which, 
by its constant references to names and events mentioned in 
the Bible, was eagerly called upon as an unexpected witness 
to test the truthfulness of the Holy Scriptures. There have 
been made other and even greater discoveries in Assyrian 
and Babylonian ruins since Botta's far-reaching exploration 
of the mounds of Khorsabad, but there never has been 
aroused again such a deep and general interest in the exca- 
vation of distant Oriental sites as towards the middle of 
the last century, when Sargon's palace rose suddenly out 
of the ground, and furnished the first faithful picture of a 
great epoch of art which had vanished completely from 
human sight. 




The eagerness and determination of the scholar to de- 
cipher and understand those long cuneiform inscriptions 
which, like a commentary, accompanied the monuments of 
Khorsabad, could be satisfied only after the whole material 
had arrived and been published. In the meanwhile the 
new impulse given to archaeological studies by the announce- 
ment of Botta's success manifested itself at once in influ- 
encing a young Englishman to imitate the latter's example, 
and to start excavations at one of the most prominent 
Assyrian mounds, which, even two years before Botta's 
arrival at Mosul, he had viewed " with the design of thor- 
oughly examining them whenever it might be in his power." 
The man who now, as England's champion, stepped forth 
into the international contest for great archaeological discov- 
eries was so exceptionally qualified and prepared for his 
task by natural gifts and the experience of his past life, and 
at the same time so eminently successful in the choice of 
his methods and men, in the overcoming of extraordinary 
obstacles and difficulties, in the rapid obtaining of the most 
glorious results, and in the forcible and direct manner with 
which through the remarkable story of his rare achievements 
he appealed to the heart of his countrymen and to the 
sentiment of the whole educated world, that he at once 
became, and during the whole nineteenth century remained, 
the central figure of Assyrian exploration. 

Sir Austen Henry Layard, the descendant of a Huguenot 
refugee who had settled in England, was born in Paris on 
March 5, 1817. In consequence of his father's illness, 
which frequently necessitated a change of climate, he spent 
much of his boyhood in France, Switzerland, and Italy, 
where, with all the deficiencies of a desultory and highly cos- 
mopolitan education, he acquired a taste for the fine arts 


and archaeology, and that characteristic love for travel and 
adventure which prepared him so well for his later nomadic 
life and career as an explorer. When about sixteen years 
of age he was sent to the house of his uncle in London to 
study law. But, to quote his own words, " after spending 
nearly six years in the office of a solicitor, and in the cham- 
bers of an eminent conveyancer, I determined for various 
reasons to leave England and to seek a career elsewhere." 
From his childhood well acquainted with several European 
languages, and familiar with the manners of men in various 
European lands, he now longed to see the fascinating Orient 
itself, the Jand of the " Arabian Nights," which had often 
inflamed his youthful mind. With the greatest eagerness 
he had devoured every volume of Eastern travel that fell 
in his way. The reading of the works of Morier, Malcolm, 
and Rich, and the personal acquaintance with men like 
Baillie Eraser (comp. pp. 54, seqq.y above) and Sir Charles 
P'ellowes, favorably known from his discoveries among the 
ruined cities of Asia Minor, had inspired him with an ardent 
desire to follow in their footsteps. In order to prepare him- 
self for his journey, he had mastered the Arabic letters, 
picked up a little of the Persian language, taken lessons in 
the use of the sextant from a retired captain of the mer- 
chant service, and even hastily acquired a superficial medical 
knowledge of the treatment of wounds and certain Oriental 

In the company of another enthusiastic traveller, E. L. 
Mitford, who, like Layard himself,* has left us a narrative 

^ Comp. Layard, ** Early Adventures in Persia, Susiana, and Babylonia, 
including a Residence among the Bakhtiyari and other Wild Tribes before 
the Di>cover\' of Nineveh,*' ist ed., London, 1887, 2 vols. The second 
edition (London, 1894, 1 vol. )» an abridgment of the first, and omitting a 
description of the countries through which Layard and Mitford travelled 
together, has an introductory chapter on the author's life and work by his 
survix-ing friend. Lord Aberdare. 


of this first interesting journey/ the latter finally set out 
upon his "Early Adventures" in the summer of 1839, 
" with the intention of making his way through Turkey, 
Asia Minor, Syria, Persia, and India to Ceylon," where he 
expected to establish himself permanently. Not without 
difficulties and troublesome incidents the two associates 
reached Jerusalem in January, 1840, where they separated 
for a little while, Mitford declining to join in the perilous 
excursion to the ruins of Petra, Ammon, and Jerash, which 
Layard, passionately fond of adventures, undertook alone. 
Two months later he reached Aleppo, whence, together 
with Mitford, he travelled to Mosul and Baghdad- During 
their brief stay at the former place, the two travellers met 
Ainsworth, a prominent member of the British Euphrates 
Expedition,^ and Christian Rassam, brother of the later 
faithful friend and assistant of Layard, with both of whom 
they visited the ruins of Nineveh, Hammam *Ali, Qal^at 
Shirgat, and El-Hadhr. It was in the month of April, 
1840, in connection with this excursion down the western 
bank of the Tigris, that Layard, from an artificial eminence, 
for the first time looked upon the line of lofty mounds on 
the other side of the river, called Nimrud, where but shortly 
afterwards he was to raise " a lasting monument to his own 

Mitford and Layard travelled together as far as Hama- 
dan, whence on August 8 of the same year they finally 
parted, the former to continue his long and difficult journey 
to Kandahar, and the latter to engage in his adventurous life 
and perilous wanderings among the wild tribes of Persia and 
*Iraq, until two years later, when we find him again at Mosul, 

^ Edward Ledwich Mitford, «* A Land- March from England to Ceylon 
Forty Years Ago, through Dalmatia, Montenegro, Turkey, Asia Minor, 
Syria, Palestine, Assyria, Persia, Afghanistan, Scinde, and India," London, 
1884, 2 vols. 

' Comp. pp. 57, st'^g., above. 


Stopping there for a little while on his way from Baghdad 
to Constantinople. Botta had meanwhile been appointed 
French consular agent, and tentatively cut a trench or two 
in the mound of Qoyunjuk. The two famous explorers 
met then and there — June, 1 842 — for the first time, the 
one on the fair road to a great discovery, the other so far 
disappointed in his efforts to raise the necessary funds for 
similar excavations. Brief as this first meeting was, it formed 
the beginning of a friendly intercourse between the two 
great men, Layard, free from envy and jealousy, always 
encouraging Botta in his labors, and particularly calling his 
attention to Nimrud, the one place above others which he 
himself so eagerly desired to explore, when the paucity of 
results at Qoyunjuk threatened to dishearten his lonely 

Robbed as he frequently was, and exposed to hardships 
and dangers of every kind, repeatedly even at the point of 
losing his life, Layard never ceased to " look back with 
feelings of grateful delight to those happy days when, free 
and unheeded, we left at dawn the humble cottage or 
cheerful tent, and lingering as we listed, unconscious of dis- 
tance and of the hour, found ourselves as the sun went 
down under some hoary ruin tenanted by the wandering 
Arab, or in some crumbling village still bearing a well- 
known name. No experienced dragoman measured our 
distances and appointed our stations. We were honored 
with no conversations by pashas, nor did we seek any civil- 
ities from governors. We neither drew tears nor curses 
from villagers by seizing their horses, or searching their 
houses for provisions: their welcome was sincere; their 
scanty fare was placed before us ; we ate and came and went 
in peace." 

At a time when every moment the chronic dispute as to 
the actual boundary line between Turkey and Persia threat- 
ened to lead to a serious war which might prove detrimental 


to British interests in those countries, Layard's intimate 
knowledge of the territory in dispute proved of great value 
to Sir Stratford Canning (afterwards Lord Stratford de Red- 
clifFe), then British ambassador at the Porte in Constanti- 
nople, whither our traveller had hastened. Though for 
apparent political reasons the Russian point of view was 
finally accepted by England, much against Canning's pro- 
test and his own very decided conviction, Layard had found 
in this man of influence a liberal patron, who during the fol- 
lowing years entrusted him with many important missions, 
endeavoring all the time to have him definitely attached to 
his staff. While thus waiting at the shore of the Bosphorus 
for a much coveted position, Layard remained in regular 
correspondence with Botta, whose reports and drawings he 
received before they were published. The latter's unex- 
pected brilliant success at Khorsabad brought him new 
encouragement for his own plans, and increased his hope 
and desire to return on some future day to Mesopotamia 
and excavate the ruins of Nineveh. With his mind firmly 
fixed upon this one object of his life, he commenced " the 
study of the Semitic languages, to which I conjectured the 
cuneiform inscriptions from the Assyrian ruins belonged."^ 
But when he saw Sir Stratford making arrangements for a 
temporary return to England, he became tired of waiting 
longer for his promised attacheship, and one day spoke to 
the latter of his ardent desire to examine the mounds near 
Mosul. To his great delight, his generous patron not only 
approved of his suggestion, but offered j[6o (=$3CX)) towards 
the expenses which would be incurred in making tentative 

^ Comp. ** Early Adventures," zd edition, p. 409. We quote the 
above statement literally, in order to show that Layard, with his well-known 
intuition, divined the truth later established, even before Lowenstein ex- 
pressed the same thought in his Essai de dechiffrement de V Eeriture Assyrienne 
pour servir a P explication du Monument de Khorsabad y Paris and Leipzig, 
1845, pp. 12, seq. 


excavations. Who was happier than Layard ! Without a 
servant, and without any other effects than a pair of large 
saddle-bags, but with a cheerful heart, and, above all, with 
this modest sum in his pocket, increased by a few pounds 
from his own meagre resources, Jhe started in October, 1845, l/^ 
to excavate Nineveh. How eagerly Layard turned his face 
towards the place in which all his hopes had centred for 
the past five years we may easily infer from the fact that, 
like a Tartar, he travelled by day and night without rest, 
crossing the mountains of Kurdistan and galloping over the 
plains of Assyria, until he reached Mosul, twelve days after 
his departure from Samsun. 

First Expeduion^ 1845-184J. Profiting by the experi- 
ence of Botta, Layard deemed it best for the time being to 
conceal the real object of his journey from the ill-disposed 
governor and the inhabitants of Mosul. On the 8th of 
November, having secretly procured a few tools, he left the 
town with "guns, spears, and other formidable weapons," 
ostensibly to hunt wild boars in a neighboring district. 
Accompanied by Mr. Ross, a British resident merchant, 
who in many ways facilitated the work of our explorer during 
his long stay in Assyria, and by a mason and two servants, 
he floated down the Tigris on a small raft, reaching Nimrud 
the same night. With six untrained Arabs, he commenced 
work at two difl^erent points of the ruins on the following 
morning. Like the mounds of Khorsabad, the ruins of 
Nimrud represent a clearly defined rectangular parallelo- ' 
gram, rising above the ground as a plateau of considerable 
height and extent, and pointing with its two smaller sides to 
the north and south respectively. A lofty cone, from the 
distance strikingly resembling a mountain of volcanic origin, 
and constituting the most characteristic feature of this 
conglomeration of furrowed hills, occupies their northwest 
corner. During the early spring the whole mound is 
clothed with a luxuriant growth of grass and many-colored 


flowers. Black Arab tents and herds of grazing sheep, 
watched by the youngest members of some Bedouin tribe, 
are scattered over the ruins, relieving the monotony of the 
region for a few months. But when the rays of the sun 
and the scorching winds from the desert have turned the 
pleasant picture of a short but cheerful life again into a 
parched and barren waste, the human eye wanders unob- 
structed over the whole plateau, meeting numerous frag- 
ments of stone and pottery ever)'^where. 

The absence of all vegetation in November enabled Lay- 
ard to examine the remains with which the site was covered 
without difficulty. Following up the result of this general 
survey, which convinced him " that sculptured remains must 
still exist in some part of the mound," he placed three of his 
workmen at a spot near the middle of the west side of the 
ruins, and the other three at the southwest corner. Before 
night interrupted their first day's labors, they had partly 
excavated two chambers lined with alabaster slabs, all of which 
bore cuneiform inscriptions at their centres. The slabs from 
the chamber in the northwest section of the mound were in 
a fine state of preservation, while those from the southwest 
corner evidently had been exposed to intense heat, which 
had cracked them in every part. Remains of extensive 
buildings had thus been brought to light within a few hours. 
Soon afterwards it became apparent that Layard had dis- 
covered two Assyrian palaces on the very first day of his 

Exceedingly pleased with these unexpected results, Lay- 
ard established his headquarters at once in the least ruined 
house of a deserted village which was only twenty minutes' 
walk from the scene of his labors. On the next morning 
he increased his force by five Turcomans from Selamiye, 
situated three miles farther up the river, a place to which he 
had soon to remove himself in consequence of the hazards 
of the region around Nimrud. On the third day he opened 


a trench in the high conical mound at the northwest corner, 
but finding nothing but fragments of inscribed brick, little 
appreciated in those early days of Assyrian exploration, he 
abandoned this section again, and concentrated his eleven 
men for the next time upon the southwest corner of the 
ruins, " where the many ramifications of the building already 
identified promised speedier success." A few days later he 
hurried to Mosul to acquaint the pasha with the object of 
his researches. A tiny piece of gold-leaf, recently discovered 
at Nimrud, had already found its way into the writing-tray 
of the latter, and roused his suspicion. Other signs indi- 
cated that a formidable opposition was gradually forming to 
prevent English excavations. Layard, not protected by a 
firman from the Sultan, recognized what was coming. But 
as the governor, whose greediness had reduced the whole 
province to utter poverty and lawlessness, had not as yet 
openly declared against his proceedings, our explorer lost 
no time to push his researches as much as possible. He 
sent agents to several conspicuous ruins between the Tigris 
and the Zab, " in order to ascertain the existence of sculp- 
tured buildings in some part of the country," at the same 
time increasing his own party to thirty men at the south- 
west corner of Nimrud. It was soon found that the inscrip- 
tions on all the slabs so far exposed were identical with those 
unearthed in the northwest building, and that in every case 
a few letters had been cut away at the edges in order to 
make the stones fit into the wall. " From these facts it 
became evident that materials taken from another building 
had been used " in the construction of the one which Layard 
was exploring. No sculptures, however, had so far been 

Winter rains were now setting in, and the excavations 
proceeded but slowly. The hours given to rest in the 
miserable hovel at Selamiye were spent most uncomfort- 
ably. The roofs of the house were leaking, and a perfect 


torrent descended on the floor and the rug on which the 
explorer was lying. " Crouched up in a corner, or under a 
rude table," which was surrounded by trenches to carry off 
the accumulating water, he usually passed the night on these 
occasions. Finally, on the 28th of November, after he had 
ordered to clear the earth away from both sides of newly 
exposed slabs, the first bas-reliefs were discovered. Layard 
and his Arabs were equally excited, and notwithstanding a 
violent shower of rain, they worked enthusiastically until 
dark. But their joy did not last very long ; the next day 
the governor of Mosul closed the excavations at Nimrud. 
French jealousy, Mohammedan prejudices, and the pasha's 
own ill-will were equally responsible for this unfortunate 
result. There remained nothing for Layard but to acquiesce. 
At his own request, however, a qaww^s was sent to the 
mounds as representative of the Ottoman government, while 
he pretended only to draw the sculptures and copy the in- 
scriptions which had already been uncovered. It was not 
difficult for him to induce this officer to allow the employ- 
ment of a few workmen to guard the sculptures during the 
dav. In reality, they were sent to different sections of the 
mound to search for other sculptures and inscribed monu- 
ments. The experiment was very successful. Without 
being interrupted in his attempt, Layard uncovered several 
large figures, uninjured by fire, near the west edge, a crouch- 
ing lion at the southeast corner, the torsos of a pair of 
gigantic winged bulls, two small winged lions, likewise muti- 
lated, and a human figure nine feet high, in the centre of 
the mound. Though only detached and unconnected walls 
had been found so far, " there was no longer any doubt of 
the existence not only of sculptures and inscriptions, but 
even of vast edifices, in the interior of the mound of Nim- 
rud." Nearly six weeks of undivided attention and constant 
exposure to hardships had been devoted to the exploration 
of the ruins. Layard now decided to lose no more time in 


opening new trenches, but to inform Sir Stratford Canning 
how successfully the first part of his mission had been car- 
ried through, and to urge " the necessity of a firman, which 
would prevent any future interference on the part of the 
authorities or the inhabitants of the country." 

Towards the end of 1 845 — about the time when this 
letter was written — one of the chief obstacles to archaeo- 
logical research in Assyria for the time being was suddenly 
removed. The old governor was replaced by an enlightened, 
just, and tolerant officer of the new school. With a view 
of quietly awaiting the beneficial result of this radical change 
in the administration for the province as a whole, and for 
his own work at Nimrud, Layard covered over the sculp- 
tures brought to light, and withdrew altogether from the 
ruins. He descended the Tigris on a raft, and spent Christ- 
mas with Major Rawlinson, whom he desired to consult 
concerning the arrangements to be made for the removal of 
the sculptures at a future period. The two great English 
pioneers met then for the first time. "It was a happy 
chance which brought together twp such men as Layard 
and Rawlinson as laborers at the same time and in the same 
field, but each with his special task — each strongest where 
the other was weakest — Layard, the excavator, the effec- 
tive task-master, the hard-working and judicious gatherer 
together of materials ; and Rawlinson, the classical scholar, 
the linguist, the diligent student of history, the man at once 
of wide reading and keen insight, the cool, dispassionate 
investigator and weigher of evidence. The two men mutu- 
ally esteemed and respected each other, and they were readv 
to assist each other to the utmost of their power.'' ^ 

At the beginning of January, 1846, Layard returned to 
Mosul. The change since his departure had been as sudden 
as great. A few conciliatory acts on the part of the new 

* Comp. George Rawlinson, ** A Memoir of Major-Gcneral Sir Henry 
Creswickc Rawlinson," London, 1898, p. 152. 


governor had quickly restored confidence among the inhab- 
itants of the province. Even the Bedouins were returning 
to their old camping grounds between the Tigris and Zab, 
from which for a long while they had been excluded. The 
incessant winter rains had brought forward the vegetation of 
the spring, and the surface and sides of Nimrud were clothed 
in a pleasing green. Security having been established in 
this part of the country, the mound itself now offered a 
more convenient and more agreeable residence to Layard 
than the distant village of Selamiye. Accompanied by a 
number of workmen and by Hormuzd Rassam, an intelli- 
gent Chaldean Christian and brother of the British vice- 
consul at Mosul, who henceforth acted as his reliable agent 
and overseer, he therefore moved at once to his new dwell- 
ing-place at Nimrud. The polite governor had offered no 
objection to the continuation of his labors, but another 
month elapsed before he could venture to resume his ex- 
cavations. For the q&di of Mosul once more had stirred 
up the people of the town against the explorer, so that it 
was found necessary to postpone work until the storm had 
passed away. 

It was near the middle of February before Layard could 
make some fresh experiments at the southwest corner of 
the mound. Slab after slab was exposed, by which it was 
proved that " the building had not been entirely destroyed 
by fire, but had been partly exposed to gradual decay." 
But in order to arouse the necessary interest in England, 
he needed much better preserved sculptures. Abandoning, 
therefore, the edifice, which until then had received his 
principal attention, he placed the workmen at the centre of 
a ravine which ran far into the west side of the mound, near 
the spot where he had previously unearthed the first com- 
plete monuments. His labors here were followed by an 
immediate success. He came upon a large hall, in which 
all the slabs were not only in their original position, but in 


the finest state of preservation. It soon became evident that 
he had found the earliest palace of Nimrud, from which -^ 
many of the sculptures employed in the construction of the 
southwest building had been quarried. 

On the morning following these discoveries he rode to 
the encampment of a neighboring shaikh, and was return- 
ing to his trenches, when he observed two Arabs of the 
latter's tribe " urging their mares to the top of their speed. 
On approaching him they stopped. * Hasten, O Bey,' 
exclaimed one of them ; * hasten to the diggers, for they 
have found Nimrod himself. .. Wallah, it is wonderful, but 
it is true ! we have seen him with our eyes. There is no 
God but God ; ' and both joining in this pious exclama- 
tion, they galloped off without further words in the direc- 
tion of their tents." On reaching the ruins, he ascertained 
that the workmen had discovered the enormous human . . 
head of one of those winged lions which now adorn thei/ 
British Museum. An equally well preserved corresponding 
figure was disclosed before nightfall about twelve feet away 
in the rubbish, both forming the southern entrance into a 
chamber. Unfortunately " one of the workmen, on catching 
the first glimpse of the monster, had thrown down his 
basket and run off towards Mosul as fast as his legs could 
carry him. . . . He had scarcely checked his speed before 
reaching the bridge. Entering breathless into the bazaars, 
he announced to every one he met that Nimrod had ap- 
peared." The result of this unexpected occurrence became 
quickly apparent. The governor, " not remembering very 
clearly vyhether Nimrod was a true-believing prophet or an 
infidel,*' sent a somewhat unintelligible message "to the 
efl^ect that the remains should be treated with respect, and be 
by no means further disturbed, and that he wished the exca- 
vations to be stopped at once/' This was practically the 
last interference with Layard's work on the part of the 
Mohammedan population. In accordance with the official 


request, the operations were discontinued until the general 
excitement in the town had somewhat subsided. Only two 
workmen were retained, who by the end of March discov- 
ered a second pair of winged human-headed lions, differing 
considerably in form from those previously unearthed, but 
likewise covered with very fine cuneiform inscriptions. Not 
many days afterwards, the much desired firman was finally 
received from Constantinople. It was as comprehensive as 
possible, "authorizing the continuation of the excavations, 
and the removal of such objects as might be discovered." 

One of the greatest diflicuj^es so far encountered had now 
disappeared completely. Still; the necessary financial support 
was wanting, and Layard had to pursue his researches as best 
he could with the rapidly decreasing small means at his dis- 
posal. But bold as he was, and thoroughly enjoying the newly 
obtained privilege, he began at that very time to cut his first 
tentative trenches into the mound of Qgji^nuik, opposite 
Mosul. Notwithstanding all his poverty, and regardless of 
the French consul's unwarranted opposition, he continued 
his excavations on the southern face, where the mourui was 
highest, for about a month, until he had convinced himself, 
from fragments of sculptures and inscribed bricks, "that the 
remains were those of a building contemporary, or nearly 
so, with Khorsabad, and consequently of a more recent 
epoch than the most ancient palace of Nimrud." Mean- 
while, the almost intolerable heat of the Assyrian summer 
had commenced. Hot winds and flights of locusts soon 
destroyed what had been left of the green plants of the 
desert and the few patches of cultivation along the river. 
Yet Layard felt little inclined to yield to circumstances 
which drove even the Bedouins into more northern dis- 
tricts. He was still under the refreshing influence of a brief 
visit which, with a cheerful party of Christian and Moham- 
medan ladies and gentlemen from Mosul, he had paid to 
the principal shaikh of the Shammarand to the lonely ruins 


of El-Hadhr, on the west side of the Tigris, during the 
recent suspension of his work. No wonder, then, that, after 
his excavations at Qoyunjuk, he returned to Nimrud again, 
and with about thirty men resumed his examination of the 
contents and extent of the large northwest building, which 
had previously furnished the well-preserved monuments. 
His Arabs, standing completely under the spell of his per- 
sonal magnetism, seemed to feel as much interest in the 
objects disclosed as their enthusiastic master. As each head 
of all these strange figures was uncovered, " they showed 
their amazement by extravagant gestures or exclamations of 
surprise. If it was a bearded man, they concluded at once 
that it was an idol or ay/>/, and cursed or spat upon it. If 
a eunuch, they declared that it was the likeness of a beau- 
tiful female, and kissed or patted the cheek." 

By the end of July so many fine bas-reliefs had been 
discovered in this building that Layard decided to make an 
eflFort to send a representative collection to England. Raw- 
linson's attempt at despatching the small steamer Nitocris, 
commanded by Felix Jones, directly to Nimrud for their 
embarkation to Baghdad, failed. Layard was therefore 
obliged to follow Botta's example and forward the smaller 
sculptures, the weight of which was reduced by cutting from 
the back, on a raft to Basra, which they reached safely some 
time in August. The explorer's health began now visibly 
to suffer from continual exposure to the excessive heat. A 
week's stay at Mosul, during which he discovered a gate- 
way flanked by two mutilated winged figures and cuneiform 
inscriptions with the name of Sennacherib in the northern 
boundary wall of Qoyunjuk, seemed to have refreshed him 
sufficiently to warrant his return to Nimrud. He uncov- 
ered the tops of many more slabs, bearing either similar 
sculptures or having only the usual inscription across them ; 
but before August was over it was very evident that he 
required a cooler climate to regain his former vigor. Leav- 


ing, therefore, a few guards at the mound to protect his 
antiquities, and accompanied by Rassam and a few servants 
and irregular soldiers, he departed to the Tiyari Mountains, 
to the north of Mosul. The next two months were given 
entirely to rest and to his old favorite wanderings among 
the mountains and valleys of Kurdistan. The beautiful 
scenery and the exhilarating climate of these romantic dis- 
tricts, in which Kurdish tribes, Chaldean Christians, and 
the remarkable sect of the Yezidis or "Worshippers of the 
Devil," followed each their peculiar habits and interesting 
customs, soon completely restored him to health. 

Towards the end of October, after his return from an 
expedition into the Sinjar Mountains, on which he had 
accompanied the pasha of Mosul and his soldiers, we find 
him again in the trenches of Nimriid. Important changes 
had taken place during his absence with regard to the char- 
acter of his excavations. So far they had been conducted 
as a private undertaking for the account of Sir Stratford 
Canning. Letters were now received from England advis- 
ing him that the latter had presented the sculptures dis- 
covered in Assyrian ruins, together with all the privileges 
connected with the imperial firman, to the British nation. 
In consequence of this generous act of the ambassador, a 
grant of funds had been placed at the disposal of the British 
Museum " for the continuation of the researches commenced 
at Nimrud and elsewhere.'* This part of the news was 
encouraging, but, alas, the grant was very small, consider- 
ably smaller than the sum given by the French government 
to Botta for the exploration of Khorsabad. And the British 
grant was to include even " private expenses, those of car- 
riage, and many extraordinary outlays inevitable in the 
East." But though the funds were scarcely adequate to the 
objects in view, Layard accepted the charge of superintend- 
ing the excavations, and made every exertion to procure 
as many antiquities as possible. In the interest of science 


it remains a cause of deep regret that after his great dis- 
coveries, Layard did not at once find the same hearty 
support in England as his more fortunate French colleague 
so speedily had obtained in Paris. Not even an artist was 
despatched to draw the sculptures and copy the inscriptions, 
though many of the monuments " were in too dilapidated a 
condition to be removed," and though Layard " had neither 
knowledge nor experience as a draughtsman, — a disquali- 
fication which he could scarcely hope to overcome." He 
was thus practically prevented by his own government from 
making a methodical exploration of Nimrud. And this 
lack of method, system, and thoroughness unfortunately 
remained a characteristic feature of most of the following »/ 
English excavations in Assyrian and Babylonian ruins, — a 
lack felt by nobody more keenly than by Layard, Loftus, 
and all the other great British explorers. Let us hear what 
Layard himself has to say on this system of unscientific pil- 
lage, justified to a certain degree only at the beginning of 
his excavations, but entirely to be condemned as soon as 
they were carried on under the auspices of a great nation. 
**The smallness of the sum placed at my disposal com- 
pelled me to follow the same plan in the excavations that I 
had hitherto adopted — viz.y to dig trenches along the sides 
of the chambers, and to expose the whole of the slabs, with- 
out removing the earth from the centre. Thus, few of the 
chambers were fully explored, and many small objects of 
great interest may have been left undiscovered. As I was 
directed to bury the building with earth after I had explored 
it, to avoid unnecessary expense I filled up the chambers 
with the rubbish taken from those subsequently uncovered, 
having first examined the walls, copied the inscriptions, and 
drawn the sculptures." From many other similar passages 
in his books we quote only the following two, in which he 
complains : " As the means at my disposal did not warrant 
anv outlay in making more experiments without the promise 



of the discovery of something to carry away, I felt myself 
compelled, much against my inclination, to abandon the 
excavations in this part of the mound, after uncovering 
portions of two chambers." Or again : " If, after carrying 
a trench to a reasonable depth and distance, no remains of 
sculpture or inscription appeared, I abandoned it and re- 
newed the experiment elsewhere." 

In view of the unsatisfactory manner in which the exca- 
vations at Nimrud were now conducted, it would be an 
exceedingly unpleasant task to follow Layard into all the 
different trenches which he cut at many parts of the mound 
for no other purpose than to obtain the largest possible 
number of well-preserved objects of art at the least possible 
outlay of time and money. The winter season was fast 
approaching. In order to protect himself sufficiently against 
the dangers of the climate and the thievish inclinations 
of the marauding Bedouins, he constructed his own house 
in the plain near the ruins, and settled the Arab workmen 
with their families and friends around this temporary abode. 
Fifty strong Nestorian Christians, who wielded the pickaxe 
in the trenches, were quartered with their wives and children 
in a house on the mound itself. By the first of November 
the excavations were recommenced on a large scale at dif- 
ferent sections : at the northwest and southwest buildings, in 
the centre of the mound, near the gigantic bulls mentioned 
above ; in the southeast corner, where no walls as yet had 
been discovered, and in other parts of the ruins hitherto 
unexamined. The first six weeks following this new arrange- 
ment " were amongst the most prosperous and fruitful in 
events " during all his researches in Assyria. Scarcely a 
day passed by without some new and important discovery. 
The trenches carried to a considerable depth in the south- 
east corner yielded at first nothing but inscribed bricks and 
pottery and several clay coffins of a late period ; but those 
in the southwest palace brought to light a number of very 


valuable antiquities. Among other relics of the past, Layard 
found a crouching lion in alabaster, a pair of winged lions 
in a coarse limestone, the bodies of two lions carved out of 
one stone and forming a pedestal ; the statues of two exqui- 
site but crumbling sphinxes, and several interesting bas-reliefs 
uniting the head of an eagle or a lion with the body and arms 
of a man. He could now definitely prove that the slabs 
hitherto found in this section of the mound, and originally 
chiefly brought from the northwest edifice, were never meant 
to be exposed to view in the later palace. " They were, in 
fact, placed against the wall of sun-dried bricks, and the 
back of the slab, smoothed preparatory to being resculp- 
tured, was turned towards the interior of the chambers." In 
order to ascertain, therefore, the name of the king who built 
this palace, he had to dig behind the slabs. By continu- 
ing his researches in this new light, he soon found cuneiform 
inscriptions which bore the name of Ksarhaddon, king of 
Assyria (2 Kings 19:37). 

Important as all these discoveries turned out to be, they 
were far surpassed by his finds in two other sections of 
the ruins. In the largest room of the northwest palace, 
which apparently had served as the royal reception hall, 
a series of the most beautiful and most interesting sculp- 
tures were brought to light, glorifying King Ashurnasirapal 
(885—860 B. c.) in war and peace. All the scenes are real- 
istic and full of life, executed with great care and spirit. 
Here the monarch is followed by his warriors, himself stand- 
ing in a chariot and discharging arrows, while enemies are 
tumbling from their horses or falling from the turrets of a 
besieged city ; there, in a boat, he is crossing a river full of 
tortoises and fishes, and lined with date-groves and gardens ; 
then, again, he receives the prisoners, led by warriors and 
counted by scribes, or he is returning victoriously in pro- 
cession, followed by his army and preceded by musicians 
and standard-bearers, while above them fly vultures with 


human heads in their talons. In other smaller chambers 
close by the principal hall, Layard found a number of bot- 
tles in glass and alabaster, bearing the name and titles of 
Sargon, who lived 150 years later, and, furthermore, he 
rescued from the rubbish sixteen copper lions, having served 
as weights, and a large quantity of iron scales of Assyrian 
armor and several perfect helmets in copper, immediately 
falling to pieces, which in a welcome manner helped to 
interpret the sculptures on the walls. 

It was in the central building, however, that one of the 
most remarkable and important discoveries awaited the 
explorer. From a brick which apparently contained the 
genealogy of the builder,^ he concluded correctly at once 
that this third palace had been constructed by " the son of 
the founder of the earlier [northwest] edifice." He next 
came upon slabs with gigantic winged figures, and upon the 
fragments of a large winged bull in yellow limestone. The 
trench had reached the considerable length of fifty feet 
without yielding any valuable antiquity, and Layard was 
already planning to abandon his researches in this part of 
the mound as fruitless, when suddenly an obelisk of black 
marble, nearly seven feet high, lying on its side, but* in 
admirable preservation, was unearthed by his workmen. 
It was the famous obelisk of King Shalmaneser II. (860— 
825 B. c), who had erected this stele of victory in his 
palace to commemorate the leading military events of 
his government. Sculptured on all four sides, it shows 
twenty small bas-reliefs, and above, below, and between 
them 210 lines of cuneiform inscription, containing the 
interesting passage above the second series of reliefs: "I 
received the tribute of Jehu, son of Omri, silver, gold, etc." 
(comp. I Kings 19:16, seg.; 2 Kings, chaps. 9 and 10). 

^ As Layard was able to determine from the repeated occurrence of the 
two cuneiform signs for **son** and **king,** which even then had been 
recognized as such by the decipherers. 



separated by the sacred tree, various religious ceremonies, 
and elaborate scroll-work. Besides these larger monu- 
ments, he discovered numerous smaller objects of art, such 
as ivory ornaments betraying Egyptian origin or influence, 
three lions' paws in copper, diff^erent vases in clay and metal, 
and many baked bricks elaborately painted with animals, 
flowers, and cuneiform characters, which apparently had 
decorated the walls above the sculptures. 

In the ruins of the central edifice, which, with the north- 
west palace, had been used as a quarry to supply material 
for the southwest palace, he uncovered over one hundred 
sculptured slabs " packed in rows, one against the other," 
and " placed in a regular series, according to the subjects 
upon them." Nearly all the trenches which he opened in 
diff^erent parts of the mound, particularly, also, in the south- 
east corner and near the west edge, exposed to view traces 
of buildings, brick pavements, remains of walls and cham- 
bers, and fragments of sculptures. In his endeavor "to 
ascertain the nature of the wall surrounding the inner 
buildings," he found it to be nearly fifty feet thick, con- 
structed of sun-dried bricks, and in its centre containing the 
first Assyrian arch ever discovered. 

Until the end of April, thirteen pairs of the gigantic 
winged bulls and lions and several fragments of others had 
rewarded his labors. The authorities in London, not contem- 
plating the removal of any of these enormous sculptures for 
the present, had determined that they " should not be sawn 
into pieces, to be put together again in Europe, as the pair 
of bulls sent from Khorsabad to Paris," but that they were 
to remain at Nimrud covered with earth, "until some favor- 
able opportunity of moving them entire might occur." But 
Layard was not the man to leave behind the most imposing 
of all the monuments unearthed, without making a serious 
eflx)rt to ship them. Accordingly he selected one of the 
best-preserved smaller bulls and a similar lion, and strained 


his brain and resources to the utmost to move them. With 
infinite toil and skill he succeeded.^ On the 22d of April, 
the two large monuments, with the finest bas-reliefs and 
above thirty cases of smaller objects found in the ruins, as a 
third cargo, left the mound on rafts for Basra, where they 
arrived safely, and were transshipped later to England. 
According to the instructions received from the trustees 
of the British Museum, the Assyrian palaces, which for a 
short while had been exposed to the light of day, as the 
last remains of the Biblical city of Calah (Gen. lo : ii), 
telling their wonderful stories of human glory and decay, 
were soon reburied." 

By the middle of' May, Layard had finished his work and 
left Nimrud. But he did not quit the banks of the Tigris 
without having opened trenches at two other ruins. In the 
course of the first months of 1 847, he had found an oppor- 
tunity to visit the mound of Qal^at Shirgat, notoriously dan- 
gerous as " a place of rendezvous for all plundering parties." 
A first general description of the ruins had been given by 
Ainsworth,^ with whom he had explored this neighborhood 
seven years before. The large extent of the mounds, which 
in size compare favorably with those of Nimrud and Qoyun- 
juk, and "a tradition current amongst the Arabs that strange 
figures carved in black stone still existed among the ruins," 
had excited his curiosity anew. He therefore sent a few 
gangs of Arab workmen down the river to excavate at 
the most promising points. Shortly afterwards he himself 
followed, spending two days at the ruins in company with a 
shaikh of the Jebur, who was in search of fresh pastures for 
the flocks of his tribe. The hasty excavations, carried on 

* Comp. the illustration facing p. 93. 

2 ** The present surface of Nimrud is a picture of utter destruction,** many 
of the slabs and sculptures which could not be removed being only half bur- 
ied. Comp. Sachau, Am Euphrat und Tigris ^ Leipzig, 1900, p. 105. 

• In the "Journal of the Royal Geographical Society," vol. xi. 


principally on the western side of the mound, brought to 
light only a mutilated but very interesting sitting figure in 
black basalt, of life size, and on three sides covered with a 
cuneiform inscription of Sh^lin aneser II., inscribed bricks 
of the same ruler, bits of boundary stones, fragments of slabs 
with cuneiform characters, and a few tombs with their usual 
contents belonging to a late period. Layard tried to have 
researches at this much exposed site continued under the 
superintendence of a Nestorian Christian, even after his de- 
parture, but repeated attacks from the Bedouins forced his 
workmen soon to withdraw. The sitting figure, as the first 
Assyrian statue discovered, was later sent by Mr. Ross, whom 
we have mentioned above, to London. 

A small sum of money still remained after Layard had 
closed his trenches at Nimrud. He proposed, therefore, 
to devote it to a renewed personal search for the ruins 
of Nineveh in the mounds opposite Mosul. The preju- 
dices of the Mohammedan population forbidding explora- 
tions at Nebi Yunus, as we have seen in connection with 
Botta's attempts, he devoted a month of concentrated 
attention to the mound of ^[oyunjuk, where he had cut a 
few trenches in the previous year. His Arab basket men 
pitched their tents on the summit of the mound, the Nes- 
torian diggers at its foot, while he himself spent the nights 
in the town and the days in the field. Well acquainted 
with the nature and position of Assyrian palaces as he was 
from his experience at Nimrud, he now set to work at first 
to discover the platform of sun-dried bricks upon which 
large edifices were generally constructed. At a depth of 
twenty feet he reached it, as he had expected. His next 
move was to open long trenches to its level in diflFerent 
directions near the southwest corner, until one morning 
the workmen came upon a wall, and following it, found an 
entrance formed by winged bulls, and leading into a hall. 
After four weeks' labor, nine long and narrow chambers of 


a large building destroyed by fire had beeti explored. In 
consequence of the conflagration most of the bas-reliefs, 
about ten feet high and from eight to nine feet wide, and 
four pairs of human-headed winged bulls, all of which had 
lined the walls, were reduced to lime. Perfect inscriptions 
were not very numerous, except on the bricks. But enough 
of the writing remained to show that Layard had discovered 
the fir5;f A<s<syrian paJace in the long-forgotten and rujned 
city of Nineveh. The monuments were too much destroyed 
to think or their removal. " A fisherman fishing with hook 
and line in a pond " was almost the only fragment of sculp- 
ture which Layard could send home as a first specimen 
of Assyrian art from Sennacher ib's palace at Nineveh. Two 
more chambers, several other slabs, and a fairly preserved 
boundary stone with a long inscription were soon afterwards 
discovered by Ross in another wing of the same building. 

On the 24th of June, 1847, Layard, accompanied by 
Rassam, left Mosul to return to Constantinople and Eng- 
land. The ruins which he had examined were, to quote his 
own words, " very inadequately explored." But with all 
his enthusiasm, energy, and constant exposure to dangers, 
he could do no better, considering the very small means at 
his disposal and the demands made upon him. After nearly 
two years of solid labor the tangible results were enormous._ 
He had identified the sites of the Biblical Calah (Nimrud) 
and Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire (in part 
represented by Qoyunjuk), as the inscriptions unearthed 
soon taught us. Moreover, he had discovered remains 
of no less than eight Assyrian palaces. At Nimrud, he 
found the northwest palace constructed bv Ashurnasirapal I. 
(885—860 B. c.),and, in part at least, restored and reoccupied 
by Sargon (722-705 b. c.) ; the central palace erected by Shal- 
maneser II. (860-825 b. c), and rebuilt almost entirely by 
the Biblical Pul or Tiglath-Pileser III. (745-727 b. c.) ; * 

* The great inscribed bulls and the black obelisk belonged to the older 




between these two, at the west edge of the mound, a smaller 
palace of Adadnirari III. (812-783 B.C.); in the southwest 
corner the palace of Esarhaddon (681-668 b. c), who largely 
employed older materials from the northwest and central 
palaces ; and in the southeast corner the insignificant remains 
of a building of Ashuretililani (after 626 b. c), grandson of 
Esarhaddon and one of the last rulers of the Assyrian empire. 
And in addition to these seven palaces at Calah, he had dis- 
covered and partly excavated the large palace of Sennacherib 
(705-681 B.C.) at Nineveh. Indeed, he had accomplished a 
glorious work — and a munificent gift from the British nation 
awaited him at home. "As a reward for my various ser- 
vices and for my discoveries, I was appointed an unpaid 
attache of Her Majesty's Embassy at Constantinople." ^ 

It was not until the spring of 1848 that Layard received 
orders to proceed to his new post in Turkey. The half- 
year immediately preceding his departure for the Bospho- 
rus was principally devoted to the preparation of the narra- 
tive ' of his first expedition, and to supervising the printing 
of the illustrations of the monuments ^ and of the copies of 
the inscriptions ^ recovered. These books, published during 
his absence from England, created an extraordinary impres- 
sion throughout Europe, far beyond anything he could ever 
have dreamed of. It was in particular his popular narrative, 

king, while the series of over one hundred slabs, representing battles and 
sieges, and arranged as if ready for removal (comp. p. 108), formed part of 
the decorations of the palace of Tiglath-Pileser III. 

^ Comp. Austen H. Layard, " Early Adventures in Persia, Susiana, and 
Babylonia," 2d ed., London, 1894, p. 426 (the closing words of the whole 
book ) . 

^ Layard, ** Nineveh and its Remains, a Narrative of a First Expedition 
to Nineveh,'* London, 1848. 

* Layard, ** The Monuments of Nineveh, from Drawings Made on the 
Spot," series i., 100 plates, London, 1849. 

* Layard, ** Inscriptions in the Cuneiform Character from Assyrian Mon- 
uments," 98 plates, London, 1851. 


written almost in the style of a fascinating novel, enlivened 
by the numerous stories of his difficulties and adventures, 
and interwoven with faithful accounts of the habits and cus- 
toms of many different tribes, which had a marvellous 
success with the public. Though entirely unfamiliar with 
the contents of the cuneiform inscriptions, he had a rare 
gift of combination, and he understood in a masterly manner 
how to interpret the sculptures on the walls of the Assyr- 
ian palaces, and to illustrate the Scriptures and profane 
writers from these long-buried sources. The pressure of 
public opinion was now brought to bear upon the British 
government. Before many months had passed, Layard 
received an urgent request from the British Museum to lead 
a second expedition to Nineveh, and he readily consented 
to go. 

Second Expeditioriy 184^—18^1. This time, Layard was 
better assisted and equipped with funds than previously. 
F. Cooper, a competent artist, had been selected to draw 
those bas-reliefs and sculptures which injury and decay had 
rendered unfit for removal, and Dr. Sandwith, a physician, 
who was on a visit to the Kast, was soon induced to join 
his party. Accompanied by these two Englishmen and by 
Hormuzd Rassam, his former faithful companion, he left 
Constantinople on the 28th of August, 1849, by a British 
steamer bound for the Black Sea. Three days later they 
disembarked and took the direct land route to Mosul via 
Krzerum and Lake Wan. On the first of October they 
were at Qoyunjuk again. Since Layard*s return to Europe 
in 1847, little had been done at these ruins. For a short 
while Mr. Ross, an English merchant of Mosul, had con- 
ducted excavations on a small scale, as mentioned above, 
and after his departure from the town, Christian Rassam, 
the British vice-consul, had placed a few workmen in the 
abandoned trenches at the request of the trustees of the 
British Museum, " rather to retain possession of the spot. 


and to prevent interference on the part of others, than to 
carry on extensive operations." By the middle of Octo- 
ber, Layard had finished the necessary preparations and 
resumed active work at the mound with a force of about 
one hundred men. In order to save time and labor he 
changed the method of excavating formerly employed. In- 
stead of carrying away all the rubbish from the surface down 
to the platform, he began to tunnel along the walls, sinking 
shafts at intervals to admit light, air, and the descending 
workmen, and " removing only as much earth as was neces- 
sary to show the sculptured walls." It is clear that under 
such circumstances the examination of the buried halls and 
chambers was even less thorough than it had been previ- 
ously at Nimrud, as their centres had to be left standing to 
prevent the narrow subterranean passages from collapsing 
under the pressure from above. Small objects of art were 
accordingly found very rarely, their discovery being due 
more to a fortunate accident than to a methodical search. 

As soon as the excavations in the mounds opposite 
Mosul had been fairly started, Layard and Hormuzd 
Rassam hurried to Nimrud, where operations were simulta- 
neously conducted until the end of spring, 1850. Work 
was resumed in the four principal sections of the mound 
which had yielded so many antiquities during the first expe- 
dition, but trenches were now also opened in the remaining 
parts of the ruins. It was particularly the high conical 
mound at the northwest corner and the adjacent northern 
edge of the large plateau which received greater attention 
than had hitherto been possible. One morning, shortly 
after his arrival, while ascending the mound, Layard found 
an unexpected visitor in his trenches. In glancing down- 
ward from the summit of the ruins, he discovered Rawlinson 
on the floor of an excavated chamber, " wrapped in his 
travelling cloak, deep in sleep, and wearied bv a long and 
harassing night's ride." After an absence of more than 


twenty-two years from England, this gallant officer was on 
his way home. Accompanied by a single servant, he had 
made the trip from Baghdad to Mosul, generally counted 
eight to twelve days, in less than seventy-two hours, a feat 
reminding us vividly of his famous ride between Poonah 
and Panwell,^ when still a young and ambitious lieutenant 
in India (1832). Unfortunately, in the present case, Raw- 
linson's extraordinary exertion, at a time when his health 
had suffered considerably from hard mental work and the 
effect of a semi-tropical climate, proved too much for his 
weakened constitution. For several days he was seriously 
ill at Mosul, unable to do more than to pay a hasty visit to 
Layard's excavations before his departure. 

The work at Qoyunjuk and Nimrud proceeded regularly 
under the supervision of efficient native overseers. No 
longer embarrassed by those difficulties and molestations 
from the governor and the inhabitants of the country which 
had taxed their patience and energy so often during the pre- 
vious campaign, Layard and Rassam spent their time gen- 
erally between the two places, unless absent on one of their 
numerous exploration tours to the Sinjar and the banks of 
the Khabur, to Khorsabad and Bavian, to the rock sculp- 
tures of Gunduk, and the cuneiform inscriptions of Wan, to 
the ruins of Babylon and NufFar, or to any of the different 
Assyrian sites in their immediate neighborhood. Follow- 
ing the example of Layard, who wisely abstained from 
relating, day by day, the further progress of his labors, we 
will now sketch briefly the principal discoveries which char- 
acterized the English operations in the two great ruins of 
Nineveh and Calah during the years 1849—51. 

The ruins of Qoyunjuk had practically been only scratched 
by Botta and Layard in their nervous attempts at disclos- 
ing sculptured remains in some part of the large mound. 
It was now decided to submit the whole complex to an 

^ Distance, 72 miles ; time occupied, 3 hours, 7 minutes. 

-* -"• M 


examination by experimental shafts and trial trenches, and 
to make the excavation of the southwest palace of Qoyunjuk 
the chief object of the present campaign. Like the south- 
west edifice at Nimrud, the latter had been destroyed by 
fire, when the Median armies, murdering and pillaging, 
entered the gates of Nineveh (606 b. c). Consequently, 
hundreds of the most elaborate sculptures were found 
cracked and broken, or almost entirely reduced to lime. 
Yet many had more or less escaped the results of the great 
conflagration, thus allowing the explorer to determine the 
spirited scenes which once adorned the walls of the principal 
chambers. Battles and victories, sieges and conquests, hunt- 
ing scenes and sacrifices to the gods, were again the leading 
representations. But in the general conception of the sub- 
ject, in the treatment of the costumes worn bv the Assvrian 

warriors, as well as by the subdued nations, in the character 
of the ornaments, in the arrangement of the inscriptions, 
and in many other important details, there is a marked dif- 
ference between the bas-reliefs in the palace of Sennacherib 
and those of the older palaces at Nimrud. There the sculp- 
tured slabs showed large figures or simple groups, divided 
into two friezes, an upper and a lower one, by intervening 


inscriptions, " the subject being frequently confined to one 
tablet, and arranged with some attempt at composition, so 
as to form a separate picture." Here the four walls of a 
chamber were generally adorned " by one series of sculp- 
tures, representing a consecutive history, uninterrupted by 
inscriptions, or by the divisions in the alabaster panelling." 
Short epigraphs or labels, as a rule placed on the upper part 
of the stones, give the names of the conquered country, city, 
and even of the principal prisoners and historical events 
pictured below. Hundreds of figures cover the face of the 
slabs from top to bottom. We become acquainted with 
the peculiarities, in type and dress, of foreign nations, and 
the characteristic features and products of their lands ; we are 
introduced into the very life and occupations of the persons 
represented. The sculptor shows us the Babylonian swamps 
with their jungles of tall reeds, frequented by wild boars, and 
barbarous tribes skimming over the waters in their light boats 
of wicker-work, exactly as they are used to-day by the inhab- 
itants of the same marshes ; or he takes us into the high 
mountains of Kurdistan, covered with trees and crowned with 
castles, endeavoring even to convey the idea of a valley by 
reversing the trees and mountains on one side of the stream, 
which is filled with fishes and crabs and turtles. He indi- 
cates the different headgear worn by female musicians, or 
by captive women carried with their husbands and children 
to Nineveh. Some wear their hair in long ringlets, some 
platted or braided, some confined in a net; others are char- 
acterized by hoods fitting close over their heads, others by 
a kind of turban ; Elamite ladies have their hair in curls 
falling on their shoulders, and bound above the temples by 
a band or fillet, while those from Syria wear a high conical 
headdress, similar to that which is frequently found to-day 
in those regions. It is impossible to enter into all the 
details so faithfully represented. Without the knowledge 
of a single cuneiform character, we learned the principal 


events of Sennacherib's government, and from a mere 
study of those sculptured walls we got familiar with the 
customs and habits of the ancient Assyrians, at the same 
time obtaining a first clear glance of the whole civilization 
of Western Asia. 

How much the interpretation of the Old Testament 
books profited from Layard's epoch-making discoveries, we 
can scarcely realize fully after we have been under the power- 
ful influence which went forth from the resurrected palaces 
of Qoyunjuk since the earliest days of our childhood. 
Being written in a language closely akin to Assyrian, and 
compiled by men brought up in the same atmosphere and 
surroundings, they frequently describe the very institutions, 
customs, and deeds so vividly portrayed on the alabaster 
slabs of Nineveh. But it was not only through analogy 
and comparison that so many obscure words and passages 
in the Scriptures received fresh light and often an entirely 
new meaning, — sometimes the very same persons and events 
mentioned in the historical and prophetical books of the 
Bible were depicted on those monuments or recorded in their 
accompanying inscriptions. We refer only to the fine series 
of thirteen slabs adorning the walls of a room nearly in the 
centre of the great southwest wing of Sennacherib's palace. 
Seated upon his throne in the hilly districts of Southern 
Palestine, and surrounded by his formidable army, is the 
Assyrian king, attired in his richly embroidered robes. In 
the distance severe fighting is still going on, archers and 
slingers and spearmen attack a fortified city, defended by 
the besieged with great determination. But part of the 
place has been taken. Beneath its walls are seen Assyrian 
warriors impaling their prisoners or flaying them alive, while 
from the gateway of a tower issues a long procession of 
captives, camels and carts laden with women and children 
and spoil, advancing towards the monarch. Above the 

head of the king we read the inscription: "Sennacherib, 


king of the Universe, king of Assyria, sat upon a throne 
and reviewed the spoil of the city of Lachish." * 

The discovery of so many priceless sculptures in more 
than seventy rooms, halls, and galleries of the palace of one 
of the greatest monarchs of the ancient East forms a most 
striking result of Layard's second expedition to Nineveh. 
Indeed these bas-reliefs alone would have sufficed to make 
his name immortal, and to place his work in the trenches of 
Qoyunjuk far above the average archaeological explorations 
in Assyrian and Babylonian mounds. And yet they repre- 
sent only half of what was actually obtained. No less 
remarkable, and in many respects of even greater impor- 
tance for the founding and developing of the young 
Assyriological science, was another discovery, which at first 
may have seemed rather insignificant in the light of those 
magnificent sculptures. We know from the cuneiform 
inscriptions of Sennacherib's grandson, Ashurbanapal, that 
the southwest palace of Nineveh, which thousands of cap- 
tives from all the conquered nations of Western Asia, under 
the rod of their merciless taskmasters, had erected on the 
gigantic platform at the confluence of the Tigris and the 
Khosar, was largely repaired and for some time occupied by 
this last great ruler of a great empire. So far a^ Layard's 
excavations, however, went to show, there remained very 
few complete sculptures of this monarch ^ which escaped the 
general destruction, while many fragments of inscribed slabs 
testified to his extensive work at that building. But though 

^ Comp. 2 Kings 1 8 : 13, jeg. , 19:8, and the parallel passages. Is. 36 : 1 , 
jf^., 27:8. 

^ Prominent among them are six fossiliferous limestone slabs adorned with 
scenes of his Elamitic war. These slabs, however, belonged originally to 
the older palace, as the name and titles of Sennacherib on the back of each 
bas-relief indicate. Ashurbanapal therefore adopted the same method in re- 
pairing his grandfather's building as was followed by his father, Esarhaddon, 
with regard to his own palace at Calah, almost entirely constructed of older 
material. Comp. Layard, " Nineveh and Babylon," p. 459. 


the bas-reliefs which once announced his battles and victories 
to the people have long ago crumbled away, there were 
found in another section of the same southern wing of Sen- 
nacherib's palace those precious relics which will hand down 
from generation to generation the name of Ashurbanapal as 
that of a great patron of art and literature, and as the power- 
ful monarch " instructed in the wisdom of the god Nebo." 

One day Layard came upon two small chambers, opening 
into each other, and once panelled with sculptured slabs, most 
of which had been destroyed. But in removing the earth and 
rubbish from their interior he recognized that "to the height 
of a foot or more from the floor they were entirely filled 
with cuneiform tablets of baked clay, some entire, but the 
greater part broken into many fragments." He had discov- 
ered part of the famous royal library of Nineveh founded 
and maintained by the kings of the last Assyrian empire 
(about 720-620 B. c), the other half being later unearthed 
by Rassam in Ashurbanapal's north palace at Qoyunjuk. It 
was especially the last-mentioned king (668-626 b. c.) who 
" enlarged and enriched the collection of tablets which his 
predecessors had brought together, in such a way as to 
constitute them into a veritable library, by the addition of 
hundreds, even thousands of documents . . . dealing with 
every branch of learning and science known to the wise men 
of his day.** ' These tablets, when complete, varying in 
length from one inch to fifteen inches, were made of the 

* Comp. Bezold, ** Catalogue of the Cuneiform Tablets in the Kouyun- 
jik Collection of the British Museum,** vol. v. (London, 1899), p. xiii. 
The statement made by Bezold on p. xiv. of this volume, *' that in 1849 
and 1850 Layard discovered the palace of Ashurbanapal,** though found in 
other Assyriological publications, is as erroneous as another view found, t\ g., 
in Dclitzsch's writings (comp. Murdter^ s Geschichte Baby Ion irns und Assy- 
riens^ Calw and Stuttgart, 2nd ed. 1891, p. 5, or Ex Oriente Lux, Leipzig, 
1898, p. 6) that it was only Rassam who discovered Ashurbanapal's library. 
This library was stored in two palaces and discovered by both Layard (south- 
west palace) and Rassam (north palace). 


finest clay, and inscribed with the most minute but singu- 
larly sharp and well defined cuneiform writing. Their con- 
tents are as varied and different as the forms and sizes of 
the fragments themselves. There are historical records and 
chronological lists which make us acquainted with the chief 
events and the number of years of the governments of many 
Assyrian kings ; there are astronomical reports and obser- 
vations, mathematical calculations, tables of measures of 
length and capacity, which reveal to us a branch of science 
in which the Babylonians and Assyrians excelled all other 
' nations of the ancient world : there are hundreds of hymns 
and psalms, prayers and oracles, mythological texts and 
incantations, in their poetical expression and depth of reli- 
gious feeling often not inferior to the best Hebrew poetry; 
there are letters and addresses from kings and ministers, 
oflicers, and private persons, which deal with military expe- 
ditions, the revolts of subdued enemies, the payment of 
tribute, the administration of provinces, the repairing of 
buildings, the digging of canals, the purchase of horses, the 
complaints of unjust treatment or taxation, the transport of 
winged bulls, the calling in of a physician to prescribe for a 
lady of the court, and many other interesting details. By 
far the larger mass of the tablets discovered treat of 
astrology, and of the subjects of medicine and religious 
observations so closely connected with this pseudo-science. 
Not the least important tablets in the whole collection 
are those lists of cuneiform signs and syllabaries, lists 
of months, plants, stones, animals, temples, gods, cities, 
mountains and countries, etc., lists of synonyms, verbal 
forms, and other grammatical exercises, and a large number 
of bilingual texts which formed and still form the chief 
source for the reconstruction of the Assyrian and Sumerian 
grammars and lexicons. In view of such important and 
startling discoveries, the many smaller results which crowned 
Layard's archaeological researches at Nineveh — I refer only 


to his large collection of fine seals and seal-impressions/ to 
his determination of the northwest city gate, and to his 
accidental discovery of chambers of Esarhaddon's palace at 
the southern mound of Nebi-Yunus*^ — may well be passed 

The excavations at Nimrud, started at the high conical 
mound in the northwest corner, were also accompanied by 
results of considerable interest and value. By means of 
tunnels the workmen had soon reached a part of solid 
masonry, forming the substructure for the upper part of a 
massive building. From a comparison of this ruin with the 
similar high-towering mounds at Khorsabad, El-Birs, and 
other Babylonian sites, it is evident that Layard had found 
the remains of the ziggurrat or stage-tower of Calah, at first 
wrongly regarded by him and Rawlinson as " the tomb of 
Sardanapalus." Immediately adjoining this tower were two 
small temples erected by Ashurnasirapal II., and separated 
from each other by a staircase or inclined passage leading 
up to the platform from the north. They were built of sun- 
dried brick coated with plaster, and besides clay images 
and fragments of other idols contained a number of valuable 
sculptures, bas-reliefs, and inscribed slabs, which had adorned 
their principal entrances. One of the recesses at the end of a 
chamber was paved with one enormous limestone slab meas- 
uring no less than 21 feet by 16 feet 7 inches by i foot 1 inch, 
and completely covered with cuneiform inscriptions record- 
ing the wars and campaigns of the ruler, and full of geo- 
graphical information, but also of disgusting details of the 
cruel punishments inflicted upon the unfortunate conquered 
nations. A similar great monolith was found in the second 

* The well-known Hittite, Egyptian, and Aramean seal-impressions on 
clay being among them. Comp. Layard, /. c, pp. i 53-161. 

* Where he had offered to a Moslem property owner to dig underground 
summer apartments for him, through one of his agents, on condition that he 
should have all the antiquities discovered during the excavations. 


temple, and in the earth above it the entire statue of the 
monarch, with the following self-glorifying inscription, run- 
ning across his breast : " Ashurnasirapal, the great king, the 
powerful king, king of the Universe, king of Assyria, son 
of Tuklat-Ninib, the great king, the powerful king, king of 
the Universe, king of Assyria, son of Adadnirari, the great 
king, the powerful king, king of the Universe, king of 
Assyria, the conqueror from beyond the Tigris to the 
Lebanon and the Great Sea [Mediterranean] — all the 
countries from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof 
he subdued under his feet.** 

Of no less importance, though of a different character, 
was a discovery in the northwest palace. Near the west 
edge of the mound the workmen came accidentally upon a 
chamber built by Ashurnasirapal, which probably served as a 
storeroom. In one corner was a well nearly sixty feet deep, 
while in other parts of the room there were found twelve 
huge copper vessels partly filled with smaller objects. Beneath 
and behind these caldrons were heaped without order large 
masses of copper and bronze vessels, arms (shields, swords, 
daggers, heads of spears and arrows), iron implements, such 
as picks, saws, hammers, etc., glass bowls, ivory relics, and 
several entire elephants* tusks. In another corner of this 
interesting chamber had stood the royal throne, carved in 
wood and cased with elaborate bronze ornaments. It was 
badly decayed, but enough remained to ascertain that it 
resembled in shape the chairs of state represented on the 
slabs of Khorsabad and Qoyunjuk, and particularly that on 
which Sennacherib is seated while reviewing the captives 
and spoil of the city of Lachish. About one hundred and 
fifty bronze vessels of different sizes and shapes, and eighty 
small bells in the same metal, could be sent to the British 
Museum. As many of the former were in a fine state of 
preservation and remarkable for the beauty of their design, 
being ornamented with the embossed or incised figures of 


men, animals, trees, and flowers, they constitute a most 
valuable collection of representative specimens of ancient 
metallurgy. A great many of the objects discovered are 
doubtless of Assyrian origin ; others may have formed part 

of the spoil of some conquered nation, or perhaps thev were 
made by foreign artists brought captive to the banks of the 

Omitting an enumeration of the numerous fragments of 
interesting sculptures and of other minor antiquities ' exca- 
vated at Nimrud during the second expedition, we mention 
only the fact that in the southeast corner of the mound 

' f.;.,.«riBh, 

: in <he sli 

and bearing the in 


king of Babylon " - 

-a ting 

cd in the nonhwest palace, 
, palace of Erba-Marduk, 


Layard disclosed the remains of an earlier building^ and a 
solitary brick arch beneath the palace or temple constructed 
by Ashuretililani, while in the ramparts of earth marking 
the walls of Calah, he traced fifty-eight towers to the north, 
and about fifty to the east, at the same time establishing the 
existence of a number of approaches or stairways on the 
four different sides of the enclosed platform. 

In addition to his successful excavations at Nineveh and 
Calah, and to his less fortunate operations at Babylon and 
Nuffar, about which we shall have to say a few words later, 
Layard, either himself or through one of his native agents, 
cut trial trenches into various other mounds, extending his 
researches even as far west as the Khabur. Most of these 
examinations were carried on too hastily and without method, 
and therefore have little value, while others, like those car- 
ried on in the mounds of Bahshiqa, Karamles, Lak, She- 
mamyk, Sherif Khan, Abu Marya, and 'Arban, yielded 
inscribed bricks or slabs from which the Assyrian origin of 
these ruins could be established. At Sherif Khan, on the 
Tigris, three miles to the north of Qoyunjuk, he discovered 
even remains of two Assyrian temples and inscribed lime- 
stone slabs from a palace which Esarhaddon had erected for 
his son, Ashurbanapal, at Tarbisu ; at Qal'at Shirgat he 
gathered fragments of two large octagonal terra-cotta prisms 
of Tiglath-Pileser I. (about iioo b. c.) ; and at 'Arban, on 
the Biblical Habor, he conducted personal excavations for 
three weeks, bringing to light two pairs of winged bulls, 
a large lion with extended jaws, similar to those found in 
one of the small temples at Nimrud, and pieces of carved 
stone and painted brick — all belonging to the " palace ** of 
a man otherwise unknown, who, to judge from his style of 
art, must have lived about the time of Ashurnasirapal II. 

* Constructed by Shalmaneser II., as was proved by George Smith more 
than twenty years later. Comp. his ** Assyrian Discoveries," 3d cd.. New 
York, 1876, pp. 76-79. 


During this second expedition Layard and the other 
members of his staff suffered from fever and ague consider- 
ably more than previously. Before the first summer had 
fairly commenced, both Dr. Sandwith and Mr. Cooper were 
seriously ill and had to return to Europe. Another artist 
was sent by the British Musem, but a few months after 
his arrival he was drowned in the Gomal at the foot of Sen- 
nacherib's sculptures at Bavian (July, 1851). Layard and 
Rassam alone braved and withstood the inhospitable cli- 
mate until their funds were exhausted. More than one 
hundred and twenty large cases of sculptures, tablets, and 
other antiquities had been sent down to Baghdad, awaiting 
examination by Rawlinson previous to their shipment to 
England. Finally, on April 28, 1851, the two explorers 
themselves turned from the ruins of Nineveh, rich in new 
honors and yet " with a heavy heart." Two years later 
Layard submitted the results of his latest researches to 
the public,* and for the first time was able to interweave the 
fascinating story of his work and wanderings with numerous 
quotations from the Assyrian inscriptions so admirably 
interpreted by Rawlinson and by Hincks. His nomadic 
days had now come to an end. He did not visit again the 
mounds of Nineveh and Babylon. The enthusiastic recep- 
tion of his books all over Europe, and the extraordinary 
services which he had rendered to the cause of science and 
art in his own country, secured for him at last that recog- 
nition from his government to which he was entitled. But 
though no longer active in the field of Assyrian explora- 
tion, where he occupies the foremost position, he never lost 
his interest in the continuation of this work by others, and 
twenty-four years later (1877), as Her Majesty's ambassa- 
dor at Constantinople, he supported Rassam with the same 

' Comp. Layard, ** Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon," 
London, 1855.; and the same author's "The Monuments of Nineveh," 
scries ii., 71 plates, London, 1853. 


sympathy and loyalty which once, when an unknown ad- 
venturer, he himself had experienced there at the hand of 
his predecessor and patron. 

During the two years which Rawlinson spent in England 
(1850-51) for the restoration of his health and to superin- 
tend the publication of his famous second memoir " On 
the Babylonian Translation of the Great Persian Inscription 
at Behistun," through which he announced to the world that 
the deciphering of the Babylono-Assyrian cuneiform writ- 
ing was an accomplished fact, he entered into closer relations 
with the British Museum. The trustees of this large store- 
house of ancient art-treasures were anxious to resume their 
researches in the ruins on the banks of the Tigris and the 
Euphrates, which hitherto had been conducted with such 
marvellous success by Layard. Who was better qualified 
to carry out their plans and to take charge of the proposed 
excavations than Rawlinson, with his unique knowledge 
of the cuneiform languages, his rare experience as a soldier 
and traveller, and his remarkable influence in the East as 
the political representative of a great nation at Baghdad ! 
And he was at once ready to add the labors of an explorer 
and excavator to those of a diplomat and decipherer. Be- 
fore he departed from England, he was entrusted with the 
supervision of all the excavations which might be carried 
on by the British Museum in Assyria, Babylonia, and Susi- 
ana, and was authorized to employ such agents as he 
thought fit in excavating and transporting the best-pre- 
served antiquities to the national collections in London.* 
Well provided with the necessary funds furnished by the 
government and private individuals, he entered upon his 
second official residence in Baghdad in the fall of 1851. 
But intelligent men who could be relied upon, and at the 
same time were able to manage the work properly in the 

^ Comp. George Rawlinson, •* A Memoir of Major-Gencral Sir Henry 
Creswicke Rawlinson,*' London, 1898, pp. 172, se^^. 


trenches, far away from the place to which he was generally 
bound by his principal duties, were very rare in those 
regions. He was about to send Loftus, of the Turco- Per- 
sian Boundary Commission, who had excavated for him at 
the large mound of Susa, to the Assyrian ruins, when the 
trustees of the British Museum came unexpectedly to his 
assistance. The manifest interest among the religious and 
scientific circles of England in the historical and literary 
results of Layard's discoveries, daily increased by Rawlin- 
son's own letters and instructive communications on the 
contents of the unearthed cuneiform inscriptions, influenced 
that administrative body to despatch a third artist ^ to the 
scene of the old excavations, soon followed by Hormuzd 
Rassam, as chief practical excavator. Their choice could not 
have fallen upon a better man. In the school of Layard 
excellently trained and prepared for his task, as a native of 
Mosul entirely familiar with the language and character of 
the Arabs, through his previous connections deeply inter- 
ested in the undertaking, and after a long contact with 
Western civilization thoroughly impregnated with the Eng- 
lish spirit of energy, he was an ideal explorer, the very 
man whom Rawlinson, the scientific leader and real soul of 
all these explorations, needed to carry the work in the Assy- 
rian ruins to a successful conclusion. But Rassam's posi- 
tion was not very easy. For several years his predecessor, 
profiting by every hint which the appearance of the ground 
afforded, had tunnelled through the most promising spots 
of the Assyrian mounds, and what remained unexplored 
of Qoyunjuk had been transferred by Rawlinson to Victor 
Place, in generous response to the latter's request. Yet 
Rassam was shrewd and determined, and knew how to over- 
come difficulties. 

* By the name of Hodder, to succeed the lamented Mr. Bell, who was 
drowned in the Gomal. Hodder remained in Mesopotamia until the begin- 
ning of 1854, when he fell seriously ill, and was supplanted by William 


Rassam's Excavations ^ 18^2-^^. In the fall of 1 852 oper- 
ations were commenced under his superintendence, and con- 
tinued till the beginning of April, 1 854. Following Layard's 
example, he placed his workmen at as many different sites 
as possible, anxious also to prevent his French rival from 
encroaching any further upon what he regarded as the Brit- 
ish sphere of influence. But more than a year elapsed 
without any of those startling discoveries to which the 
English nation had got accustomed through Layard's phe- 
nomenal success. At Qal'at Shirgat, where he excavated 
twice in the course of 1853, he obtained two terra-cotta 
prisms, inscribed with the annals of Tiglath-Pileser I. 
They were only duplicates of others unearthed by his prede- 
cessor two years before ; ^ but, unlike those, they were com- 
plete and in a fine state of preservation, found buried in 
solid masonry, about thirty feet apart, at two of the corners 
of an almost perfect square, which originally formed part of 
the large temple of the city of Ashur. Soon afterwards their 
long text of 811 lines played a certain role in the history 
of Assyriology, being selected by the council of the Royal 
Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland for a public 
test as to the correctness of the deciphering of the Assyrian 
cuneiform writing.' 

At the southeast corner of Nimrud, Rassam discovered 
Ezida, the temple of Nebo, and six large statues of the 
god, two of which had been set up by a governor of Calah 
" for the life of Adadnirari [III.], king of Assyria, his lord, 
and for the life of Sammuramat [generally but wrongly 

^ Comp. p. I 26. The real facts concerning the discovery of these im- 
portant prisms as set forth above are generally misrepresented, their discovery 
being ascribed either to Layard or Rassam. 

^ The inscription was sent to four prominent Assyrian scholars, Rawlin- 
son, Hincks, Oppert, and Talbot, at the latter' s suggestion, for independent 
translations, which in all essential points agreed, and were published in the 
journal of that society, vol. xviii., pp. 150-219, London, 1857. 


identified with Semiramis], lady of the palace, his mis- 
tress." In another room of the same building he came 
upon the well-preserved stele of Samsi-Adad IV. (825- 
8 1 2 B. c), father of the former and son of Shalmaneser II. ; * 
while among heaps upon heaps of broken sculptures in the 
so-called central palace he unearthed fragments of an in- 
scribed black obelisk of Ashurnasirapal II., which when 
complete must have exceeded any other Assyrian obelisk 
so far discovered in size. But his principal work was car- 
ried on at Qoyunjuk. Shaft after shaft was sunk in the 
ground to find traces of a new palace — the one desideratum 
above others in those early days of exploration. As Victor 
Place never excavated in the northern half of the mound, 
so liberally allotted to him by Rawlinson,^ Rassam profited 
by his absence, and placed some of his Arabs very close to 
the line of demarcation drawn by his chief, in order to ob- 
tain some clue as to the probable contents of that forbidden 
section. But his endeavors did not prove very successful. 
Meanwhile he had also opened trenches in the English 
southern half of the mound, which yielded a white obelisk 
nearly ten feet high, covered with bas-reliefs, and an in- 
scription of Ashurnasirapal II., the upper half of a similar 
monument, and the torso of a female statue from the palace 
of Ashurbelkala, son of Tiglath-Pileser I. 

Valuable as all these and other recovered antiquities were 
in themselves, they shrank almost into insignificance when 
compared with the character and mass of Layard's accumu- 
lated treasures. Rassam felt this verv keenly, and was dis- 

^ That even Shalmaneser II. himself built at the temple of Nebo was shown 
later by George Smith, ** Assyrian Discoveries,*' ^^ ed.. New York, 1876, 
pp. 73, seq. 

* Who, after Botta's and Layard's fruitless attempts, very evidently did 
not regard that section worth keeping. For on other occasions he took quite 
a different attitude both against Place and Loftus in his vigorous defence of 
the interests of the British Museum. 


satisfied, particularly as the time rapidly drew near when 
the funds available for his work would cease. His only 
hope lay in the northern part of Qoyunjuk, over which he 
had no control, but which he longed to examine. How 
could he explore it " without getting into hot water with 
Mr. Place ** ? If anything was to be done, it had to be 
done quickly. He decided upon an experimental examina- 
tion of the spot by a few trustworthy Arabs at night. A 
favorable opportunity and a bright moonlight were all that 
was required for his nocturnal adventure, and they pre- 
sented themselves very soon. Let us hear the story of this 
daring attempt, and of his subsequent discovery, in Ras- 
sam's own language. 

" It was on the night of the 20th of December, 1853, 
that I commenced to examine the ground in which I was for- 
tunate enough to discover, after three nights* trial, the grand 
palace of Ashurbanapal, commonly known by the name of 
Sardanapalus. When everything was ready I went and 
marked three places, some distance from each other, in 
which our operations were to be commenced. Only a few 
trenches had been opened there in the time of Sir Henry 
Layard ; but on this occasion I ordered the men to dig 
transversely, and cut deeper down. I told them they were 
to stop work at dawn, and return to the same diggings again 
the next night. The very first night we worked there, one 
of the gangs came upon indications of an ancient build- 
ing ; but though we found among the rubbish painted 
bricks and pieces of marble on which there were signs of 
inscriptions and bas-reliefs, I did not feel sanguine as to the 
result. The next night the whole number of workmen dug 
in that spot ; and, to the great delight of all, we hit upon a 
remnant of a marble wall, on examining which I came to 
the conclusion that it belonged to an Assyrian building 
which had existed on that spot. The remnant of the bas- 
relief showed that the wall was standing in its original posi- 


tion, and, though the upper part of it had been destroyed, 
I was able to judge, from experience, that it had not been 
brought thither from another building. The lower part of 
the slab, which contained the feet of Assyrian soldiers and 
captives, was still fixed in the paved floor with brick and 
stone masonry, intended \o support it at the back. To my 
great disappointment, after having excavated round the spot 
a few feet, both the remnant of the bas-relief and the wall 
came to an end, and there was nothing to be seen save ashes, 
bones, and other rubbish. . . . This put a damper on my 
spirits, especially as I had on that day reported to both the 
British Museum authorities and Sir Henry Rawlinson the 
discovery of what I considered to be a new palace, as I was 
then fully convinced of its being so. I knew, also, that if I 
failed to realize my expectations I should only be found fault 
with and laughed at for my unrewarded zeal. However, I 
felt that as I had commenced so I must go on, even if only 
to be disappointed. The next night I superintended the 
work in person, and increased the number of men, placing 
them in separate gangs around the area, which seemed the 
most likely place for good results. The remnant of the 
sculptured wall discovered was on a low level, running up- 
ward, and this fact alone was enough to convince an experi- 
enced eye that the part of the building I had hit upon was 
an ascending passage leading to the main building. I there- 
fore arranged my gangs to dig in a southeasterly direction, 
as I was certain that if there was anything remaining it 
would be found there. The men were made to work on 
without stopping, one gang assisting the other. My instinct 
did not deceive me ; for one division of the workmen, after 
three or four hours' hard labor, were rewarded by the first 
grand discovery of a beautiful bas-relief in a perfect state 
of preservation, representing the king, who was afterwards 
identified as Ashurbanapal, standing in a chariot, about to 
start on a hunting expedition, and his attendants handing 


him the necessary weapons for the chase. . . . The delight 
of the workmen was naturally beyond description ; for as 
soon as the word suwar (' images *) was uttered, it went 
through the whole party like electricity. They all rushed 
to see the new discovery, and after having gazed on the 
bas-relief with wonder, they collected together, and began 
to dance and sing my praises, in the tune of their war- 
song, with all their might. Indeed, for a moment I did 
not know which was the most pleasant feeling that pos- 
sessed me, the joy of my faithful men or the finding of the 
new palace.*' ^ 

After this unmistakable success had rewarded his clandes- 
tine efforts, Rassam was no longer afraid of French or Turk- 
ish interference, and accordingly ordered the work to be 
continued in broad daylight. For " it was an established 
rule that whenever one discovered a new palace, no one else 
could meddle with it, and thus, in my position as the agent 
of the British Museum, I had secured it for England." The 
large edifice once having been discovered, one cannot help 
wondering how Botta and Layard could have missed com- 
ing upon some of its walls, which in many places were only 
a foot below the surface, and indeed in one or two instances 
so close to it that " a child might have scratched the ground 
with his fingers and touched the top of the sculptures." 
Before the first day was over, Rassam had cleared the upper 
parts of all the bas-reliefs which adorned the long b\it 
narrow hall, known as the " lion-room," because the subject 
here represented is the royal lion-hunt. The sculptures 
gathered from this and other chambers of the palace belong 
to the finest specimens of Assyrian art. The change from 
the old school of the tenth century to that of the later period 
referred to above (p. 117), both in the design and in the 
execution of single objects and persons and of whole groups, 

^ Comp. Rassam, ** Asshur and the Land of Nimrod," New York, 1897, 

pp. 24, Sf^^. 


is even more pronounced in the sculptures of the palace of 
Ashurbanapal than in those from the reign of his grand- 
father. Thev are distinguished by the sharpness of the 
outline, their minute finish, and the very correct and strik- 
ing delineation of animals, especially lions and horses, in 
their different motions and positions. In looking at these 
fine bas-reliefs we gain the conviction that the artist has care- 
fully studied and actually seen in life what he has repro- 
duced here so truthfully in stone on the walls. The furious 
lion, foiled in his revenge, burying his teeth in the chariot 
wheels ; the wounded lioness with her outstretched head, 
suffering agony, and vainly endeavoring to drag her para- 
lyzed lower limbs after her ; or the king on his spirited 
horse with wild excitement in his face, and in hot pursuit of 
the swift wild ass of the desert, — all these scenes are so 

realistic in their conception, and at the same time so beau- 
tifullv portrayed, that from the beginning thev have found 
a most deserved admiration. 

This lion-room was a picture gallery and library at the 
same time. Kor in the centre of the same hall Rassam 
discovered the other half of Ashurbanapal's library, sev- 
eral thousand clay tablets, mostly fragmentary, in char- 
acter similar to those rescued by Lavard, and including 
the Assyrian account of the Deluge, It is impossible to 
follow Rassam into all the chambers which he laid open, 


and which were generally lined with bas-reliefs illustrating the 
king's wars against Elam, Babylonia, the Arabs, etc. While 
breaking down the walls of one of these rooms, he found 
a large terra-cotta prism, unfortunately crumbling to pieces 
when exposed to the air, but soon afterwards replaced by 
the fragments of a second. They were duplicates, and con- 
tained the annals of Ashurbanapal, equally important for 
our knowledge of the history and for a study of the lan- 
guage and grammar of that prominent period of Assyrian 
art and literature. 

During the first three months in 1854 the fortunate 
explorer was busy in excavating the palace as far as he 
could. But his funds were limited and quickly exhausted. 
At the beginning of April he was obliged to dismiss the 
different gangs of workmen employed at Qoyunjuk and 
Nimrud and to return to England. The acceptance of a po- 
litical appointment at Aden prevented him from going out to 
Nineveh again in the same year, as the British Museum had 
planned. His place was filled by Loftus and by Boutcher, 
who acted as the artist of the former. They had been for 
some time in Southern Babylonia, carrying on excavations 
at a moderate rate on behalf of the Assyrian Excavation 
Fund. This was a private society organized for the purpose 
of enlarging the field of English operations in Assyria and 
Babylonia, as the parliamentary grant secured by the British 
Museum was considered quite inadequate for the proper 
continuation of the national work so gloriously initiated by 
Layard. The thought and spirit which led to the founding 
of this society were most excellent and praiseworthy, but the 
method and means by which its representatives endeavored 
to reach their aim were neither tactful nor wise, and finally 
became even prejudicial to the very interests they intended 
to serve. Instead of placing their contributions and funds 
with a statement of their desired application at the disposal 
of the British Museum, that great national agency for all 


such archaeological undertakings, the managers of the new 
corporation proceeded independently. The expedition which 
they sent out appeared as. a competitor rather than as a 
helpmate of the other, and was about to risk serious col- 
lisions between the rival workmen of the two parties by 
occupying the same mound of Qoyunjuk after Rassam's de- 
parture, when upon the energetic representation of Rawlin- 
son, who naturally did not look very favorably on the pro- 
ceedings of this new society, an arrangement was concluded 
in London which placed matters on an entirely satisfactory 
basis. The Assyrian Excavation Fund transferred its re- 
maining property to the British Museum, and decided that 
Loftus and Boutcher should henceforth receive their direc- 
tions from Rawlinson. 

The examination of the north palace of Ashurbanapal at 
Nineveh was resumed with new vigor under these two men, 
who had gathered considerable experience in the trenches of 
Warka and Senkere. While Boutcher drew the numerous 
sculptures and copied the monumental inscriptions, Loftus 
continued the excavations where Rassam had left them, try- 
ing first of all to determine the precise extent of the new 
building. But he also cleared a portion of its interior, and 
laid bare the whole ascending passage and a portal with 
three adjoining rooms at the western corner. Being deeply 
interested in the edifice as a whole, and in the determination 
of its architectural features, somewhat neglected by his pre- 
decessor, he did not confine himself to digging for new 
sculptures, though appreciating them whenever thev were 
found. The bas-relief representing the king in comfortable 
repose upon a couch under the trees of his garden, and the 
queen sitting on a chair beside him, both drinking from 
cups while attendants with towels and fans stand behind 
them, was with many other interesting monuments discov- 
ered by Loftus. Unfortunatelv, however, the British Mu- 
seum had not the means or did not care to continue the 


excavations at Nineveh and Calah after Rawlinson's final 
departure from Baghdad, for Loftus and Boutcher were soon 
recalled. Repeated attempts have been made since to re- 
sume the work at Qoyunjuk, but a Layard was not found 
to remove the obstacles in the field and to stir the masses 
at home to provide the financial support. Neither of the 
two large buildings which occupy the platform of Qoyunjuk 
has as yet been thoroughly explored, and much more re- 
mains to be done before the grand palace of Ashurbanapal 
with its hidden treasures will rise before our eyes as com- 
pletely as that excavated in a methodical manner by Botta 
and Place at Khorsabad. 


During the first four years of the second half of the last 
century the proverbial solitude of the Babylonian ruins 
seemed to have disappeared temporarily under the powerful 
influence of some magical spell. Fraser's intrepid march 
across the desolate plain and extensive swamps of *Iraq, fol- 
lowed by his intelligent report of the innumerable mounds 
and other frequent traces of a high civilization which he had 
met everywhere in the almost forgotten districts of the inte- 
rior of Babylonia, had directed the general attention again 
to the vast ruins of ancient Chaldea. Botta's and Layard's 
epoch-making discoveries in the royal palaces of Khorsa- 
bad and Nimrud had created an extraordinary enthusiasm 
throughout Europe. As a result of both, scholars began 
to meditate about the possibilities connected with a method- 
ical exploration of the most conspicuous ruins in Babylonia. 
The earlier accounts and descriptions of Rich and Ker 
Porter and Buckingham were eagerly devoured and reex- 
amined with a new zeal, stimulated by the hope of finding 
other indications that the soil of the country in the south 


would contain no less important treasures than those which 
had just been extracted from the Assyrian tells in the north. 
But neither scientific nor religious interest was the imme- 
diate cause of these tentative but fundamental researches in 
Babylonia with which we will now occupy ourselves in the 
following pages. The first successful explorations and exca- 
vations in the interior of Babylonia were rather the indirect 
result of certain political difficulties, which in 1839-40 
threatened to lead to serious complications between Turkey 
and Persia. The chief trouble was caused by the extensive 
frontier between the two Mohammedan neighbors continu- 
ally changing its limits as the strength of either government 
for the time prevailed. Under the influence of the cabinets 
of England and Russia, which offisred their friendly media- 
tion in order to maintain peace in regions not very far from 
their own frontiers in India and Georgia, a joint commis- 
sion with representatives from the four powers was finally 
appointed and instructed " to survey and define a precise 
line of boundary between the two countries in question 
which might not admit of future dispute." The work 
of this " Turco- Persian Frontier Commission," after meet- 
ing with extraordinary difficulties and delays, lasted from 
1849 to 1852. 


To the staff of the British commissioner, Colonel Wil- 
liams, " the Hero of Kars," was attached, as geologist, 
William Kennett Loftus, who utilized the rare facilities 
granted to him as a member of that commission to satisfy 
" his strong desire for breaking new ground " in an unex- 
plored region, " which from our childhood we have been led 
to regard as the cradle of the human race." 

After a short trip to the ruins of Babylon, l\l-Birs, Kefil 
(with "the tomb of the prophet Kzckiel"), Kufa, famous 
in earlv Moslem history, and the celebrated Persian shrines 


of Meshhed^Ali and Kerbela, — all but the first situated on 
the western side of the Euphrates, — Loftus decided to ex- 
amine the geology of the Chaldean marshes and to explore 
the ruins of Warka, which, previous to the discovery of the 
Muqayyar cylinders, on the basis of native tradition. Sir 
Henry Rawlinson was inclined to identify with Ur of the 
Chaldees, the birthplace of the patriarch Abraham. An 
opportunity presented itself towards the end of December, 
1849, when the representatives of the four powers, for 
nearly eight months detained at Baghdad, were at last 
ordered to proceed to the southern point of the disputed 
boundary line. While the other members of the party were 
conveved to Mohammera by the armed steamer Nitocris, 
under the command of Captain Felix Jones, mentioned 
above in connection with his excellent maps of Nineveh, 
Loftus, accompanied by his friend and comrade, H. A, 
Churchill, and a number of irregular Turkish horsemen, 
took the land route between the Euphrates and Tigris, 
hitherto but once trodden by European foot. 

Notwithstanding the great difficulties and dangers then 
attending a journey into Babylonia proper, the two explor- 
ers, " determined on being pleased with anything," overcame 
all obstacles with courage and patience, reaching the camp 
of the frontier commission on the eastern bank of the 
Shatt el-'Arab safely after an absence of several weeks. 
They had crossed the unsafe districts of the Zobaid Arabs 
and their tributaries, regarded as perfectly wild and uncon- 
trolled in those days : they had visited the filthv reed huts 
of the fickle and unreliable ^-^fej tribes, inhabiting the verge 
and numerous islands of the immense swamps named after 
them ; and riding parallel with the course of the ancient 
bed of the Shatt el-Kar, thev had established friendly re- 
lations with the wildest and poorest but good-natured 
MaMan tribes in Southern Babylonia. Everywhere, like 
Eraser, thev had found traces of an earlv civilization and a 


former dense population, and for the first time they had 
closely examined these lofty and massive piles covered with 
fragments of stone and broken pottery, which loom up in 
solitary grandeur from the surrounding plains and marshes 
of ancient Chaldea. The ruins of Nuffer, Hammam, Tell 

(J)ide, Warka, Muqayvar, and others became at once cen- 
tres of general interest, and were rescued forever from the 
oblivion of past centuries. 

Loftus' enthusiastic report of all the wonderful things 
which he had seen, illustrated bv careful sketches and plans 
and by a number of small antiquities picked up on the 
surface of the various mounds, or purchased for a trifle 
from the neighboring Arabs, impressed Colonel \N'illiams 
so favorably that he readilv listened to the suggestions of 
the bold explorer " that exca\'ations should he conducted 
on a small scale at Warka." After a few davs' rest, we find 


without breaking. The surface of the coffin having been 
carefully cleaned, inside and out, thick layers of paper were 
pasted on both sides. When thoroughly dried, this hard 
mass became like a sheath, strengthening and protecting the 
enclosed coffin, which now could be lifted and handled with- 
out difficulty. Many years later, in connection with the 
University of Pennsylvania's excavations at NufFar, the same 
method was often employed with the same general result, 
and more than fifty coffins were carried away " whole " to 
Kurope and America. Yet after a long experience I have 
definitely abandoned this method as unsatisfactory and most 
damaging to the blue enamel of the object thus treated. 
It is by far wiser to save and pack all the fragments of 
glazed coffins separately and to put them together at home 
in a strictly scientific manner. Yet for the time being 
Loftus might well feel proud of having been able to secure 
the first three complete Babylonian coffins, then still un- 
known to European scholars. Under the dances and yells 
of his Tuwaiba Arabs, frantic with delight and excitement, 
they were carried with numerous other antiquities to the 
river, whence they were shipped to the British Museum. 

Towards the end of 1853 Loftus returned to the ruins of 
Babylonia for the last time, in charge of an expedition sent 
out by the " Assyrian Excavation Fund ** of London and 
accompanied by his two friends, W. Boutcher and T. Kerr 
Lynch. In order to secure him greater facilities, he was 
soon afterwards appointed by his e^overnment an attache of 
the British Embassy at Constantinople. It vyas his inten- 
tion to commence operations at the conspicuous mound of 
Hammam, \yhere in connection with a former visit he had 
found the large fragments of a fine but intentionally defaced 
statue in black granite. But the utter lack of water in the 
Shatt el-Kar interfered seriously with his plans. Compelled, 
therefore, to seek another locality, he decided at once to 
resume the excavation of Warka, where he had won his first 


laurels. And it was in connection with this last visit to the 
place so dear to him that he effected the principal discoveries 
which established his name as a Babylonian explorer. 

The first three months of the year 1854 he devoted to 
his difficult task. Conditions around Warka had completely 
changed during his absence. The Tuwaiba tribe had been 
driven out of Mesopotamia, and it was no small matter to 
obtain the necessary gangs of workmen from his distant 
friends and the exorbitant shaikh of El-Khidhr. In con- 
sequence of the river having failed to overflow its natural 
banks in the previous years, extreme poverty prevailed 
among the Arabs of the Lower Euphrates, and it became 
necessary to order all the supplies for men and beasts from 
Suq esh-Shiyukh, a distance of sixty miles, while every day 
a number of camels were engaged to carry water from the 
river to the camp, which he had pitched halfway between 
El-Khidhr and the ruins, and to the Arabs working in the 
trenches of Warka, nine miles away. To make the situation 
even more disagreeable, frequent sand-storms,^ especially 
characteristic of the regions of Warka and Jokha and Tell 
Ibrahim (Cuthah), at the slightest breath of air enveloped 
the mounds " in a dense cloud of impalpable sand," driv- 
ing from their places the workmen, who often lost their 
way in returning to camp. Loftus, however, was not to be 
discouraged by all the difficulties, and with determination 
he tried to accomplish his task. 

The ruins of Warka, the largest in all Babylonia, are 
situated on an elevated tract of desert soil slightly raised 
above a series of inundations and marshes caused by the 
annual overflowing of the Euphrates. When this inunda- 
tion does not occur, the desolation and solitude of Warka 
are even more striking than at ordinary seasons. There is 
then no life for miles around. '' No river glides in gran- 
deur at the base of its mounds ; no green date groves flour- 

^ At least twice or thrice a week. 


sh near its ruins. The jackal and the hya:na appear to 
ihun the dull aspect of its tombs. The king of birds never 
lovers over the deserted waste. A blade of grass or an 
nsect finds no existence there. The shrivelled lichen alone, 
rlinging to the withered surface of the broken brick, seems 
o glory in its universal dominion upon these barren walls." 
Vo wonder that of alf the deserted pictures which Loftus 
;ver beheld, that of Warka incomparably surpassed them all. 
The ruins represent an enormous accumulation of long 
;tretched mounds within " an irregular circle, nearly six 
niles in circumference, defined by the traces of an earthen 
ampart, in some places fifty feet high." As at NufFar, a 
nde depression, the bed of some ancient canal, divides this 
.•levated platform of debris into two unequal parts, varving 

n height trom twentv to fiftv feet, above which still larger 
nounds rise. The principal and doubtless earliest edifices 
ire found in the southwest section, and to this Loftus very 
laturally directed his attention. Most conspicuous among 
hem is a pyramidal mound, about a hundred feet high, 
ailed by the Arabs Buwcriye, /, e., " reed matting," because 
t certain intervals reed mats are placed between the layers 


of unbaked brick. It represents the stage tower or zig- 
gurrat of the ancient Babylonian city Uruk or Erech 
(Gen. lo: lo), forming part of the famous temple E-annUy 
sacred to the goddess Ninni or Nana. The mass of the 
structure, which, unlike the similar towers of Muqayyar and 
NufFar, at present ^ has no external facing of kiln-baked 
brickwork, is at least as old as King Ur-Gur (about 27CX) 
B. c), whose name is stamped upon the baked bricks of the 
water courses ^ built in the centre of its sides. Singashid, a 
monarch living somewhat later, left traces of his restoration 
at the summit of the Buweriye. The lowest stage was 
apparently not reached by Loftus, who after a fruitless 
attempt to discover a barrel cylinder in the west corner of 
the building, and unable to carry on any extensive excava- 
tion, left this mound to future explorers. 

Another interesting structure at Warka is a ruin called 
Wuswas, said to be derived from a negro of this name who 
hunted here for treasures. It is situated less than a thou- 
sand feet to the southwest of the Buweriye, and, like the 
latter, though much smaller in size, contained in a walled 
quadrangle, including an area of more than seven and a half 
acres. Its corners again are approximately toward the four 

^ From a number of indications and details in Loftus' description it fol- 
lows almost with certainty that the stage tower of Erech originally also had 
the usual facing of brickwork. It evidently, however, furnished welcome 
building material to the later inhabitants of Erech. More extensive and 
deeper excavations would doubtless reveal traces enough in the lower stage. 

- Mistaken by Loftus for buttresses '* erected for the purpose of supporting 
the main edifice **( p. 167). Comp. Hilprecht, ** The Babylonian Expedition 
of the University of Pennsylvania,'* scries A, vol. i., part 2, p. 18. I doubt 
whether Loftus examined all the four sides of the building (** on the centre of 
each side"). As the tower must have had an entrance, possibly on the 
southwest side, it is impossible to believe that this side should have had a 
drain on its centre. My own view is that, like the ziggurrat at Nuffar, the 
tower at Warka had such "buttresses'* only on two sides (the number 
** three," g^ven in my publication, p. 18, was due to Hayncs' erroneous 


cardinal points. The most important part of this great 
enclosure is the edifice on the southwest side, which is 246 
feet long and 174 feet wide, elevated on a lofty artificial 
platform fifty feet high. This building at once attracted 
Loftus' attention. By a number of trenches he uncovered 
a considerable portion of the southwest fa9ade, which in 
some places was still twenty-seven feet high. The peculiar 
style of exterior decoration here exhibited afforded us the 
first glimpse of Babylonian architecture. On the whole, 
this facade shows the same characteristic features — stepped 
recesses with chasings at their sides, repeated at regular 
intervals — as the exterior of Sargon's palace at Khorsabad, 
excavated by Victor Place about the same time, or the 
ancient southeast wall of the temple enclosure at Nippur, 
uncovered during our latest campaign in 1 899-1900, and 
many other Babylonian public buildings examined by vari- 
ous explorers. 

Loftus found an entrance to this remarkable complex at 
its northeast side, leading into a large outer court flanked 
by chambers on either side. He also traced and partly 
excavated a number of halls and smaller rooms along the 
southwest fa9ade, which had neither door nor window; he 
could ascertain the extraordinary thickness of the walls as 
compared with the size of the enclosed chambers, and the 
lack of uniformity in size and shape noticeable in the latter, 
— another characteristic feature of Babylonian architecture ; 
he found that the bricks used in the construction of this 
edifice were either marked with a deeply impressed triangu- 
lar stamp on the under side — something altogether un- 
known from early Babylonian ruins — or were stamped with 
" an oblong die bearing thirteen lines of minute cuneiform 
characters," which has not vet been published. But Loftus 
was unable to determine the real character of this structure. 
In consideration of the small funds at his disposal, and 
apparently disappointed by his failure to discover sculptured 


bas-reliefs and other works of art, similar to those which 
had repaid the labors of Botta, Place, and Layard in the 
Assyrian mounds, he abandoned his trenches at Wuswas, 
as he had done at the Buweriye, trying another place where 
he might find the coveted treasures. From all the indications 
contained in Loftus' description of his work at Wuswas wc 
may infer that the remaining walls of the excavated build- 
ing cannot be older than 1400 a. c, and possibly are about 
800 to 1000 years later, apparently being a temple or the 
residence of some high-ranked person. 

To the south of Wuswas there is a second immense struc- 
ture, resembling the former in area and general disposition 
of its plan, but having no court and being more lofty and 
therefore more imposing in the distance. The bricks bear- 
ing the same peculiarities as those of Wuswas, it seems to 
be of about the same age. Loftus accordingly abstained from 
examining this edifice, turning his attention rather to a 
doubtless earlier building situated nearly on a level with the 
desert, close to the southern angle of the Buwerive. He 
unearthed part of a wall, thirty feet long, entirely composed 
of small vellow terra-cotta cones, three inches and a half 

long. Thev were all arranged in half circles with their 
rounded bases facing outwards. " Some had been dipped in 
red and black color and were arranged in various ornamental 
patterns, such as diamonds, triangles, zigzags, and stripes, 
which had a remarkably pleasing effect." Large numbers 
of such cones, frequently bearing votive inscriptions, have 
been found in most of the early Babylonian ruins where 


excavations were conducted, thus proving the correctness of 
Loftus' theory that " they were undoubtedly much used 
as an architectural decoration " in ancient Chaldea. 

Another extraordinary mode of decoration in architecture 
was found in a mound nearWuswas. Upon a basement or 
terrace of mud-brick there rose a long wall entirely com- 
posed of unbaked bricks and conical vases, fragments of the 
latter being scattered all about the surface in its neighbor- 
hood. The arrangement was as follows : " Above the foun- 
dation were a few layers of mud-bricks, and superimposed 
on which were three rows of these vases, arranged horizon- 
tally, mouths outward, and immediately above each other. 
This order of brick and pot work was repeated thrice, and 
was succeeded upwards by a mass of unbaked bricks. The 
vases varv*^ in size from ten to fifteen inches in length, with 
a general diameter at the mouth of four inches. The cup 
or interior is only six inches deep, consequently the conical 
end is solid." One can easily imagine the very strange and 
striking effect produced by these circular openings of the 
vases, the original purpose and age of which Loftus was 
unable to ascertain. 

On the east side of the Buwerive he excavated a terrace 
paved with bricks " inscribed in slightly relieved cuneiform 
characters'* containing the name of Cambyses, while half a 
mile southeast of the former, in a small detached mound, 
he found a large mass of broken columns, capitals, cornices, 
and many other relics of rich internal decoration — all be- 
longing to the Parthian period. 

Important portable antiquities of early Babylonian times 
were unfortunately not disclosed by the explorer. Yet his 
excavations were by no means entirely lacking in literary 
documents and other valuable archaeological objects, though 
mostly of a comparatively late period. As most conspicuous 
among them may be mentioned less than a hundred so- 
called contract tablets of the Neo-Babylonian, Persian, and 


even Seleucide dynasties, the latter at the same time proving 
that at least as late as the third pre-Christian century cunei- 
form writing was in use in Babylonia ; a few syllabaries and 
two large mushroom-shaped cones of baked clay covered on 
their flat tops and stems with cuneiform legends ; an inter- 
esting small tablet in serpentine with pictures on the one 
side and four lines of early cuneiform characters on the 
other; a limestone slab with an imperfect inscription in 
South-Arabian writing — the first of the kind discovered in 
Babylonian ruins; a brick with stamp in relief of an ele- 
vated altar surmounted bva seven-rayed sun; several terra- 
cotta figurines ; a thin silver plate embossed with a beautiful 
female figure ; fragments of a bivalve shell (tridacna squa- 
mosa)^ the exterior of which shows fine carvings of horses 
and lotus flowers, etc. 

The chief results of our explorer's rather superficial dig- 
gings at Warka being for the greater part due to a fortunate 
accident rather than to a clearly defined method and logical 
planning, were of real importance only for the history of 
architecture and for a study of the burial customs prevail- 
ing during the Persian, Parthian, and later occupations of 
Babylonia. Loftus is therefore correct in summing up his 
labors with the statement that " Warka may still be con- 
sidered as unexplored.'* Within the three months at his 
disposal he scratched a little here and there, like Layard at 
Babylon and NufFar, filled with a nervous desire to find 
important large museum pieces at the least possible outlay 
of time and money. Warka, however, is not the place to 
yield them readily. Objects of art and business archives 
and libraries with precious literary documents are doubtless 
contained in the enormous mounds. But in what condition 
they will be found is another quite different question. As 
we know from cuneiform records, the Elamite hordes invad- 
ing Babylonia towards the end of the third pre-Christian 
millennium sacked and looted the temples and palaces of 


ancient Erech above others, establishing even a kingdom 
of their own in those regions. The large stratum of inten- 
tionally broken inscribed vases, statues, reliefs, and other 
objects of art of the earliest Babylonian period surrounding 
the temple court of Nippur, which I have shown to be the 
results of revengeful Elamite destruction, indicates what we 
may expect to find in the middle strata of Warka. In order 
to reach these deeper strata, a heavy superincumbent mass 
of rubbish and funereal remains, representing a period of 
about one thousand years after the fall of the Neo-Babylo- 
nian empire, has to be examined and removed. 

In itself, any ancient city continuously inhabited for at 
least 5000 years, and repeatedly occupied by hostile armies, as 
Erech was, must be regarded as a site most unfavorable to 
the discovery of large and well preserved earlier antiquities. 
As a rule these latter, if escaping the vicissitudes of war, 
have been transferred from generation to generation until 
they were consumed or damaged in their natural continued 
use, while others, perhaps intact at the time when they were 
hidden under collapsing walls, have been frequently after- 
wards brought to light in connection with the thousands of 
later burials. No longer understood or appreciated by the 
inhabitants of a subsequent age, and frequently also of 
another race and religion, they were often intentionally 
broken and employed in a manner quite different from their 
original purpose. 

In addition to the points just mentioned, the natural 
conditions around Warka are even worse than at Nuff^ar. 
From February or March to Julv the inundations of the 
F.uphrates extend frequently almost to the very base of 
the ruins. The swamps thus formed are swarming with in- 
numerable mosquitoes, which, with the even more dreaded 
sand-flies of the surrounding desert, render the lite ot the 
explorer extremely miserable. Towards the latter part of 
the summer the waters recede. I'he human system, being 


worn out by the heat and fatigue of the summer, is liable to 
fall a victim to the severe fevers now following, which have 
constantly proved to be the greatest real danger to our own 
expeditions at NufFar. At other times, particularly when 
the Euphrates fails to inundate those regions, fresh water is 
not to be had for miles in the neighborhood, while at the 
same time the frequent sand-storms, of which Warka is one 
of the most characteristic centres, increase the general discom- 
fort and render work in the trenches often absolutely impos- 
sible. No expedition should ever resume excavations at 
Warka unless it fullv understands all these difficulties be- 


forehand, and, in contrast with the superficial scratchings of 
Loftus, is prepared to excavate these largest of all Babylo- 
nian mounds in a strictly methodical manner for a period 
of at least fifty years, assured of a fund of no less than 
JS5cx>,ooo. By the mere " digging *' foi* a few years at such 
an important place as Warka, Assyriology would irreparably 
lose more than it ever could gain by the unearthing of a 
number of antiquities, however valuable in themselves. 

After three months of brave battling against odd circum- 
stances Loftus instinctively began to realize the grandeur of 
the task with which he was confronted, and the utter in- 
sufficiency of the means at his disposal and the methods 
hitherto employed. Accordingly he decided to quit Warka, 
leaving its thorough exploration to an adequately equipped 
future expedition. Under the protection of a friendly 
shaikh of the Shammar Bedouins, then encamped near the 
ruins of Warka, he moved to Senkere, on the western bank 
of the Shattel-Kar, situated about fifteen miles southeast of 
the former and plainly visible on a clear day from the sum- 
mit of the Buweriye. These mounds had previously been 
visited only bv Fraser and Ross in the course of their hastv 
journey through the Jezire, briefly described above (pp. 


As over against the lofty ruins of Warka, covering a city 


which continued to be inhabited for centuries after the com- 
mencement of the Christian era, Senkere, rather smaller in 
height and extent than the fornjer, shows no trace of any 
considerable occupation later than the Neo-Babylonian and 
Persian periods. From the very beginning it was therefore 
evident that Loftus' labors at this site would be repaid by 
much quicker and more satisfactory results than at Warka. 
The two principal mounds of the ruins, which measure over 
four miles in circumference, were first examined. They 
contained the remains of the temple and stage-tower of the 
Sun-god, as was readily ascertained by a few trenches cut 
into their centre and base. The stage-tower, about four 
hundred paces to the northeast of the temple ruins proper, 
shows the same peculiarities as the Buweriye at Warka and 
other similar buildings. From inscribed bricks taken from 
this mound it was proved that Hammurabi, of the so-called 
First Dynasty of Babylon (about 2250 b. c.),and Nabonidos, 
the last king of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty (556-539 b. c), 
were among those who repaired this very ancient structure. 
It was of course out of the question for Loftus to make 
an attempt to uncover the temple of the Sun-god com- 
pletely, in order to restore its original plan, within the few 
weeks which he was able to devote to the excavations at 
Senkere. However, he showed that upon a large platform 
or terrace constructed six feet above another larger one, 
from which the former receded seventv-four feet, there stood 
a large hall or chamber entirely filled with rubbish. The 
walls of this building, which doubtless formed the main 
feature of the whole oval mound, were in part preserved, 
being still four feet high. While cleaning its characteristic 
entrance, formed by ten stepped recesses, Loftus was fortu- 
nate to discover two barrel-shaped clav cylinders. They 
were duplicates, bearing the same inscription. A third 
copy was soon afterwards discovered at a distant part of the 
ruins. From these cuneiform records and from numerous 


bricks taken from the upper building and the enclosing 
temple wall, it was ascertained that, in accordance with a 
reference on the cylindex brought by Rich's secretary 
Bellino from Babylon, Nebuchadrezzar had devoted con- 
siderable time and labor to the restoration of this ancient 
sanctuary. It became furthermore evident that the ancient 
Babylonian city buried under the ruins of Senkere was no 
other than Larsam, sacred to Shamash and identical with 
the Biblical Ellasar (Gen. 14 : i). From a single brick of 
sixteen lines, also taken from these ruins. Sir Henry Raw- 
linson obtained the name of a new king, Burnaburiyash 
(about 1400 B. c), one of the powerful rulers of the Cassite 
dynasty, while the lower strata of the mound furnished 
ample evidence that King Ur-Gur of Ur (about 2700 b. c), 
the great builder of Babylonian temples, had also been very 
active at Larsam. 

In addition to these very important discoveries, by which 
the name of the ancient city was identified and the first 
glimpses of its long history obtained, Loftus furnished 
material for us to show that in later years, when the temple 
was in ruins, the ground of the destroyed city of Larsam, 
like the other more prominent mounds of Babylonia, was 
used as a vast cemetery. Contrary, however, to the views 
of Loftus and other writers who followed him without 
criticism, the numerous clay tablets, which he continually 
found scattered through the upper layers partially burned, 
blackened and otherwise damaged by fire, and disintegrating 
from the nitrous earth composing or surrounding them, in 
most cases have nothing to do with the tombs in and around 
which they occur. Belonging to the period of about 2400 
to 500 B. c, these tablets as a rule considerably antedate 
those burials. It has not yet been proved that in real 
Babylonian times Larsam was a cemetery, and in fact many 
strong reasons speak against such an assumption. On the 
other hand it is only natural to infer that when Larsam 


finally was no more, later grave-diggers, frequently disturb- 
ing the deserted mounds to a considerable depth, shoiild 
accidentally have struck hundreds of clay tablets and seal- 
cylinders, which they moved out of their original resting 
places to an upper stratum, thus filling the burial ground 
with the literary and artistic remains of an older period, 
and creating the impression upon the uninitiated or careless 
observer that the burials are contemporary with those anti- 
quities, and that the latter furnish us a real clue for de- 
termining the age of the former. In the first years of our 
own excavations at NufFar I was frequently misled by the 
positive statements of those in the field, occasionally quot- 
ing Loftus and Taylor as their authorities, until by person- 
ally taking charge of the expedition, I definitely determined 
that with but few exceptions, which can easily be explained, 
the large mass of tombs at NufFar is later than 400 b. c, 
though often found thirty feet and more below the surface. 
Many of the tablets discovered by Loftus were wrapped 
in thin clay envelopes, similarly inscribed, and like the 
enclosed document covered with 
the impressions of seal cylinders. 
Others, also bearing the impres- 
sions of cylinders, were triangu- 
lar in shape. From the fact 
that at their corners there are 
holes through which cords must 
have passed, it became evident, 
even without deciphering their 
inscriptions, that thev were used 
somewhat like labels attached to cij> tji,i=[ «i[h Envdo]*, Vurtar 
an object. As a rule 1 have 

found Babylonian documents of this class to belong to the 
second half of the third pre-Christian inillenniiim. <)t 
especial value and interest was a certain tablet which pro\'ed 
to be a table of squares trom one to sixtv, both numbers 


I and 60, being rendered by the same perpendicular wedge, 
thiis confirming the statement of Berosus that the Baby- 
lonians employed a sexagesimal system of calculation. 

Among the stray clay reliefs taken from the upper layers 
of Senkere, but doubtless belonging to a much earlier period 
of Babylonian civilization, are some tablets with a religious 
representation, others showing persons employed in their 
every-day life. One of the latter, for example, exhibits two 
persons boxing, while two others are occupied over a large 
vase ; another reproduces a lion roaring and furiously lash- 
ing his tail because of being disturbed in his feast of a bullock 
bv a man armed with a hatchet and a club. 

Larsam is one of those mounds easily excavated and 
sure to repay the labors of the systematic explorer quickly. 
Representing one of the earliest and most famous Baby- 
lonian cities, with a sanctuary in which the kings of all ages 
down to Nabonidos were prominently interested, it wall 
furnish literary and artistic monuments of importance for 
the early history and civilization of Babylonia. 

While engaged in his work at Senkere, Loftus sent a 
few gangs of workmen to the ruins of Tell Sifr and Tell 
Medina, on the east of the Shatt el-Kar. The trenches cut 
into the desolate mound of Medina, situated on the border 
of extensive marshes and inhabited bv lions and other wild 
animals, yielded no results beyond a single stray clay tablet, 
a number of tombs, and the common types of pottery. But 
the excavations carried on for a few days at Tell Sifr 
(" Copper**) were most encouraging, bringing to light about 
one hundred mostly well-preserved case tablets, dated in 
the reigns of the kings of the First Dynasty of Babylon 
(Samsu-iluna, previously unknown, being among them), 
and a large collection of caldrons, vases, dishes, hammers, 
hatchets, knives, daggers, fetters, mirrors, and other instru- 
ments and utensils, all in copper, and evidently likewise 
belonging to the second half of the third pre-Christian 


Unfortunately the excavations so successfully begun at 
Senkere and Tell Sifr came to a sudden end. The con- 
tinued advance of the marshes from the overflowing of the 
Shatt el-Kar indicated very plainly that in a few weeks the 
whole of Southern Babylonia would be covered with inun- 
dations. The Arabs, who for several successive years had 
terribly suflFered from lack of water and food, and therefore 
were anxious to cultivate their patches of land, rapidly de- 
creased the necessary forces in the trenches by their frequent 
desertions. In order not to be finally left alone with his 
excavated treasures on an isolated mound surrounded by the 
Chaldean swamps, Loftus was forced to sacrifice his personal 
wishes and return to the Euphrates, much to his regret 
quitting the South Babylonian mounds, the real character 
and contents of which he had been the first to disclose to 
the public. 


The next to appear on the unexplored ground in the 
South was Henry Layard. A long experience in the 
trenches of Nimrud and Qoyunjuk had qualified him above 
others for the exploration of the mounds in ancient Baby- 
Ionia. Besides, he was well acquainted with the life and 
manners of the Arabs, and not unfamiliar with the peculiar- 
ities of 'Iraq el-*Arabi as a whole. For in connection w^ith 
his early adventures in I.uristan and Khuzistan he had 
visited Baghdad repeatedly, and in Arab or Persian dis- 
guise he had travelled even among the lawless tribes of the 
districts adjoining the two rivers to the east and west as far 
down as Qorna and Basra. Prevented hitherto by lack of 
means from carrying out his old and comprehensive scheme 
of" excavating many remarkable sites both in Chaldea and 
Susiana,*' he was finally enabled to gratifv his ardent desire 
to a limited extent. Apparently influenced in their decision 
by the encouraging results of Loftus* first tentative work at 


Warka, the trustees of the British Museum granted him 
permission to excavate some of the more prominent Baby- 
lonian mounds. 

Accompanied by his trusted comrade Rassam and by 
about thirty of his most experienced workmen from Mosul, 
he descended the Tigris on a raft, reaching Baghdad October 
26, 1850. But the time was ill chosen for his exploring 
tour. His old friend Dr. Ross had died a year before ; 
Colonel Rawlinson, the British resident, was on a leave of 
absence in England ; Hormuzd Rassam fell seriously ill 
soon after their arrival, and the whole country around the 
city was swarming with Bedouins in open revolt against the 
Ottoman government, so that it was next to impossible to 
leave for the ruins of Babvlon. 

Not to lose time, he began operations at Tell Mohammed, 
a few miles to the southeast of Baghdad, where Captain 
Jones' crew had discovered inscribed bronze balls, from 
which it became evident that at some previous time a royal 
Babylonian palace (of Hammurabi) had occupied this site. 
Beyond several insignificant finds Layard's excavations 
proved unsuccessful. After a delay of nearly six weeks he 
moved to Hilla. Owing to the disturbed state of the 
country he could do no more than pay a hurried visit to 
the conspicuous mound of Kl-Birs, which, like his prede- 
cessors, he recognized at once as the remains of a stage 
tower, " the general type of the Chaldean and Assyrian 

As soon as he had established friendly relations with the 
most influential inhabitants of the town, he commenced ex- 
cavations at Babil. The subterranean passages opened by 
Rich forty years previously were quickly discovered and 
followed up, but without results. By means of a few deep 
trenches he arrived at the doubtless correct conclusion that 
the coffins here found must belong to a period subsequent to 
the destruction of the edifice which forms the centre of the 


mound, and that in all probability long after the fall of the 
Babylonian empire a citadel had crowned its summit. He 
exposed at the foot of the hill enormous piers and but- 
tresses of brickwork, frequently bearing the name of Ne- 
buchadrezzar, but he could find no clue as to the original 
character of the gigantic structure which had left such vast 

Next he turned to the shapeless mass of shattered walls, 
known since the time of Rich under the name of El-Qasr 
("The Palace"), but like Babil also frequently called Mu- 
jeliba (" Overturned ") by the Arab population. Again his 
labors were deficient in positive results. He gathered no- 
thing but a few specimens of the well-known enamelled 
bricks of various colors, and excavated some rudely en- 
graved gems and the fragment of a limestone slab containing 
two human figures with unimportant cuneiform characters. 

No better antiquities were discovered at Tell *Omran 
ibn *Ali and several smaller mounds included in the terri- 
tory of ancient Babylon. After a month of nearly fruitless 
digging in the extensive ruins of the famous metropolis he 
decided to leave a small gang of workmen at these disap- 
pointing mounds and to depart with his Mosul Arabs for 
Tell Nuffar, the only place in the interior of the country 
to w hich he devoted a few weeks of concentrated attention. 
At the head of a good-sized caravan of fifty men he arrived 
at the marshes of Nuffar on January 17, 1S51. He was 
received in the most friendly manner by the shaikh of the 
'Afej, whose protection he had solicited before he left the 
banks of the Kuphrates. But much to his disappointment 
and personal discomfort he felt obliged to comply with the 
shaikh's request and to pitch his tent at Suq el-^A.fej, " the 
market place " of the tribe and the residence of his 
newly acquired patron. The conglomeration of filthy reed 
huts which had received this high-sounding name was 
situated at the southeast edge of the unhealthy marshes 

160 ExrLoiiATioys ly bihle lands 

and nearly three miles away from the ruins of NufFar. In 
order to reach the latter with his Arabs of Mosul and a 
number of 'Afej, it was necessary to cross the swamps every 

dav by means of the turrAda, a long narrow and shallow 
boat of the natives consisting of a framework of bulrushes 
covered with bitumen. 

The imposing ruins of Nuffar, with Babylon and Warka 
the largest in Babylonia, are situated at the northeastern 
boundary of these marshes, which vary in size according to 
the extent of the annual inundations of the F-uphrates. A 
large canal, now dry and for miles entirely filled with sand 
and rubbish, divides the ruins into two almost equal parts. 
It is called by the surrounding tribes Shatt en-Nil, sup- 
posed to be a continuation of the famous canal which. 


branching off from the Euphrates above Babylon, once 
carried Hfe and fertility to the otherwise barren plains of 
Central Babylonia. On an average about fifty to sixty feet 
high, the ruins of NuflFar form a collection of mounds torn 
up by frequent gulleys and furrows into a number of spurs 
and ridges, from the distance not unlike a rugged mountain 
range on the banks of the upper Tigris. 

In the Babylonian language the city buried here was called 
Nippur. Out of the midst of collapsed walls and broken 
drains at the northeastern corner of these vast ruins there 
rises a conical mound to the height of about ninety-five feet 
above the present level of the plain. It is called Bint el- 
Amir (" The Princess ") by the Arabs of the neighborhood, 
and covers the remains oflmg/iarsagy the ancient stage-tower 
of Ekur, the great sanctuary of Bel. An almost straight 
line formed by two narrow ridges to the northeast of the 
temple towards the desert indicates the course of Ntmit- 
Marduky the outer wall of the city. The surface of this 
whole mass of ruins is covered with numerous fragments of 
brick, glazed and unglazed pottery, stone, glass and scoria, 
which generally mark the sites of Babylonian cities. 

Lavard spent less than a fortnight at these ruins, to ex- 
amine their contents, devoting considerable time to the fruit- 
less search of '' a great black stone ** said by the Arabs to 
exist somewhere in the mounds of Nuffar. But a last time 
his hopes and expectations connected with the ruins of 
Babylonia were bitterly disappointed. Though opening 
manv trenches in different sections of the ruins, and es- 
pecially in the conical mound at the northeastern corner, 
where forty years later the present writer still found their 
traces, he discovered little of the true Babylonian period 
bevond massive walls and stray bricks inscribed with a 
cuneiform legend of King Ur-Gur. All the mounds seemed 
literally filled with the burials of a people inhabiting those 
regions long after the ancient city was covered vyith rubbish 


and the sand of the desert. He unearthed and examined 
nearly a hundred slipper-shaped clay coffins similar to those 
which Loftus had recently sent from Warka to England. 
Frequently they contained small cups and vases with black- 
ish deposits of unknown liquids and crumbling remains of 
dates and bones, occasionally a few beads and engraved 
stones, but in no case ornaments of gold and silver. 

Somewhat disheartened by this lack of success which 
everywhere characterized his brief and superficial work 
among the Babylonian ruins, differing from those in Assy- 
ria by the natural conditions of the soil, their long and 
varied occupation and the peculiarity of the material em- 
ployed in constructing palaces and other large edifices, 
Layard's opinion of the character of the mounds examined 
was naturally faulty and colored by his unfortunate expe- 
rience. " On the whole I am much inclined to question 
whether extensive excavations carried on at Niffer would 
produce any very important or interesting results," was the 
verdict of the great explorer at the middle of the last century. 
" More than sixtv thousand cuneiform tablets so far rescued 

from the archives of Nippur, temple library definitely located, 
and a large pre-Sargonic gate discovered below the desert," 
was another message which fifty years later the present writer 
could despatch to the committee of the Philadelphia expe- 
dition from the same mounds of Nuffar. In consequence 
of the state of anarchy which prevailed everywhere in Baby- 
lonia, and influenced bv what has been stated above, Lavard 
abandoned his original plan of visiting and exploring the 
ruins of Warka. His physical condition had also suffered 
considerably during his brief stay among the *Afej. The 
dampness of the soil and the unwholesome air of the sur- 
rounding marshes had brought on a severe attack of pleurisy 
and fever. It was therefore with a feeling of joy and relief 
that soon after the arrival of Rassam, who had just recovered 
from his long and severe illness at Baghdad, Layard quitted 


the unhospitable and malarious regions around NufFar for- 

We cannot close the brief description of Layard's fruitless 
efforts in Babylonia without quoting a remark which, on the 
authority of Fresnel/ he is said to have made to his Eng- 
lish friends after his return to Baghdad. " There will be 
nothing to be hoped for from the site of Babylon except 
with a parliamentary vote for ^25,000 (= $125,000), and if 
ever this sum should be voted, I would solicit the favor 
of not being charged with its application.** 



The continued activity of the English explorers among 
the ruins of Assyria and Babylonia, the encouraging news 
of the results of Loftus* first tentative work at Warka, and 
the general conviction of European scholars that the kings 
of Babylon must have left similar and even earlier monu- 
ments than those excavated bv Botta and Layard in the 
Assyrian mounds moved the French government to a de- 
cisive step. In August, 1851, Leon Faucher, then minister 
of the interior, laid a plan for the organization of "a scien- 
tific and artistic expedition to Mesopotamia and Media" 
before the National Assembly, accompanied by the urgent 
request for a credit of 70,000 francs ( = 514,000). The neces- 
sary' permission was soon granted. On October i, the 
members of the expedition left Paris, and Marseilles eight 
days later. Fulgence Fresnel, formerly French consul at 
Jidda and thoroughly acquainted with the language and 
manners of the Arabs, was the director, ably assisted by 
Jules Oppert as Assyriologist, a vouni/ naturalized Cicrman 
scholar ot great talents and independence of judgment, and 
Felix Thomas as architect. 

' In Journal Asiatiqut\ Series v., vol. vi. (1856), p. 548. 


Adverse circumstances and unavoidable delays kept the 
members of the expedition three months on their way from 
France to Alexandretta, a time which they employed to the 
best of their ability in examining the ancient remains at 
Malta, Alexandria, Baalbek, and the Nahr el-Kelb above 
Beirut. With forty mules they finally left Aleppo, and 
after an interesting journey via Diarbekr, Mardin, and 
Nisibin, on March i, 1852, reached Mosul, where Victor 
Place had succeeded Botta as vice-consul and archaeological 
representative of France, while Layard, having finished his 
second successful campaign at ^oyunjuk, had returned to 
Europe in the previous year. The very next day after 
their arrival on this historical ground the enthusiastic French 
commission visited Place at Khorsabad, who had but recently 
commenced his operations there. For three weeks they 
remained at Mosul, occupying themselves with a study of 
the history of the city, examining the ruins of Nineveh on 
the other side of the river, taking squeezes, copying cunei- 
form inscriptions, and preparing themselves in many other 
ways for their impending task at Babylon. As soon as their 
large raft of three hundred goat-skins was finished, they 
embarked and descended the Tigris, arriving at Baghdad 
five days later. 

As we have seen above in connection with Layard's visit 


to Babylonia, there prevailed at the middle of the last 
century a general state of anarchy in the northern part of 
that country. Large parties of roaming Arabs, defying the 
authority of the Turkish governor, were constantly plunder- 
ing pilgrims and caravans, and even made the neighbor- 
hood of Baghdad very unsafe. The French expedition 
was not slow in recognizing its unfavorable position. Men 
like Rawlinson, who were thoroughly familiar with the 
country and its inhabitants, advised the three members 
strongly to devote their first attention rather to the Median 
ruins, Oppert himself proposing to explore the site of 


ancient Ecbatana. But the cool political relations then exist- 
ing between France and Persia seemed to Fresnel a serious 
obstacle to any successful work in that direction. After a 
repeated discussion of the whole situation, it was decided 
to remain at Baghdad, waiting for the first opportunity to 
proceed to Hilla. 

This decision did not turn out to be very wise: for it 
soon became evident that the dangers had been greatly 
exaggerated, in order to keep the expedition from the ruins. 
Over three months the members were thus practically shut 
up within the walls of the city.^ Spring passed away, and 
it was summer when a foolish rumor of the discovery of 
the golden statue of Nebuchadrezzar at Babylon, which 
spread rapidly all over Asia Minor, finding its way even into 
the American papers, finally roused Fresnel to new activity. 
In the company of two regiments of soldiers, who happened 
to leave for Hilla, the French expedition quitted Baghdad, 
established its headquarters at Jumjuma" or Jimjime, and 
began actual excavations at the Qasr on July 15, 1852. 

The commencement of their work was most discouraging. 
The mass of masonry and rubbish to be removed was 
enormous and far beyond the time and means at their dis- 
posal. Owing to the great danger connected with cutting 
trenches into the loose fragments, thev had to confine their 
labors to certain sections of the large ruin. The results, 
accordingly, were as modest as possible. Like Layard, 
thev found the ordinary bricks inscribed with the well- 
known legend of Nebuchadrezzar, of which Oppert made 

' Shortly before their final departure for Babylon, Oppert and Thomas made 
A brief excursion by water to the ruins of Ctesiphon and Seleucia (June 23 ), 
and also paid a visit to Kadhimen, a little above Baghdad. 

• While in his recent publication, j^m Euphrat und am Tigris (p. 37 ), Sa- 
chau regards i^mquma as the original word, Oppert ( Expediti'jii en Meso- 
potamiCy vol. i., p. 141 ), following Rich (comp. p. 30, above^ and the 
Turkish geographer (Rich's "Collected Memoirs," p. 61 ), retained Jum- 
juma, meaning "Skull, Calvary.'* 


the best by showing that nearly forty different stamps had 
been employed in their manufacture. They gathered a 
large number of varnished tiles representing portions of 
men, animals, plants, ornaments, and cuneiform characters, 
as often noticed before, and they discovered even some frag- 
ments of a barrel cylinder of Nebuchadrezzar, a duplicate 
of the complete cylinder published by Rich. 

Of no greater importance were the excavations conducted 
in Tell 'Omran ibn 'Ali (to the south of the Qasr), which 
Oppert firmly believed to represent the site of the famous 
hanging gardens, and which he examined alone, as his two 
companions Fresnel and Thomas had fallen ill. He showed 
that the whole upper part of the ruin contained tombs of 
a very late period. They were particularly numerous at 
the extreme ends and in the ravines of the mound, but in 
no case were found at any great depth in the centre, which 
contained many inscribed bricks of Nebuchadrezzar. These 
tombs clearly betrayed their Parthian origin. They were 
generally constructed in the form of coffins of Babylonian 
bricks, which sometimes bore cuneiform inscriptions of 
Esarhaddon, Nebuchadrezzar, Neriglissar, and Nabonidos. 
Though for the greater part previously pillaged, these burial 
places yielded a quantity of smaller antiquities, such as 
terra-cotta vases, simple and ornamented, clay figurines 
and playthings, glass vessels, instruments in copper and 
iron, and a few gold objects. As the lower strata, apparently 
concealing structures from the time of Nebuchadrezzar, could 
not be examined satisfactorily, unfortunately no definite in- 
formation was obtained as to the character of the large 
edifice which once occupied this prominent site. Oppert's 
theory as set forth above, and defended by him with much 
vigor, has recently been proved by Dr. Koldewey's researches 
to be erroneous. 

The most imposing mound of the ruins of the ancient 
metropolis is Babil, situated at the extreme northern end of 


the vast complex. Its summit, forming an irregular plateau 
of considerable extent, had been described by Rich, Buck- 
ingham, Porter and other earlier explorers as covered with 
numerous remains of buildings. When Oppert examined 
this site, all these walls had disappeared under the industrious 
hands of the Arab brick-diggers, who had begun to start 
excavations even in the interior of the enormous tumulus. 
Since then Babil has again completely changed its aspect, 

so that if three pictures of the same mound taken at the 
beginning, middle and end of the last century were placed 
alongside of one another,' nobody would recognize one and 
the same ruin in them. The l^'rench excavations under- 
taken on a verv limited scale at the top and base of this mound 
brought to light onlv the common bricks and fragments 
of stone and glass and part of a Greek inscription, without 
furnishing anv clue as to the building which originally stood 
here. Interpreting the classical writers rn the light of his 

. Rich's sketch of 1811 
:nch architect Thomas i 

sec page 19, above) with that made 
1853, and reproduced on the prc=cnt 


own theories concerning the topography of Babylon, Oppert 
came to the conclusion that Babil represents the ruins of 
the pyramid called by Strabo the " Sepulchre of Bel," which 
according to his view was a building entirely distinct from 
the " Temple of Bel *' with its stage-tower. 

Considerable time was devoted to tracing the ancient 
quay of the river and the different walls of the city. Fully 
convinced that the capital of Nebuchadrezzar was about 
twenty-five times as large as the ancient city of Babylon ^ 
(previous to the fall of Nineveh), and that the latter was 
reserved exclusively for the royal quarter under the kings 
of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty, Oppert followed Bucking- 
ham's example and included Kl-Birs and El-Ohemir in the 
enormous territory of his " Greater Babylon." He ex- 
amined these two extreme quarters and the territory lying 
between them personally, supplementing or correcting the 
statements of his predecessors in certain details. While 
himself occupied with the excavations at 'Omran ibn *AIi, 
he even ordered a few trenches to be cut in Tell Ibrahim el- 
Khalil, a large mound adjoining El-Birs, and with the latter 
forming the principal ruins of an ancient city. The finds 
were insignificant, with the exception of a small dated tablet 
found in a tomb and bearing the name of the place, Barsip, 
at the end. In the light of Sir Henry Rawlinson's funda- 
mental discoveries at the Birs made a few years later, but 
published several years before Oppert's work appeared, 
this document, though as a stray tablet of little importance 
for the whole question in itself, could be claimed as the first 
cuneiform witness in support of the proposed identification 
of these ruins with ancient Borsippa.- Having once set 

^ According to Oppert, the great outer wall of Babylon enclosed a territory 
as large as the whole department of the Seine, or fifteen times as large as the 
city of Paris in 1859, or seven times the extent of Paris in i860. Comp. 
Oppert, /. r., vol. i., p. 234. 

^ Comp, Oppert, /. r., vol. i., p. 204. 


forth his theory on the enormous extent of the city of 
Babylon and having failed to find any trace of Herodotus' 
" Temple of Belus *' among the ruins on the left side of the 
Euphrates, it was only natural that with most of the former 
travellers Oppert should decide upon the gigantic remains 
of the tower of Borsippa as the ruins of that great sanctuary. 

In October, 1852, Fresnel and Oppert excavated for a 
week at the group of mounds generally called El-Ohemir, 
and including the tumulus of El-Khazna(" The Treasure *'), 
El-Bandar ("The Harbor *') and a number of lower eleva- 
tions, several hours to the east of Babylon, near the old bed 
of the Shatt en-Nil. They uncovered a brick pavement of 
Nebuchadrezzar close by El-Ohemir, and a piece of basalt 
bearing an archaic cuneiform inscription \vith many smaller 
antiquities in the other two principal mounds just men- 
tioned. The identification of this whole group "with one 
of the two cities of Cuthah " referred to bv Arab writers was 
proposed by Oppert, but cannot be accepted. For the 
brick found and published by Ker Porter says clearly that 
Zamama, the chief deity of Kish, had his sanctuary, E-me-te- 
ur-sag-gdy there,' while the god of Cuthah was Nergal. 

The French explorers worked at Babylon and its envi- 
ronment for almost two years, extending their topographical 
researches on the west side of the Euphrates as far as Kerbela 
and Kefil, and locating and briefly describing a number of 
Babylonian and Mohammedan ruins previously unknown. 
At the beginning of February, 1854, after a visit to the 
ruins of ^A.qarquf, Oppert finally left Babylonia, while Fres- 
nel remained in Baghdad until his early death in November, 
1855. The former returned to France bv way of Mosul, 
where in the company of Victor Place he devoted six weeks 
to a thorough study of the ruins of Nineveh and Khorsabad, 
and their exposed monuments, many of which he could 
decipher at the places of their discoverv before they were 

^ Comp. p. 49, above, with ii. R. 50, 12. 


removed to Europe. On July i, 1854, Oppert arrived at 
Paris alone with his notes and plans and a few antiquities, 
waiting for the bulk of the results of his expedition, which 
had been ordered to be sent home by a French boat from 
Basra. But unfortunately they never reached their desti- 
nation. It was a'bout a year later when Oppert, while in 
London, learned the first news of the disaster from Sir 
Henry Layard. i\ll the collections excavated and purchased, 
including even the valuable marble vase of Naram-Sin (about 
3750 B. c), the first and for a long while the only monu- 
ment of the ancient Sargonides discovered, went down in 
the muddy waters of the Tigris, a few miles above its junc- 
tion with the Euphrates, on May 23, 1855. 

It was a long series of difficulties and adverse circum- 
stances which the French expedition had to encounter from 
the beginning to the end. Owing to the very limited means 
at their disposal, Fresnel and Oppert had not been able to 
do much more than to scratch the surface of the vast mounds, 
without contributing anything of importance to our know- 
ledge of the ancient topography of Nebuchadrezzar's me- 
tropolis. " The great city of Babylon *' was practically still 
unexplored when the French expedition quitted the ruins. 
But notwithstanding all that has been said to the contrary, 
scientific results were by no means lacking. In a general 
way first communicated by Fresnel in the Journal Asiati- 
que^ they were methodically and neatly set forth by Oppert, 
the real soul of the whole undertaking, in a work of two 
volumes,^ illustrated bv a number of sketches from the 

^ Comp. FresnePs two letters to J. Mohl, published in the Journal Asia- 
tiqucj Series v., vol. i. (1853), PP- 4^5~54^> dated Hilla, December, 1852, 
and continued in vol. ii. (1853), PP* 5""7^> *"^ ^®^' ^' ('^5^)» PP* 
525-548, dated Hilla, end of June, 1853. 

'^ Authorized by ministerial order in 1856, it appeared under the title 
Expedition Scientijique en Mesopotamie, two volumes, Paris, vol. ii. (pub- 
lished first), 1859: ** Decipherment of the Cuneiform Inscriptions" (part 



hand of Thomas.^ This publication, written by one of the 
founders of the young Assyriological science, will always 
hold a prominent place in the history of exploration, alike 
for the manifold information it conveys on various archaeolo- 
gical topics, for the boldness with which our author attacks 
difficult topographical problems, and above all for the 
skill and brilliancy with which Oppert — in many cases 
for the first time — translates and analyzes the historical in- 
scriptions from Assyrian and Babylonian palaces, thus con- 
tributing essentially to the restoration of the eventful past 
of two powerful nations. 


At the beginning of 1854, when Petermann, of Berlin, 
was studying the language and life of the Sabean Christians 
at Suq esh-Shiyukh, and Loftus was engaged at Warka for 
the " Assyrian Excavation Fund," at the request of Sir 
Henrv Rawlinson excavations were also undertaken at 
Muqayyar for the British Museum by J. E. Taylor, Her 
Majesty's Vice-Consul at Basra. The ruins of Muqayyar^ 
(" Bitumined** or "Cemented with Bitumen**) are situated 
upon a slight elevation six to seven miles southwest from 
the modern town of Nasrive. The countrv all about is 
so low that frequently during the annual flood of the Eu- 
phrates, /. e.y from March till June or Julv, the ruins form 
practically an island in the midst of a large marsh, unap- 

iii. including inscriptions discovered by the French expedition) ; vol. i. 
1863: ** Re|X)rt of the Journey and Results of the Expedition " (pp. 287— 
357 containing a description of" Assyrian ruins, illustrated by a translation of 
the largest and most important inscriptions then discovered). 

* Published as part of an Atlas (21 plates) accompanying Oppert's two 

^ To-day generally pronounced Muga^er by the Arabs. The various 
^^Titers, with more or less success endeavoring to reproduce the name as it 
was heard by them, write it in many different ways, Muqueijcr, Mughytr, 
Muge'^er, Mughair, Megheyery Mrg/uiiir, Umghser^ Umgheir^ etc. 




proachable on any side except in boats. The ruins are then 
sometimes occupied as a stronghold by the Dhafir.a lawless 
tribe of the desert, which at certain seasons extends its 
camping-grounds far into the districts of the Jezire. Trav- 
ellers who in recent years desired to visit Muqayyar were 
often obliged to do so at their own risk,' the Turkish 
officials not only declining a military escort, but demanding 
even a written declaration in which it is stated that the 
person in question does not hold the Ottoman government 
responsible for any 
accident that may 
befall him in a re- 
gion outside of their 
real jurisdiction. 

The ruins ofMu- 
qayyar consist of a 
series of low mounds 
of oval form, their 
whole circumference 
measuring nearly 
3000 yards, and 
their latest diame- 
ter from north to 
south a little over 
1000 yards. Previ- 
ous to Taylor, they 
had been examined 
(1625), who took one of the inscribed bricks with him, and 

' A French professor from Bordeaux, who had been my guest Ht Nufiar in 
March, 1900, and ^vhom I had advised 10 visit Muqayyar also, reported the 
same experience to me. The Dhaiir allowed him only to walk around the ruins 
hurriedly. Since the tall of 1900, after the great troubles among the Ar^ 
of those regions and to the south of them have been settled lempcntily, con- 
ditions have improved somewhat. 

I of the Rulnlof Muqay 


gathered some inscribed seal cylinders on the surface/ by 
Baillie Fraser (1835),^ ^"^ ^Y Loftus (1850), who again 
visited them shortly before he quitted Babylonia forever 
(1854).^ But our real knowledge of the character and con- 
tents of the ruins is based upon the excavations of the first- 
named explorer, who worked there in the beginning of 
1854, and who opened a few additional trenches, in con- 
nection with a second visit, about a year later. 

Near the north end of the mounds stands the principal 
building of the whole site, about seventy feet high. It is a 
two-storied structure having the plan of a right-angled par- 
allelogram, the largest sides of which are the northeast and 
southwest, being each 198 fe^t long, while the others mea- 
sure only 133 feet. As in all other similar Babylonian 
buildings, one angle points almost due north. The lower 
story, twenty-seven feet high, is supported by strong but- 
tresses ; the upper story, receding from thirty to forty-seven 
feet from the edge of the first, is fourteen feet high, sur- 
mounted by about five feet of brick rubbish. The ascent 
to this remarkable stage-tower, perforated with numerous 
air-holes, like those at *Aqarquf and El-Birs, was on the 
northeast side. Bv driving a tunnel into the very heart of 
the mound, Taylor convinced himself first that " the whole 
building was built of sun-dried bricks in the centre, with a 

^ Pietro della Valle (comp. p. 17, above) not only gave the correct etymo- 
logy of the name of the ruins, but recognized even the peculiar signs on the 
bricks and seal cvlinders as unbekannte und uhrdlte Buchstaben, Vnter 
anderen Buchstaben habe ich Ihcr xzveen an vielcn Orten wahrgenornmen, 
zvorunter der cine ivie einc liegende Psramid oder Fliimm'SduU (^[>)> der 
andere aber wie ein Stern mit acht Strahlen (-)(^) — the sign for «* God ** 
— geu:est, Comp. the German translation of his work, Reiss-Bcichreibung^ 
Geneva, 1674, part 4, p. 184. 

* Comp. his "Travels in Koordistan, Mesopotamia," etc., vol. ii., pp. 
90-94, and p. 5 5, above. 

■ ** Travels and Researches in Chald.xa and Susiana," pp. 127-135. 
Comp., also, p. 141, above. 


thick coating of massive, partially burnt bricks of a light red 
color with layers of reeds between them, the whole to the 
thickness of ten feet being cased by a wall of inscribed kiln- 
burnt bricks.** Next he turned his attention to the four 
corners. While excavating the southwest corner of the 
upper story, he found, six feet below the surface, a perfect 
inscribed clay cylinder, standing in a niche formed by the 
omission of one of the bricks in the layer. A similar cylin- 
der having been discovered in the northwest corner, the 
fortunate explorer naturally concluded that corresponding 
objects would be found in the remaining two corners. A 
shaft sunk in each of them proved his theory to be correct, 
at the same time bringing out the important fact that the 
commemorative cylinders of the builders or restorers of 
Babylonian temples and palaces were generally deposited 
in the four corners. Fragments of another larger and 
even more interesting barrel cylinder were rescued from the 
same mound and from a lower elevation immediately north 
of it. 

The massive structure thus examined by Taylor turned 
out to be the famous temple of the Moon-god Sin.^ It is 
" the only example of a Babylonian temple remaining in 
good preservation not wholly covered by rubbish.*' ^ From 
the fine barrel cylinders and the large inscribed bricks dif- 
fering as to size and inscription in the two stories, Rawlin- 
son established soon afterwards that the site of Muqayyar 
represents the Biblical Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:28; 
15:7). The temple was constructed by King Ur-Gur 
(about 2700 B. c), repaired by his son Dungi, and more 
than 2000 years later was for the last time restored by the 
last king of Babylon, Nabuna*id (Nabonidos), who depos- 
ited the account of his work inscribed upon these clay cyl- 
inders in the corners of the stage-tower. 

^ After him Mount Sinai is called, the name meaning ** Sacred to Sin." 
^ Comp. Loftus, /. r., p. 128. 


The discovery of these documents was of the greatest 
importance for Biblical history in another way. The in- 
scriptions upon all of them closed with a poetical prayer for 
the life of the king's oldest son, Bel-shar-usur, who is no 
other than the Biblical Belshazzar (Dan. 5), appointed by 

IS i>( thr Tcmjdc oC Sin ji Muij 

his father as co-regent, defeated by Cyrus near Opis, and 
murdered soon after the conquest of Babvlon. 

In a small hill close to the southeast corner of the large 
ruin 'I'avlor unearthed a regular house built of large inscribed 
bricks upon a platform of sun-dried bricks. Some of the 
burnt bricks were remarkablv fine, having a thin coating 
of enamel or gvpsum on which the cuneitorm characters 
had been stamped, — the first example of this kind known. 
From the northwest corner of the mud wall he obtained a 
small black stone inscribed on both sides, from which it can 
be inferred that the building dates back to the third millen- 

At a depth considerablv below this building, he came 
upon a pavement consisting of bricks fourteen inches long, 
eight and a half wide, and three and a half thick, " most of 


them having the impressions of the tips of two fingers at the 
back ; none were inscribed, the whole imbedded in bitu- 
men." From what the present writer has pointed out in 
1896 as a characteristic feature of the earliest Babylonian 
bricks,' it is very evident that here Taylor had reached the 
pre-Sargonic period (about 4000 b. c). 

He mentions other interesting bricks found upon the 
same mound, which were " painted red, and had an inscrip- 
tion over nearly the whole length and breadth in a small 
neat character," while "on one portion of them was the 
symbol of two crescents, back to back." But his statements 
here and in other places are so vague that our curiosity is 
only raised without any chance of being satisfied. 

The rest of the mounds of Muqayyar, so far as Taylor 
was able to dig into them, seemed to represent a vast cem- 
etery of the early Babylonians, yielding clay coffins and 

vases of different size and shape, numerous drains, and 
many smaller objects in stone, metal, and clay valuable for 
illustrating the life and customs of the former inhabitants, 
especially those of the later periods. 

All around the graves in the different parts of the ruins 

' Comp, Hilprechc, "The Babylonian Expedition of the University of 

Pennsylvania," Series A, vol. i., part i, p. 45. 


he came across many fragments of inscribed cones. In the 
long west mound he found two whole jars filled with clay 
tablets placed in envelopes of the same material, and fre- 
quently bearing seal impressions, in addition to over thirty 
stray tablets and fragments. 

Notwithstanding the insignificant funds and the short 
time placed at the disposal of our explorer, and notwith- 
standing the lack of a proper archaeological training so 
seriously felt by himself, and through which a large portion 
of the scientific results have been lost, Taylor's patient 
labors and attempts at disclosing the contents of Muqayyar 
were successful beyond expectation. Different travellers 
have since visited the ruins, taking measurements and pick- 
ing up a few objects here and there on the surface ; but they 
all have added practically nothing to our knowledge of those 
mounds, which is derived exclusively from the reports of 
Loftus and Taylor written nearly fifty years ago. The 
methodical exploration of Muqayyar and a complete restora- 
tion of its history belong still to the desirable things ex- 
pected from the future. There is hope, however, that even 
before the German railroad line from Baghdad to Basra has 
been constructed, an American expedition will start excava- 
tions at these ruins in the beginning of the twentieth cen- 
tury.^ Owing to the lawlessness of the Arab tribes roaming 
over that part of the desert, and no less to the swampy 
condition of the neighborhood of Muqayyar during the 
annual inundations, there are peculiar difficulties to be over- 
come here, similar to those prevailing at Nippur and Warka. 
But with the necessary tact and determination they can be 
overcome, and the mounds, considerably smaller in extent 
than either of the two ruins mentioned, can be thoroughly 

* According to information received by cable from Dr. Banks, the director 
of the planned Expedition to Ur, at the beginning of October, 1901, the 
Ottoman Government has declined to grant him a firman for the excavation 
of Muqayyar. 


explored at an expense of ^200,000 within a period of 
twenty-five years. The results, though scarcely ever fur- 
nishing a document referring to the life and person of Abra- 
ham, — as has been expected, — will doubtless add many 
fresh stones to the rising building of the early history of 

Previous to his second visit to Muqayyar, early in 1855, 
Taylor excavated for a few days at two other ruins, called 
Tell el-Lahm and Abu Shahrain. The former ruin, con- 
sisting of two mounds of some height surrounded by a 
number of smaller ridges and elevations, is situated three 
hours to the south of Suq esh-Shiyukh, near the dry bed of 
an ancient canal, and does not exceed half a mile in circum- 
ference. Nothing of especial interest was discovered. But 
Taylor exhumed numerous coffins formed of two large jars 
joined together by a bitumen cement, traced several pave- 
ments constructed of baked bricks, occasionally bearing de- 
faced cuneiform characters, and found a perfect clay tablet, 
so that the Babylonian origin, though not the early name 
of the site, could be established beyond any reasonable 

Of greater importance were Taylor's excavations at Abu 
Shahrain, situated in the desert bevond the sandstone bluflFs 
which separate it from Ur and the valley of the Euphrates, 
but — strange to say — very generally placed wrongly by 
Assyriologists on the left side of " the great river," some- 
where opposite Suq esh-Shiyukh,^ though its correct situa- 

* With whom this error started I do not know. Wc find it in Menant, 
Baby lone et la Chaldce (1875), ^"^ Delitzsch, Wo lag das Paradies? 
(1881) — notwithstanding Taylor's very explicit statements to the con- 
trary. George Rawlinson, ** Five Great Monarchies," 4th ed., London, 
1879, vol. ii., (** Map of Mesopotamia,'* etc.) places Abu Shahrain cor- 
rectly, on the right side of the river, but too far to the south. About where 
Tell cl-Lahm is situated is Abu Shahrain, and where he has Abu Shahrain 
is Tell el-Lahm. The ruins of Abu Shahrain, situated as they are in a deep 
valley, cannot be seen from Muqayyar, nor are they identical with Nowawis, 


tion might have been inferred from several cuneiform pas- 
sages in which Eridu is mentioned. " The first aspect of 
the mounds is that of a ruined fort, surrounded by high 
walls with a keep or tower at one end/' placed on an emi- 
nence nearly in the centre of the dry bed of an inland sea. 
They are half concealed in a deep valley about fifteen miles 
wide, and only towards the north open to the Euphrates. 
For the greater part this depression is " covered with a 
nitrous incrustation, but with here and there a few patches 
of alluvium, scantily clothed with the shrubs and plants 
peculiar to the desert." To the northwest and southeast 
of the principal mounds are " small low mounds full of 
graves, funeral vases, and urns.*' Faint traces of an an- 
cient canal, six yards broad, were discovered at no great 
distance to the northwest of the ruins. 

These latter, which are considerably smaller than those 
of Muqayyar, " rise abruptly from the plain, and are not 
encumbered with the masses of rubbish usually surround- 
ing similar places.** Consisting of a platform enclosed by 
a sandstone wall twenty feet high, the whole complex is 
divided into two parts of nearly equal extent. As in most 
of the larger Babylonian ruins so far examined, the northern 
part of Abu Shahrain is occupied by a pyramidal tower of 
two stages, constructed of sun-dried brick cased with a wall 
of kiln-burnt brick, and still about seventy feet high. 

The summit of the first stage of this building is reached 
by a staircase fifteen feet wide and seventy feet long, origi- 
nally constructed of polished marble slabs, now scattered all 
over the mound, and at its foot flanked by two columns of 
an interesting construction. An inclined road leads up to 

as assumed by Peters (** Nippur," vol. ii., pp. 96 and 298, xr^.) Schcil's 
recent statement concerning them (^Reiutii^ vol. xxi., p. 126) evidently 
rests on Arab information. It is correct, but only confirms facts better 
known from Taylor's own accurate reports, which, however, do not seem to 
have been read carefully by Assyriologists during the last twenty-five years. 



the second story. " Pieces of agate, alabaster, and marble, 
finely cut and polished, small pieces of pure gold, gold- 
headed and plain copper nails, cover the ground about the 
basement" of the latter — sufficient to indicate that a small 

Temple R. 

but richly embellished sacred chamber formerly crowned the 
top of the second stage. Around the whole tower there is 
a pavement of inscribed baked brick placed upon a large 
layer of clav two feet thick. 

From several trenches cut in various parts of these re- 
markable mounds, I'avlor reached the startling conclusion 
that all the ruined buildings he met with, including the 
ponderous mass of the stage-tower, rested on the fine sand 
of the desert confined bv a coating of sun-dried brick, upon 
which the above-mentioned sandstone wall rises. In con- 
trast to all the other Babylonian ruins, where natural stone 
is almost entirely unknown as building material, we find 
sandstone and granite and marble liberally employed in 
Abu Shahrain, a fact which illustrates and proves the cor- 
rectness of the theory that the extensive use of clay in 
ancient Babylonia is due onlv to the complete absence of 
any kind of stone in the alluvial ground of the country. 


A number of chambers, which the explorer excavated, 
yielded but little. But the inscribed bricks gathered from 
the temple enclosure told us the important news that the 
city here buried was Eridu, sacred to the early inhabitants 
of Babylonia as the seat of a famous oracle so frequently 
mentioned in the inscriptions of the third pre-Christian mil- 
lennium and later. A peculiar structure partly unearthed at 
the south-east section of the ruins, the precise character 
of which has hitherto not been recognized, also testifies to 
the great age of the place. The uninscribed bricks were 
laid in bitumen, and by their curious shape (" thin at both 
ends and thick in the middle, as in the margin, the under part 
perfectly flat") naturally attracted the attention of Taylor. 
From what we now know about the history of Babylonian 
brick-making, it becomes evident that Taylor had hit a pre- 
Sargonic structure of about 4000 b. c, the southern gateway 
of the large temple complex. If instead of "a few feet" he 
had dug about fifteen to twenty feet on either side along the 
stone wall adjoining it, he probably would have found an- 
other similar pair of bastions, thereby obtaining the charac- 
teristic three divisions of a Sumerian gateway with a central 
passage for beasts and chariots and two narrower side 
entrances, reached by means of steps, for the people. 

With regard to portable finds, Taylor's work at Abu 
Shahrain was unproductive of important results. But the 
discovery and brief description of those large ruins and of 
so many inscribed bricks, through which it was possible to 
restore the old Babvlonian name of the city buried there, 
was in itself a most valuable contribution to our knowledge 
of ancient comparative geography, especially when it is 
remembered that, owing to the seclusion of the spot and the 
insecurity of its neighborhood, Abu Shahrain has never been 
visited again by any European or American explorer.^ 

* Taylor's reports are published in the ** Journal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society of Great Britain and Ireland," vol. xv. (1859J, under the titles 



The first period of Babylonian excavations was well 
brought to an end by Sir Henry Rawlinson himself. For 
a long while the Birs (Nimrud) with its high towering peak 
had been the one ruin above all which he desired to subject 
to a more careful exatnination than had been hitherto the 
case. During the months of September and October, 1854, 
shortly before he closed his memorable career in the Orient 
entirely, his desire could be finally gratified. 

On behalf of the British Museum, he sent an intelli- 
gent young man, Joseph Tonietti, apothecary in the Otto- 
man army, to the ruins of Birs with instructions to ascer- 
tain the general features of the building through a number 

of specified trenches, and in particular to run a trench along 
the whole line of one of the walls " until the angles were 
turned at the two corners, so as to expose the complete face 
of one of the stages " of which Rawlinson had no doubt the 

" Notes on the Ruins of" Muqej-er," pp. 260-176, wid " Notes on Abu 
Shahra'm and Tcl-el-Lahm," pp. 404.-415, 


original building had been formed. His orders were car- 
ried out " with care and judgment " within a little more 
than two months, when the director, who had been en- 
camped for ten days at the foot of the ruins of Babylon, 
occupied with questions of their topography, appeared per- 
sonally on the ground, in order to apply his knowledge and 
critical discrimination to the partly exposed structure. 

Having satisfied himself from an inspection of the various 
trenches in progress that the outer wall of the southeastern 
face of the third stage had been completely uncovered, he 
" proceeded on the next morning with a couple of gangs 
of workmen to turn to account the experience obtained 
from the excavations of Qal*at Shirgat (in Assyria) and 
Muqayyar (in Babylonia) in searching for commemorative 
cylinders. Accordingly he " placed a gang at work upon each 
of the exposed angles of the third stage, directing them to 
remove the bricks forming the corner carefully, one after the 
other," until " they had reached the tenth layer of brick above 
the plinth at the base.** Half an hour later Rawlinson was 
summoned to the southern corner, where the workmen 
had reached the limit which he had marked out for their 
preliminary work. On reaching the spot, he was first 
" occupied for a few minutes in adjusting a prismatic com- 
pass on the lowest brick now remaining of the original 
angle, which fortunately projected a little,** and he then 
ordered the work to be resumed. The excitement which 
immediately followed we describe better in his own lan- 

" No sooner had the next layer of bricks been removed 
than the workmen called out there was a Khazeneh [khazna]^ 
or * treasure hole ; * that is, in the corner at the distance 
of two bricks from the exterior surface, there was a vacant 
space filled half up with loose reddish sand. * Clear away 
the sand,* I said, *and bring out the cylinder;' and as I 
spoke the words, the Arab, groping with his hand among 


the debris in the hole, seized and held up in triumph a 
fine cylinder of baked clay, in as perfect a condition as 
when it was deposited in the artificial cavity above twenty- 
four centuries ago. The workmen were perfectly bewil- 
dered. They could be heard whispering to each other that 
it was sihry or * magic,' while the greybeard of the party sig- 
nificantly observed to his companion that the compass, 
which, as I have mentioned, I had just before been using, 
and had accidentally placed immediately above the cylinder, 
was certainly * a wonderful instrument.^ " 

Soon afterwards an exact duplicate of the cylinder was 
discovered near the eastern corner of the same stage, while 
a search for the remaining cylinders at the northern and 
western corners proved fruitless, because the greater portion 
of the wall at these angles had been already broken away. 
But from the debris which had rolled down from the upper 
stages, Rawlinson gathered two more fragments of a third 
cylinder with the same inscriptions, and a small fragment 
of a much larger new cylinder. All these documents are 
commemorative records of the time of Nebuchadrez- 
zar, by whom they were placed there after his restoration 
of the old tower of Borsippa, called E-ur-imin-an-kiy i. e,y 
" Temple of the Seven Directions (Spheres) of Heaven 
and Karth,'* while the last-mentioned fragment " in some 
detail contains a notice of Nebuchadrezzar's expedition to 
the Mediterranean and his conquest of the kings of the 

In entire accordance with the peculiar Babylonian name 
of the tower which formed the most conspicuous part of the 
temple Ezida, dedicated to Nebo, son of Merodach, were 
Rawlinson's remarkable findings in the trenches. There 
could not be any doubt that the six or seven stages of the 
huge temple tower still to be recognized had been differently 
colored, and that " the color black for the first stage,' red 

^ The bricks of this stage are the only ones laid in bitumen, and the face 


for the third/ and blue for what seemed to be the sixth, 
were precisely the colors which belonged to the first, third, 
and sixth spheres of the Sabaean planetary system ... or 
the colors which appertained to the planets Saturn, Mars, 
and Mercury." 

Down to the present time the large vitrified masses of 
brickwork on the top of the Birs have given rise to much 
speculation and to the wildest theories concerning their 
origin, prominent among which is the common belief that 
they are fragments of the upper stage of the original " Tower 
of Babel," destroyed by lightning from heaven (Gen. ii),^ 
which rather must have formed a prominent part of Baby- 
lon proper on the other side of the Euphrates. While 
examining these upright and scattered remains of ancient 
walls on the summit of the mound, the present writer, with 
other explorers, often recognized the well preserved name 
of Nebuchadrezzar on many of the clearly defined bricks 
which had undergone this vitrification. 

Among all the theories proposed to explain this remark- 
able phenomenon at such an elevation, that of Sir Henry 
Rawlinson, though not entirely removing all the difficulties, 
seems still to be the most plausible. He assumes that pre- 
vious to the erection of the culminating stage, of which 
the remains exist in the solid pile at the summit, by the 
action of fierce and continued heat the bricks of the second 
highest stage of the temple were artificially vitrified, in order 
to give them the color of the corresponding sphere of Mer- 
cury by the solid mass of dark blue slag thus obtained. And 
" it was owing to the accidental use of an imperishable mate- 
rial like slag so near the summit of the Birs, that we are 

of the exposed southeastern wall ** to a depth of half an inch was coated 
with the same material, so as to give it a jet-black appearance.'* 

' Built of bricks of red dav and onlv half burned. Thcv were laid in 
crude red clay, mixed up with chopped straw. 

'^ Comp., e, g,f Ker Porter, pp. 46, seq., above. 


indebted for the solitary preservation of this one building 
among the many hundreds of not inferior temples which 
once studded the surface of Babylonia/* 

After a careful study of all the details offered by the 
trenches, the inscriptions, and other outside facts, Rawlinson 
gave a tentative picture of the original design of the temple 
at Borsippa : " Upon a platform of crude brick, raised a few 
feet above the alluvial plain, and belonging to a temple 
which was erected probably in the remotest antiquity by 
one of the primitive Babylonian kings, Nebuchadrezzar, 
towards the close of his reign, must have rebuilt seven dis- 
tinct stages, one upon the other, symbolical of the concen- 
tric circles of the seven spheres, and each colored with the 
peculiar tint which belonged to the ruling planet." The 
first stage was black, sacred to Saturn ; the second red- 
brown or orange, sacred to Jupiter ; the third, red, belonged 
to Mars ; the fourth, gold-plated, to the sun ; the fifth, yel- 
lowish white, to Venus ; the sixth, dark blue, to Mercury 
(Nebo) ; the seventh, silver-plated, to the moon. The 
entrance to this grand structure was on the northeast side, 
as in the temple of Sin at Ur. The lowest stage was two 
hundred and seventy-two feet square, and probably twenty- 
six feet high. As the successive stages rose to the height 
of about one hundred and sixty feet, they gradually receded, 
becoming smaller and smaller, the seventh stage being occu- 
pied by the richly decorated shrine of the god Nabu (Nebo), 
" The Guardian of Heaven and Earth,'* to whom the tem- 
ple was dedicated.* 

^ Rawlinson's first paper ** On the Birs Nimrud, or the Great Temple of 
Borsippa,'* was published in the «* Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society,'* 
vol. xvii. (i860), pp. 1-34. 




A large amount of cuneiform material had been gradually 
stored in the halls of the Louvre and of the British Museum 
towards the middle of the last century. Before other funds 
were likely to be granted by governments and liberal- 
minded individuals for the continuation of the excavations 
in Assyrian and Babylonian mounds, it became necessary to 
satisfy the learned, and to prove to the public at large that 
the numerous monuments and broken clay tablets unearthed 
could really be read, and that their intrinsic value or the 
contents of their inscriptions were well worth the capital and 
time spent in their rediscovery. The number of scholars 
ready to make the study of cuneiform inscriptions their chief 
occupation, or at least part of their life's work, was exceed- 
ingly limited, and those who had manifested any deeper 
interest in their interpretation were concerned more with 
the Persian inscriptions than with those of Assyria. Grote- 
fend had tried repeatedly to elucidate the meaning of the 
most complicated of all cuneiform writings, — the so-called 
third system of the Persian monuments, but he had made 
little progress. In 1845, Loewenstern of Paris had guessed 
the Semitic character of the Assyrian language correctly. 
Soon afterwards De Longperier had recognized a few proper 
names often occurring in the titles of the Khorsabad inscrip- 
tions. Botta had published important collections of the 
different cuneiform signs found in the same texts, from 
which it was proved beyond doubt that the Assyrians could 
never have employed an alphabet. And following in the 
footsteps of his predecessors, De Saulcy had even gone so 
far as to undertake boldlv the translation of an entire 
Assyrian inscription. But valuable as all these attempts 


were as public expressions of the growing interest in Assyr- 
ian literature and civilization, and of the constant efforts 
made to solve a difficult problem, the positive gain derived 
from them was verv moderate. There was too much chaff 
mixed with the few grains of wheat which remained after 
sifting. To have finally accomplished the gigantic task in 
all its essential features, and at the same time to have laid 
that solid grammatical foundation upon which the young 
science of Assyriology gradually rose like a magnificent 
dome, and as a grand monument of the penetrating acumen 
and the conquering force of the human mind, is the lasting 
merit of Edward Hincks, an Irish clergyman, and of Colonel 

The combined labors of these two great British geniuses 
shed a flood of light upon a subject where previously no- 
thing but darkness and utter confusion prevailed. But the 
results at which they had arrived by strictly scientific meth- 
ods and through sound reasoning, appeared so extraordinary 
and strange even to those who were occupied with the 
study of ancient nations, and their manner of thinking and 
writing, that twenty-five years were necessary to secure for 
Assyriology the general recognition of the educated classes 
of Europe. 

The detailed investigations of the many new questions 
raised by the successful determination of the numerous 
polyphone characters which constitute the Assyrian writ- 
ing were, however, carried on vigorously by a few enthu- 
siastic scholars of England and France, until, in 1857, a 
peculiar but impressive demonstration on the part of the 
Royal Asiatic Societ}'^^ led to a public acknowledgment 
in England of the correctness of the principles of Assyrian 
deciphering and to a general acceptance of its startling con- 
clusions. Soon afterwards (1859) Oppert's fundamental 
discussion of the whole problem, accompanied by a thorough 

^ Comp. p. 130, above. 


analysis and a literal translation of representative inscrip- 
tions/ produced a similar effect in France, while it took 
ten to twenty years longer before German scepticism was 
fully overcome through Eberhard Schrader's renewed crit- 
ical examination of the elaborate system of Assyrian writing, 
and his convincing proofs of the perfect reliability of the 
achieved philological and historical results.^ 

Meanwhile the rich cuneiform material previously gath- 
ered began to be made accessible to all those who were eager 
to participate in the fascinating researches of the newly 
established science. Rawlinson himself became the origi- 
nator of a comprehensive plan, the execution of which was 
entrusted to him, in i860, by the trustees of the British 
Museum. Ably assisted by Edwin Norris, Secretary of the 
Royal Asiatic Society, to whom we are indebted for the first 
attempt at compiling an Assyrian dictionary, and by George 
Smith, a talented engraver, who " was employed to sort the 
fragments, and tentatively to piece together such as seemed 
to him to belong to each other,'* ^ the " father of Assyrio- 
logy" — as Rawlinson has been well styled — undertook to 
publish the most important texts of the English collections 
in an accurate and trustworthy edition. In the course of 
twenty-four years five large volumes of " The Cuneiform 
Inscriptions of Western Asia *' * were prepared by the united 

^ Comp. Oppcrt, Expetiition Scientifique en Mesopotamicy vol. ii., p. 1859, 
and p. 171, above. 

- Comp. E. Schradcr, Die Basis der Entxifferung dcr asssrisch-bahshnischcn 
KtiUnschriften^ in 'Lcitschnft dcr Dcutschcn Morgenldridisihcn Gisilluhafty 
vol. xxiii., Leipzig, 1869, and Die asssrisch-babslonischen KerHftschriften. 
Kritische Vntersuehung der Grundlagen ihrer Entxifferung, nebst dem Buby/o- 
nischen Textc der Trilinguen Inschriftcn in Transscription sarnt Vhersetxung 
und Glossary ibidem, vol. xxvi., Leipzig, 1872, and furthermore, KeilniHhrif- 
ten und Gcschichtsforschung, Ciiessen, 1878. 

^ Comp. George Rawlinson, ** A Memoir of Major-General Sir Henry 
Creswicke Rawlinson," London, 1898, p. 240. 

* \'ol. i., London, 1861 ; vol. ii., 1866 ; vol. iii., 1870 ; vol. iv., 1875 ; 


efforts of these three men and of Theophilus Pinches, who 
later took the places of Norris and Smith. Notwithstand- 
ing the numerous mistakes occurring on its pages, which 
must be attributed as much to the frequently unsatisfactory 
condition of the originals as to the defective knowledge of 
the laws of palaeography and philology in these early days 
of Assyrian research, this English publication has remained 
the standard work from which our young science has drawn 
its chief nourishment until the present day. 

GEORGE SMITH ( I 873-76) 

In connection with his duties as Rawlinson's assistant 
George Smith manifested a decided gift for quickly recog- 
nizing the characteristic peculiarities of the many and often 
very similar cuneiform signs, which soon enabled him to ac- 
quire an extraordinary skill in finding missing fragments of 
broken tablets. Natural talents and personal inclinations, 
fostered by the frequent intercourse and conferences with 
the acknowledged master in the field of Assyriology, encour- 
aged him to make strong efforts to overcome the disadvan- 
tages resulting from the lack of a proper education, and to 
occupy himself seriously with the language and writing of a 
people whose relics he was handling daily. It was particu- 
larly his earnest desire to contribute something towards a 
better understanding of the Old Testament which influ- 
enced him to devote his whole time to the studv of the 
Assyrian monuments. After he had gone over the origi- 
nals and paper casts of most of the historical inscriptions, 
especially of Ashurbanapal, whose annals he was the first 
to edit and to translate entirely, he began a methodical 
search for important texts among the thousands of frag- 
ments from the famous library of the same monarch. 

id edition (prepared by Pinches), 1891; vol. v.. Part I, 1880 (Pinches); 
Part 2, 1884 (Pinches). 


While unpacking the numerous boxes, and cleaning their 
contents, his eye used to glance over the cuneiform char- 
acters, as they gradually appeared under his brush upon 
the surface of each tablet. To facilitate his later studies, he 
divided the whole material into six divisions. Whenever 
anything of interest attracted his attention, he laid the frag- 
ment aside, endeavoring to find the other parts and trying 
every piece that seemed to join or to throw some light on 
the new subject. One day, in the fall of 1872, he picked 
up a very large fragment of the " mythological division," 
which occupied his mind completely as soon as he com- 
menced to decipher. He read of a destructive flood and of 
a great ship resting on the mountain of Nisir. A dove was 
sent out to try if the water had subsided. A swallow came 
next ; but it found no resting place, and returned likewise. 
A raven followed, which noticed the receding waters, discov- 
ered something to eat, flew away and did not return. 

Smith had discovered the Babylonian account of the Del- 
uge, which in salient points agreed most strikingly with the 
Biblical narrative. He immediately made a brief announce- 
ment of what he had found. The general interest was 
roused. With renewed zeal he began to search for the miss- 
ing pieces. After infinite toil he discovered portions of two 
other copies and several minor parts of the first fragment, 
at the same time recognizing that the Babylonian account 
of the Deluge formed the eleventh chapter of a series of 
probably twelve tablets containing the legends of the great 
national hero Gilgamesh, commonly known by the name of 
Izdubar from Smith's first provisional reading, and regarded 
as identical with the Nimrod of the Bible (Gen. 10). On 
December 3 of the same year Smith gave a public lecture 
before a large meeting of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 
at vyhich Rawlinson presided, while Gladstone and other 
prominent men took part in the discussion. He sketched 
the principal contents of the Gilgamesh legends, accompa- 


nied by a first coherent translation of the fragmentary ac- 
count of the Deluge. The sensation created by this paper 
in England and elsewhere was extraordinary. Scientific and 
religious circles were equally profuse in their comment upon 
the value of the new discovery, and loud voices were heard 
pleading for the early resumption of the excavations in the 
mounds of Nineveh. 

Before the government could act, the proprietors of the 
London " Daily Telegraph " seized this opportunity to 
make themselves, through Edwin Arnold, their editor-in- 
chief, the eloquent interpreters of the public sentiment. 
They offered to advance one thousand guineas for a fresh 
expedition to the East, if Smith would go out personally to 
search for other tablets of the interesting legends, and from 
time to time would send accounts of his journeys and dis- 
coveries to their paper. The British Museum accepted the 
generous proposition and granted the necessary leave of ab- 
sence to its officer. On the 20th of January, 1873, George 
Smith left London, reaching Mosul, " the object of so many 
of his thoughts and hopes,*' six weeks later. But on his 
arrival in Assyria he learned that no firman had yet been 
granted in Constantinople. Unable to obtain any favors 
from the local government, he started for Baghdad, on his 
way down the Tigris examining the mounds of Nimrud 
and Qal'at Shirgat, as far as winter storms and rains would 
permit. He could spend only a fortnight in northern 
Babylonia, but it was profitably employed in buying antiqui- 
ties and visiting the mounds of Babylon, El-Birs, Ohemir 
and Tell Ibrahim in rapid succession. The more he looked 
upon these enormous heaps of rubbish gradually formed by 
the crumbling works of former generations, the more he 
realized the necessity of their methodical exploration. He 
would himself have preferred excavating in " the older and 
richer country *' to searching for the fragmentary copies of 
Babylonian originals in the palaces of Assyrian kings. But 


it may well be doubted whether he would have been so suc- 
cessful in the South as he was with his clearly defined task 
and his limited time in the North. Most curious is his 
attempt at rearranging the principal ruins of Babylon in 
accordance with his own notions of the topography of the 
ancient metropolis. Notwithstanding his superior know- 
ledge of the cuneiform inscriptions, and though contrary to 
all evidence adduced by the early explorers of the nine- 
teenth century, he revived the old theory of Rennell and 
Mignan, believing the lofty mound of Babil to represent 
the remains of the temple of Belus. The hanging gardens 
were placed on the western side of the Qasr, between the 
river Euphrates and the palace of Nebuchadrezzar, and 
the fine yellow piers and buttresses of the latter regarded 
as part of them ; while *Omran ibn *Ali, " which promises 
little or nothing to an explorer,'* only marks " the spot, 
where the old city was most thickly inhabited." It was 
fortunate for Smith and for science that he had no time to 
imitate Layard*s example at Babylon and Nippur, the final 
grant of the firman calling him away to the mounds of 

On the 3d of April he was back in Mosul. Six days 
later he started his excavations at Nimrud, which he con- 
tinued for a whole month. There was no longer a chance 
of lighting on any new sculptured palaces or temples like 
those discovered by Botta and Layard. The " day of small 
things," announced long before by Rawlinson as " certain 
to follow on the rich yield of the earlier labours," had com- 
menced. " New inscriptions and small objects of art are all 
that I expect to obtain from continual excavations either in 
Assyria or Babylonia," he had written to Sir Henry Ellis in 
1853,* and the proceeds of the later operations fully justi- 
fied his prediction. Smith opened trenches at nearly all the 

^ Comp. George Rawlinson, " A Memoir of Major-General Sir Henry 
Crcswickc Rawlinson,** London, 1898, pp. 117, se^. 


different places of Nimrud, where Layard and Rassam had 
won their laurels, but on the whole he found nothing but 
duplicates of texts and other antiquities previously known. 
His entire fresh harvest from the ruins of Calah consisted 
in part of an inscribed slab of Tiglath-Pileser III.; three 
terra-cotta models of a hand embedded in the walls — one 
of them bearing a legend of Ashurnasirapal II. ; frag- 
ments of enamelled bricks representing scenes of war ; and 
a receptacle discovered in the floor of a room of the S. E. 
palace and filled with six terra-cotta winged genii. These 
figures apparently were placed there to protect the building 
and to secure fertility to its inmates/ From the ornamenta- 
tion of the palace, the nature of the few objects gathered 
from its chambers, and inscribed bricks taken from the 
drains surrounding it. Smith was enabled to conclude that it 
originally must have been a private building for the wives 
and families of King Shalmaneser II. (later restored by 

On the yth of May he moved to Qoyunjuk to begin his 
search for the remaining tablets of the royal library. He 
superintended the work in person, with the exception of a 
brief absence caused by his visits to the ruins of Hammam 
*Ali and Khorsabad. The excavations proceeded but slowly. 
The whole ground had been cut up by former explorers 
and by the builders of the Mosul bridge, who extracted 
their materials from the foundation walls of the Assyrian 
palaces. Many of Layard's subterranean passages had col- 
lapsed, and small valleys and hills had been formed, chan- 
ging the old contour of the mound entirely. Wherever the 
eye glanced, it saw nothing but pits and gulleys partly filled 
with rubbish, crumbling walls of unbaked clay threatening to 
fall at the slightest vibration, heavy blocks of stones peeping 
out of the ground, large pieces of sculptured slabs jammed 

^ Not merely ** to preserve the building against the power of evil spirits; " 
Smith, *« Assyrian Discoveries,** 3d ed., New York, 1876, p. 78. 


in between heaps of fragments of bricks, mortar, and pot- 
tery — a vast picture of utter confusion and destruction. 
To secure good 
results it would 
have been ne- 
cessary to re- 
move and to sift 
this whole mass 
of earth. All 
that Smith 
could do was to 
select the library 
spaces of the 
two ruined 
buildings and 
to examine that 
once more for 
fragments of 
tablets, leaving 
their discovery 
chieflv to good 
luck and to for- 
tunate circum- 
stances. But 
after all, the 
mission for 
which he had 

been sent out was accomplished more quicklv than he could 
have expected. On the 14th of Mav, on cleaning one of 
the fragments of cuneiform inscriptions from the palace 
of -Ashurbanapal, the result of that dav's digging, he found to 
his surprise and gratification " that it contained the greater 
portion of seventeen lines of inscription belonging to the 
first column of the Chaldean account of the Deluge, which 

^ f/otiigalc 

1 N<^r,i paLcc {.,/ /iiiuriinapa/). C Soul». 
f Stnnaihirih). D r///jgt =/■ AVtF Tini.,. 
-J. F Lsrgt i^ii gait. RiaJi art mariiJ 


fitted into the only place where there was a serious blank in 
the story.*' ^ The cheerful news was soon cabled to Lon- 
don, in the expectation that the proprietors of the " Daily 
Telegraph " would feel encouraged to continue the excava- 
tions still longer. But considering " that the discovery of 
the missing fragment of the deluge text accomplished the 
object they had in view," they declined to authorize new 
explorations. Disappointed as Smith felt at the sudden 
termination of his work, he had to obey. On the 9th of 
June he withdrew his Arabs from the mound, leaving the 
same day for England, which country he reached forty days 
later, after his antiquities had been seized by the custom 
house officials in Alexandretta. 

Through the representations of the British ambassador 
at Constantinople, the precious fragments of the library, 
which formed the principal result of his expedition, were 
soon released. Upon their arrival in London they received 
Smith's immediate attention. Before long he could report 
on the variety and importance of their contents. The trus- 
tees of the British Museum, realizing the value of the recent 
additions, decided to profit by the old firman as long as it 
lasted, and, setting aside a sum of ^1000, directed their 
curator to return to Nineveh at once and search for other 
inscriptions at the mound of Qoyunjuk. On the 25th of 
November, 1873, Smith was on the road again, arriving 
at Mosul on the first day of the new year. During the few 
months of his absence from the field things had changed 
considerably. Another governor, to whom the pasha of 
Mosul was subordinate, had been appointed at Baghdad. 
He now issued orders to watch the movements of the for- 
eigner, to question his superintendents, and to place a scribe 
as spy over his excavations. Greatly annoyed as Smith 
naturally felt by constant false reports and many other im- 

^ The divine command to construct and to fill the ark with all kinds of 
linng creatures. 


pediments thrown in his way, he conducted his labors with 
characteristic determination, gradually increasing the num- 
ber of his workmen to almost six hundred. The peculiar 
task of his mission requiring, as it did within the short 
period of two months, the examination of as wide an area 
as possible and the removal of an enormous amount of rub- 
bish thrown upon the surface of the mound by the former 
excavators, explains sufficiently why he employed such a 
large body of men over which it was impossible to exercise 
a proper control. About the middle of March his firman 
ceased. A few days previously he closed his researches. 
But a new embarrassment appeared. I'he local authorities 
refused to let him go, unless he delivered half of all the 
antiquities found as the share of the Ottoman Museum. 
Telegraphic communications were opened with the British 
ambassador at Constantinople, which subsequently led to 
a satisfactory arrangement with the Porte. Leaving only 
half of the duplicates in the hands of the Turkish officials, 
Smith could finally depart from Mosul on the 4th of 
April, 1874. 

In examining the fruit of our explorer's two visits to the 
Fast, we are forcibly reminded of a word of Rawlinson. 
The immediate results of his excavations were " not such as 
to secure popular applause, or even to satisfy the utilitarian 
party ; " they had to be studied at first to prove that they 
constituted a very decided gain for science. Under peculiar 
difficulties Smith had worked only three months altogether 
in the rich mines of antiquities at Qovunjuk. But in this 
limited space of time he had obtained ov^er ;^ooo inscrip- 
tions from the royal library of Nineveh, including mytho- 
logical, astronomical, chronological, and grammatical texts, 
prayers, hymns, and litanies, syllabaries, and bilingual tablets 
of the utmost importance. Moreover, the majority of the 
fragments rescued formed parts of inscriptions, the other 
portions of which were already in the British Museum, thus 


completing or greatly enlarging representative texts of nearly 
all the different branches of Assyrian literature. Among 
the new inscriptions which he brought home, there were 
fragments of the Chaldean stories of the Creation, of the 
Fall of Man, of the Deluge, and portions of the national 
epics of Gilgamesh ; the legend of the seven evil spirits ; 
the mythical account of the youth of Sargon of Agade ; a 
" tablet for recording the division of heavens according to 
the four seasons and the rule for regulating the intercalary 
month of the year ** ; the report of an eclipse of the moon 
and its probable meaning for Assyria; an officer's commu- 
nication to the king as to repairs necessary at the queen's 
palace at Kabzi ( = Tell Shemamyk) ; a beautiful bilingual 
hymn to Ishtar, as " the light of heaven " ; an invocation to 
the deified hero Gilgamesh ; explanations of the ideographs 
of prominent Assyrian and Babylonian cities ; directions to 
the workmen as to what inscriptions are to be carved over 
the various sculptures in the palace, and many other tablets 
of equal interest and importance. His new acquisitions 
added no less to our knowledge of the general history of 
Assyria and its neighboring countries. I mention only the 
fine stone tablet of Adadnirari I. (about 1325 b. c.),^ pur- 
chased from the French consul at Mosul; the votive dishes 
and bricks of his son, Shalmaneser I., from a palace and 
temple at Nineveh ; the first inscription of Mutakkil-Nusku 
(about 1 175 B. c.) ; the Assyrian copy of the genealogy and 
building operations of the Cassite king, Agumkakrime (about 
1600 B. c.) ; a new fragment of the synchronous history of 
Assyria and Babylonia in the thirteenth century; the expe- 
dition of Sargon against Ashdod (Is. 20:1) from a new 
octagonal prism ; a large number of texts to complete the 
annals of Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Ashurbanapal, and 
part of a barrel cylinder of Sinsharishkun, the last Assyr- 
ian ruler — all of which were discovered at the mound of 

^ Which had been discovered in the ruins of Qal'at Shirgat on the Tigris. 


Qoyunjuk. Compared with former expeditions the excava- 
tions of Smith furnished but little on the subject of art and 
architecture. This cannot surprise us, for he was sent out 
not to find sculptures and palaces, but to search for those 
small fragments of inscriptions which others had neglected 
to extract from their trenches. 

After his return to England in June, 1874, George Smith 
was occupied for some time with a renewed examination of 
the Qoyunjuk collection of tablets, in order to gather and 
to translate all those texts which dealt with the earliest 
Babylonian legends, and through their frequent remarkable 
coincidence with similar stories in the Old Testament were 
likely to throw new light upon the first chapters of the Pen- 
tateuch, and to illustrate the origin and development of 
ancient Hebrew traditions. In rapid succession he pub- 
lished his "Assyrian Discoveries" (London, 1875), which 
gave the history and principal results of his two expedi- 
tions, and "The Chaldean Account of Genesis'* (London, 
1876), containing the translations of Babylonian legends 
and fables from the cuneiform inscriptions discovered by 
Layard, Rassam, and himself. Both books were received 
enthusiastically by the public, the latter witnessing no less 
than five editions within a few months. It was doubtless 
in no small part due to this great popularity, which the re- 
searches of Smith found again in consequence of their bear- 
ing upon the Bible, that, in the fall of 1875, the British 
Museum decided to resume its excavations at Nineveh. In 
March, 1876, after the necessary firman had been granted 
again. Smith could start for the Kast a third time. A col- 
lection of antiquities unearthed by the Arabs at Jumjuma 
the previous winter, and offered for sale to Rawlinson, led 
him at first to Baghdad. But on his arrival he found him- 
self seriously embarrassed. The whole population was in a 
state of great excitement. Cholera and plague had appeared 
and played terrible havoc among the inhabitants ot the 


towns and the wandering tribes of the desert. Order and 
discipline had become words without meaning, the regular 
channels of communication with the officials were frequently 
interrupted, and the laws of hospitality were no longer re- 
spected. Smith tried in vain to fight against unfortunate 
circumstances and superior forces. As long as the dreaded 
maladies kept their iron rule in the country, there was no 
possibility for him to begin excavations. Unmindful of the 
dangers from climate and constant exposure, working too 
much and resting too little, often without food and finding 
no shelter, he gradually broke down on the road. With 
difficulty he dragged himself to Aleppo, where on the 19th 
of August he died ^ in the house of the English consul, 
having fallen a staunch fighter in the cause of science. 

In looking back upon the short but eventful life of 
George Smith as a scholar and as an explorer, we cannot 
but admire the man who by his extraordinary zeal and 
power of will became one of the most remarkable interpre- 
ters of cuneiform inscriptions whom flngland has produced. 
Without the advantage of a well directed instruction, and 
in his early days debarred from those beneficial associations 
with inspiring men which essentially help to color our life 
and to shape our character, he was left to his own inclina- 
tions until he attracted the attention of Rawlinson. With 
the latter as a guide, and supported by natural gifts, he 
worked hard to train his mind and to fill out those gaps 
which separated him from the republic of letters. But not- 
withstanding all his serious exertions, he did not succeed 
entirely in effacing the traces of a desultory self-education, 
and the obnoxious influences of an unguarded youth. As 
an explorer he did not possess that linguistic talent, that 

* Comp. the notices of his death in ** The Academy," vol. x., pp. 265, 
se^., and **The Athen.Tum " of Sept. 9, 1876, p. 338. Extracts from 
Smith's last diary were published by Delitzsch, ffo lag das Paradiesf Leip- 
zig, 1 88 1, pp. 266, seq. 


congenial manner of adapting oneself to the customs and 
laws of the East, that loving sympathy with the joys and 
sorrows of the children of the desert, which won for Layard 

the respect and confidence of the natives, and made him a 
welcome guest at every camp-fire and tent of the Arabs. 
And as a scholar he did not acquire that depth and extent 
of knowledge, that independence of judgment and bold self- 
reliance which permeate the writings of Rawlinson, nor could 
he ever boast of Hinck's mental brilliancy and that subtle 
understanding of grammatical rules which characterize the 
latter's works. But stern in the conception of his duties, 
always thinking of his task and never of his person, pro- 
vided with an astonishing memory, and a highly developed 
sense for the diflferences of form, he stands unexcelled in 
his masterly knowledge of the cuneiform inscriptions of the 
British Museum, while his numerous contributions to sci- 
ence testify to that rare intuition and gift of divination 
which enabled him often to translate correctly where others 
failed to grasp the meaning. 

RASSAM (1878-82). 

Upon the sudden death of George Smith the trustees ot 
the British Museum requested Hormuzd Rassam to take 
charge again of the excavations in the Assyrian mounds. 
Although in 1869 ^^^ latter had resigned his political ap- 
pointment at Aden and retired to private life in Kngland, 
after many hardships experienced as prisoner of King Theo- 
dore of Abvssinia, he accepted the proft'ered trust at once and 
started for Constantinople in November, 1876, in order to 
obtain a more satisfactory firman than had been granted to 
his predecessor. But all his efforts in this direction proved 
without result. Certain grave political complications which 
soon led to the Turco-Russian war, and the unexpected ter- 
mination of the International Conference at Pera which tried 


to prevent it, had created a situation most unfavorable to 
the resumption of archaeological researches in the Ottoman 
empire. Edhem Pasha, father of Hamdy Bey, the present 
director-general of the Imperial Museum at Stambul, was 
then Grand Vizier. He was not ill disposed towards Eng- 
land, but as one of Turkey's most eminent and enlightened 
statesmen, he considered it his first duty to protect and pro- 
mote the interests of his own country. Accordingly, he sug- 
gested that " a convention should be entered into between 
the British government and the Porte, giving the sole privi- 
lege to England of making researches in Turkey, similar 
to that which had been agreed upon between Germany and 
Greece." Such an arrangement, however, was to be based 
upon the condition that Turkey retained all the antiquities 
discovered, with option of giving only duplicates to the Brit- 
ish Museum. But Rassam did not consider himself author- 
ized to spend public money without the prospect of some 
material compensation. Looking upon the mere right of 
publishing the scientific results as " an empty favor," for 
which he had little understanding, he declined the proposi- 
tion of the Grand Vizier as a one-sided agreement, and 
returned to England after having waited nearly four months 
in a vain effort to accomplish his purpose. 

All the ambassadors had left Constantinople before, as a 
last protest against Turkey's stubborn and most unfortunate 
attitude towards the conciliatory measures proposed by the 
great European powers. But England deemed it soon neces- 
sary to dispatch a special representative to the Turkish cap- 
ital, who was well versed in Oriental matters and publicly 
known as a warm friend of the Ottoman empire. The 
choice of the British government fell upon Sir Henry Lay- 
ard, who at that time occupied a similar position at the 
court of Spain. No better appointment could have been 
made for realizing the plans of the British Museum. Two 
months after Layard's arrival at Constantinople (April, 1 877), 


we find Rassam again on the shore of the Bosphorus, in- 
spired with fresh enthusiasm by the hope of attaining the 
object of his mission under the more favorable new constel- 
lation. Deeply interested as the ambassador still was in the 
Assyrian researches of his nation, which more than thirty 
years previously he had inaugurated so successfully himself, 
he addressed the Sultan personally for a renewal of the old 
concessions repeatedly accorded to the British Museum. 
The request was granted at once, but before the official doc- 
ument could be signed, Rassam " received orders from Sir 
Henry Layard, under direction of the P'oreign Office," to 
visit the Armenians and other Christians in Asia Minor who 
were reported to be maltreated and in danger of being mas- 
sacred by their fanatic Kurdish neighbors. About the time 
when this diplomatic mission was completed, — towards the 
end of 1877, — Rassam was informed by cable that the 
Sublime Porte had formally sanctioned the resumption of 
his excavations in Assyria. A few weeks later he commenced 
that series of explorations which, with several short interrup- 
tions, generally caused by the ceasing of the necessary funds 
at home, were carried on with his well-known energy, in four 
distinct campaigns, for a period of nearly five years, from 
January 7, 1878, to the end of July, 1882.' 

^ First Expt'dition : He leaves England June, 1877, Constantinople a month 
later, begins operations at the Assyrian mounds Jan. 7, 1878, departs from 
Mosul May 17, returns to Ix^ndon lulv 12 of the same vcar. 

Second Expedition : He leaves England Oct. 8, 1878, arrives at Mosul 
Nov. 16, descends the Tigris for Baghdad Jan. 30, 1879, excavates and 
explores Babylonian sites during February and March, returns to Mosul April 
2, departs tor Europe May 2, reaches London June 19 of the same year. 

Third Expedition : He leaves London April 7, 1880, arrives at Hilla 
May 24, superintends the excavations at Babylon and neighboring ruins for 
eight days, spends a week in Baghdad, leaves this city |une 9, reaches Mosul 
a fortnight later, departs for Wan July I ^J, reaches the latter July 29, for a 
month resumes the excavations at Toprak Kale, which at his request an Amer- 
ican missionary. Dr. Reynolds { later in conjunction with Captain Clayton, 


As long as Layard occupied his influential position at the 
Turkish capital (1877-80) there was no difliculty in obtain- 
ing new grants, and the special recommendation of his exca- 
vator to all the local authorities in the diflferent provinces of 
the Ottoman empire. The first firman lasted only one year. 
It gave Rassam the right to explore any Assyrian ruin not 
occupied by Moslem tombs, and allotted one third of the 
antiquities discovered to the British Museum, one third to 
the owner of the mound, and the rest to the Archaeological 
Museum at Constantinople, the share of the latter naturally 
being doubled in case the site was crown property. An 
imperial delegate, who was appointed at first to guard 
the interests of the Ministry of Public Instruction in the 
trenches, was soon afterwards withdrawn on the representa- 
tion of the British ambassador. The second firman, written 
in the name of Layard, must be regarded as a gracious com- 
pliment paid to him by the Sultan. It was granted for two 
years (until Oct. 15, 1880), with the promise of a further 
term (till 1882), if required, and invested Layard with the 
exceptional power of carrying on excavations simultaneously 
in the various ruins of the vilayets of Baghdad, Aleppo, and 
Wan (Mosul being included in the first-named pashalic), 

the newly appointed British consul), had carried on for him since 1879. He 
leaves Wan Sept. 10, returns to Mosul Sept. 27, superintends the Assyrian 
excavations for six weeks, leaves Mosul by raft Nov. 1 1 , excavates at Babylon 
and El-Birs during the first three weeks in December. Then he proceeds 
northward to explore other Babylonian ruins and to search for the site of an- 
cient Sippara, begins his excavations at Abu Habba and tries Tell Ibrahim and 
other neighboring mounds during the first four months of 188 1, departs from 
Abu Habba for the Mediterranean May 3, 1881, reaching England about 
two months later. 

Fourth Expedition : He leaves England March 7, 1882, reaches Baghdad 
April 2 1 , superintends the excavations at Abu Habba until the end of July, 
waits nearly three months longer at Baghdad for a renewal of the firman, but, 
disappointed in his hopes, departs for Basra Oct. 22, 1882, leaves the latter 
port Nov. 1 1 by steamer, reaching London again in December, 1882. 


giving him, in addition, the privilege of retaining all the 
antiquities found except duplicates, after their mere formal 
inspection by an imperial commissioner. 

It was a comparatively easy task for Rassam to excavate 
under such favorable conditions and supported by a power- 
ful friend. The remarkable results which accompanied his 
labors in Babylonia will be treated later. The method fol- 
lowed was everywhere the same. Owing to the large geo- 
graphical area included in his permit it was impossible for 
him to superintend all the excavations in person. As a rule 
he directed them onlv from the distance, sometimes not vis- 
iting the same ruin for weeks and months, and in a few cases 
even for a whole year. During his absence from 'Iraq, the 
British Resident at Baghdad undertook a general control of 
his excavations in Babylonia, while at Mosul his nephew, 
Nimrud Rassam, acted most of the time as his agent in con- 
nection with the operations conducted on several Assyrian 
sites. A number of intelligent native overseers, among 
whom a certain Daud Toma played a conspicuous role as 
his representative at Babylon, carried on the work as well as 
they could and as far as possible in accordance with their 
master's instructions. One can easily imagine how unsatis- 
factory such an arrangement must prove in the end, as 
diametrically opposed to all sound principles of a strict sci- 
entific investigation and in part as contrary to the very ex- 
plicit instructions received from the British Museum. It 
was the old system of pillage in a new and enlarged edition. 
Nobody recognized and felt this more than Hamdy Bev, to 
whom we must be truly grateful for sparing no efforts to stop 
this antiquated and obnoxious system immediately after the 
termination of Rassam's concession in 1882. Throuc^h his 
energetic measures, which led to a complete reorg^anization 
of the Ottoman laws of excavation, henceforth no person 
received permission to explore more than one ancient ruin 
at the same time, and this only with the express stipulation 


that all the antiquities recovered became the exclusive pro- 
perty of the Imperial Museum in Constantinople. 

Before Rassam left England in 1877, his duties had been 
clearly defined by the trustees of the great London Mu- 
seum. In continuing the work of his lamented predecessor, 
he was ordered to concentrate his activity upon the mounds 
of Nineveh, and to try to secure as many fragments as pos- 
sible from the library of Ashurbanapal. But such a task 
was very little to the liking of Rassam, whose personal am- 
bition was directed to sensational finds rather than to a care- 
ful search for broken clay tablets which he could not read, 
and the importance of which he was not educated enough to 
realize. We cannot do better than to quote his own words : 
"Although that was the first object of my mission, I was, 
nevertheless, more eager to discover some new ancient sites 
than to confine my whole energy on such a tame undertak- 
ing. . . . My aim was to discover unknown edifices, and to 
bring to light some important Assyrian monument."^ His 
ambition was soon to be gratified. 

A vear before he was commissioned to renew the British 
explorations in Assyria, a friend of his, employed as drago- 
man in the French consulate at Mosul, had sent him two 
pieces of ancient bronze adorned with figures and cuneiform 
signs, in which Sayce recognized the name of Shalmaneser. 
Upon the latter's advice, Rassam endeavored to determine, 
immediately after his return to the banks of the Tigris, 
where these relics had been found. It did not take him long 
to learn that the two pieces presented to him were part of a 
large bronze plate accidentally unearthed by a peasant in the 
mound of Balawat(d), about fifteen miles to the east of Mo- 
sul. On examining this ruin he observed that the whole site 
had been largelv used as a burial ground by the native popu- 
lation of that district, and was therefore excluded from the 

* Comp. Rassam, ** Asshurand the Landof Nimrod/* New York, 1897, 

p. 200. 


sphere of his firman. But feeling that the exceptional char- 
acter of the desired monument " was well worth the risk of 
getting into hot water with the authorities, and even with the 
villagers," he troubled himself concerning the restrictions 
imposed upon him by law or etiquette just as little then, as 
he had done twenty-four years previously, when he tore 
down the barrier erected by Rawlinson, and occupied the 
French territory of Qoyunjuk. However, it cost him con- 
siderable time and anxiety and frequent disappointment be- 
fore he obtained the much coveted prize. The excitement 
and disturbance among the Arabs of the neighboring tribes 
subsequent to his first attempts at cutting trenches in the 
promising mound were extraordinary, and at times threat- 
ened to end in serious conflicts and bloodshed. There even 
were moments when he himself lost all hope of ever reach- 
ing the object of his desire and eflTorts. But by profiting 
from every temporary lull in the storm, by distributing 
occasional small gifts among the dissatisfied workmen, and 
by superintending the excavations, as far as possible, himself, 
he overcame the chief opposition, and the strong prejudices 
of the owners of graves, so far as to enable him to ascertain 
the general contents of the mound, and to make some most 
valuable discoveries. 

Shortly after the commencement of their operations the 
workmen came upon several scrolls or strips of bronze, in 
form and execution similar to those in his possession. Ori- 
ginally about four inches thick, they had suffered greativ from 
corrosion and other causes, and no sooner had they been 
exposed to the air, when they began to crack and to crum- 
ble, offering no small difficulty to their sate removal to 
Mosul. Within five davs the whole twisted and bent mass 
was uncovered and packed in proper cases large enough to 
take in the full length of this remarkable monument. Sixty 
feet away to the northwest a second set of bronze strips 
was disclosed, half the size of the former, and in several other 



characteristic features differing from it. It was, however, so 
much injured from the dampness of the soil in which it hac 
been hidden for more than 2500 years, that it fell to pieces 
immediately after its discovery. These ornamented bronze 
plates had once covered the cedar gates of a large Assyrian 
building. Each leaf of the first-mentioned better- preservec 
monument consisted of seven panels eight feet long, anc 



'1-' -J — - 


' '•' .^^^^^^^ 

— **■■ >» ■ -r -V- ^^^i" - 



Pjit 01 1 flion« Panel from tbt Gtat PaLite Gatt of Bal^wjt 

richly embossed with double rows of figures surrounded b) 
a border of rosettes. The plates represent a variety of sub- 
jects taken from the life and campaigns of a king, who 
according to the accompanying inscription was no other than 
Shalmaneser II.' The ancient town buried under the rub- 
' The publk-alion of [his important monument was undertaken in 1S81 by 
(he Society of Biblical Archa-ology. but for some reajon it has never been fin- 
ished. Comp. "The Bronze Orniiments of the Palace Gates of Balavvat." 
ediled, with an introduction, by Samuel Birch, iviih descriptions and transli- 




bish heap of Balawat was called Imgur-Bel. It had been 
chosen by Ashurnasirapal II. as the site for one of his pal- 
aces, restored and completed by his son and successor, Shal- 

Bv means of tunnels Rassam extended his excavations to 
various sections of the interesting mound, at one place com- 
ing upon the ruins of a small temple, at the entrance of 
which stood a huge marble coffer. The latter contained two 
beautiful tablets of Jthe same material covered with identical 
inscriptions of Ashurnasirapal ; a similar third tablet was 
lying upon an altar in its neighborhood, and fragments of 
others were scattered among the debris. Exaggerated ru- 
mors of this " great find " spread rapidly. Some credulous 
people insisted that a treasure-chest full of gold had been 
brought to light, while others believed that the very stone 
tablets of Moses inscribed with the Ten Commandments 
had been discovered. Great excitement was the result in 
the trenches, and new riots broke out in the villages. The 
large quantity of human bones constantly unearthed tended 
only to increase the general irritation, and to inflame all 
slumbering passions. After a little while Rassam found it 
useless to contend longer against ignorance and fanaticism. 
As soon as he had cleared the little chamber entirely, he 
abandoned his trenches at Balawat, convinced that a thor- 
ough examination of the whole remarkable site was an abso- 
lute impossibility for the time being. 

The discovery of such a unique specimen of ancient met- 
allurgy as the bronze gates of Imgur-Bel had well inaugu- 
rated the resumption of Rassam's researches in the Assyrian 
mounds. Neary 500 workmen were occupied at the same 
time, to continue the British excavations at Oovuniuk and 
Nimrud. The most promising space of the palaces of 
Sennacherib and Ashurbanapal, practically stripped of only 
their bas-reliefs and larger objects of art bv the early ex- 
plorers, had been subjected by Smith to a more careful 


examination. The quick results of his labors have been 
treated above. To extricate more of the precious fragments 
from the royal library, it became necessary to remove all 
the debris thrown in the excavated halls, or without system 
heaped upon some unexplored part of the ruin. ,The large 
pillars of earth left untouched by Layard and Rassam in the 
centres of the different rooms (comp. p. 115) and every en- 
closing wall likely to contain relics of the past were torn 
down. The number of tablets obtained-in the end were not 
as great as Smith had expected. Instead of the 20,000 frag- 
ments calculated by him to remain buried in the unexca- 
vated portions of the palace of Sennacherib, scarcely 2000 
were gathered by Rassam from the two buildings after five 
years* labors.^ But an important and nearly perfect decagon 
prism in terra-cotta inscribed with the annals of Ashurbana- 
paP was found in a solid brick wall of the north palace, 
and no less than four fine barrel-cylinders of Sennacherib,^ 
covered with identical records, were taken from the south- 
west palace in rapid succession. 

The results from the trenches of Nimrud were rather 
meagre. In resuming the exploration of the two temples 
discovered by Layard near the northwest edge of the elevated 
ruin, Rassam unearthed a marble altar, and several inscribed 
marble seats still standing in their original positions ; he 
gathered a few bas-reliefs, a number of carved stones, and 
clav tablets, and filled more than half a dozen baskets with 
fragments of enamelled tiles. But here as well as in other 

' All the tablets and fragments so far obtained by the British Museum from 
the roval library of Nineveh were made accessible to scientific research through 
C. Bezold's fine ** Catalogue of the Cuneiform Tablets in the Kouyunjik Col- 
lection of the British Museum," 5 vols., London, 1889—99. 

' Two fragmentary and crumbling copies of this important monument had 
been discovered by Rassam in the same palace as early as 1854. Comp. 
p. 136, above. 

^ One of them is preserved in the Imperial Ottoman Museum at Consun- 


parts of the country his work bore more the character of a 
gleaning following the rich harvest which he with Layard 
had gathered from the same ruin fields a quarter of a century 
before. Notwithstanding all his serious efforts to make 
other startling discoveries like that which had crowned his 
first year's labors at Balawat, and notwithstanding the fact 
that the excavations at Nimrud and Qoyunjuk, at Qal^at 
Shirgat, and other Assyrian mounds, never ceased entirely 
during the five years which he spent again in the service of 
the British Museum, his great expectations were not to be 
realized. For a little while, in 1879, it had seemed as if 
Rassam would be able to accomplish what all the great 
Assyrian excavators before him had tried in vain — the 
partial exploration of Nebi Yunus. Layard had managed 
through one of his overseers to dig for a few days in the 
court\'ard of a Moslem house, proving the existence of 
buildings and monuments of Adadnirari III., Sennacherib 
and Esarhaddon in the interior of this second large ruin 
of Nineveh. In 1852, Hilmi Pasha, then governor of 
Mosul, had excavated there eight or nine months for the 
Ottoman government, discovering two large winged bulls, 
several bas-reliefs, and an important marble slab, commonly 
known among Assyriologists as '* Sennacherib Constanti- 
nople.'* * But since then nobodv had made another move 
to disclose the secrets of Nebi Yunus. Rassam went qui- 
etlv and cautiously to work by making friends among the 
different classes of the inhabitants of the village, which occu- 
pied nearly the whole mound. With infinite patience and 
energy he gradually overcame the opposition of the most 

' This monument disappeared suddenly from the collections ot the Impe- 
rial Museum between 187^ and 187^ under Dcthier*s administration. Comp. 
Hilprecht in Zcitschrift fur A.^ssriolrJgi^\ vol. xiii., pp. 322-326. \^'ithin 
the last tew months I have been able to trace the lost marble slab to the shores 
of England, where at some future day it may possibly be rediscovered in 
the halls of the British Museum. 


influential and fanatic circles, succeeding even in winning 
the confidence and assistance of the guardians of the holy 
shrine dedicated to the memory of the prophet Jonah. 
Well-to-do landowners began to ofl^er him their courtyards 
for trial-trenches without asking for an indemnity or remu- 
neration ; others, who were in poorer circumstances, were 
ready to sell him their miserable huts for a small sum. If 
he had possessed money enough, he " could have bought 
half of the village for a mere trifle." Many of the labor- 
ers whom he employed at Qoyunjuk had been prudently 
chosen from Nebi Yunus. It was only natural, therefore, 
that they should faithfully stand by their master, strength- 
ening his hands in the new undertaking at their own village. 
One morning operations were hopefully started at the great 
ruin. In the beginning everything went on very well. But 
before his tentative examination could have yielded any 
satisfactory results, the jealousy and intrigues of some evil- 
disposed individuals, who brought their influence to bear 
upon the local authorities of Mosul and upon the Minister 
of Public Instruction at Constantinople, caused the tempo- 
rary suspension of his excavations, soon followed by the 
entire annihilation of all his dreams.^ 

With Rassam's return to England, in 1882, the Assyrian 
excavations of the nineteenth century have practically come 
to an end. E. A. Wallis Budge of the British Museum 
has since paid repeated visits to the East (1888, 1889, 
1 891), looking after English interests also at Qoyunjuk 
and neighboring mounds. Other scholars and explorers 
(the present writer included) have wandered over those 
barren hills, meditating over Nineveh's days of splendor, 
gazing at Calah's sunken walls, resting for a little while on 

* Comp. Hormuzd Rassam, " Asshur and the Land of Nimrod," New 
York, 1897. This book contains a narrative of his different journeys in 
Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Babylonia, and the account of his principal discov- 
eries in the ruins which he excavated. 


Ashur's lonely site. But no expedition has pitched its 
tents again with the roaming tribes between the Tigris and 
the Zab ; the sounds of pickaxe and spade have long ago 
died away. Only now and then a stray cuneiform tablet or 
an inscribed marble slab, accidentally found in the mounds 
when a house is built, or a tomb is dug, reminds us of the 
great possibilities connected with methodical researches in 
those distant plains. Much more remains to be done, be- 
fore the resurrection of ancient Assyria will be accomplished. 
Hundreds of ruins scarcely yet known by their names await 
the explorer. It is true, not all of them will yield magnifi- 
cent palaces and lofty temples, gigantic human-headed bulls 
and elaborate sculptures. But whether the results be great 
or small, every fragment of inscribed clay or stone will tell 
a story, and contribute its share to a better knowledge of 
the life and history, of the art and literature, of that pow- 
erful nation which conquered Babylon, transplanted Israel, 
subdued Kgypt, even reached Cyprus, and left its monu- 
ments carved on the rocky shores of the Mediterranean. 


The large number of fine monuments of art which 
through the eflrbrts of a few determined explorers had been 
sent from the districts of the Kuphrates and Tigris to the 
national collections in Paris and London, came almost ex- 
clusively from the mounds of Assyria proper. Marble, so 
liberally used as a decorative element and building material 
in the palaces and temples of the empire in the North, 
seemed but rarely* to have been employed by the inhabit- 

* Marble, sandstone and granite as building materials in ancient Babylonia 
were found to any great extent onlv in the temple ruin of Abu Shahrain 


ants of the alluvial plain in the South, where from the 
earliest times clay evidently took the place of stone. The 
tentative excavations of Loftus and Taylor in ancient Chal- 
dea had indeed been of fundamental importance. They 
gave us a first glimpse of the long and varied history, and 
of the peculiar and interesting civilization of a country of 
which we knew very little before ; they even revealed to us 
in Babylonian soil the existence of antiquities considerably 
older than those which had been unearthed at Nimrud and 
Qal'at Shirgat; but, on the whole, they had been unpro- 
ductive of those striking artistic remains which without 
any comment from the learned appeal directly to the mind 
of intelligent people. The decided failure of Layard's 
attempts at Babylon and Nuffar, and the widely felt disap- 
pointment with regard to the tangible results of the French 
excavations under Fresnel and Oppert did not tend to 
raise the Babylonian mounds in the public estimation, or to 
induce governments and private individuals to send new 
expeditions into a country half under water, half covered 
with the sand of the desert, and completely in the control of 
lawless and ignorant tribes. 

But however seriously these and similar considerations 
at first must have affected the plans and decisions of other 
explorers, the chief obstacle to the commencement of 
methodical excavations in Babylonian ruins was doubtless 
the brilliant success of Botta, Layard, and Rassam in the 
North, which for a long while distracted the general atten- 
tion from ancient Chaldea. Moreover, the epoch-making 
discovery of the royal library of Nineveh provided such a 
vast mass of choice cuneiform texts, written in an extremely 
neat and regular script on well-prepared and carefully baked 

(Eridu) situated in a depression of the Arabian desert, where stone apparently 
was as easily obtained as clay. Comp. pp. 178, se^^., above. In the 
Seleucidan and Parthian periods under foreign influence, stone was used con- 
siderably more all over Babylonia. 


material, and at the same time representing nearly every 
branch of Assyrian literature — precisely what the first 
pioneers of the young science needed to restore the dic- 
tionary and to establish the grammatical laws of the long- 
forgotten language — that the few unbaked and crum- 
bling tablets from the South, with their much more difficult 
writing and their new palaeographical problems, with their 
unknown technical phrases and their comparatively uninter- 
esting contents, naturally received but little attention in the 
early days of Assyriology. 

It is true, the increasing study of the thousands of clay- 
books from Nineveh demonstrated more and more the fact 
that the great literary products with which they make us 
acquainted are only copies of Babylonian originals; and 
the subsequent comparison of the sculptured monuments 
of Assyria with the seal-cylinders and other often mutilated 
objects of art from the ruins and tombs of Chaldea again led 
scholars to the neighbourhood of the Persian Gulf as the 
real cradle of this whole remarkable civilization. But a new' 
powerful influence was needed to overcome old prejudices 
entirely and to place the Babylonian mounds in the centre 
of public attention. The well-known archaeological mines 
in the North, which had seemed to yield an almost inex- 
haustible supply of valuable monuments, began gradually 
to e^ive forth less abundantly and even to cease altogether. 
The sudden death of George Smith, who had stimulated 
and deepened the interest of the religious communities of 
his nation in cuneiform research, and thereby temporarily 
revived the old enthusiasm for British excavations at Qo- 
vunjuk, m.arked the beginning of the end of that brief but 
significant period which bears the stamp of his personality as 
the great epigone of the classical age of Assyrian exploration. 



It was the French representative at Mosul who in 1842 
had successfully inaugurated the resurrection of the palaces 
and temples of Assyria ; and it was another French represent- 
ative at Basra who thirty-five years later made a no less far- 
reaching discovery in the mounds of Chaldea, which opened 
the second great period in the history of Assyrian and 
Babylonian exploration, — the period of methodical exca- 
vations in the ruins of Babylonia proper. In January, 1877, 
Ernest de Sarzec, a man of tall stature and expressive fea- 
tures, then about forty years old, combining an active 
mind and sharp intellect with a pronounced taste for art and 
archaeology, and through his previous service in Egypt and 
Abyssinia well versed in Oriental manners and to a certain 
degree familiar with the life of the desert, was transferred to 
Basra as vice-consul of France. 

This citv, situated on a rich alluvial soil of recent form- 
ation and surrounded by luxuriant gardens and palm- 
groves, which for sixty miles on both sides accompany the 
grand but muddy river until it empties into the Persian 
Gulf near the light-house of Fao, is one of the hottest and 
most unhealthy places in the whole Turkish empire. The 
population is almost exclusively Mohammedan. The few 
European merchants and representatives of foreign govern- 
ments, who live as a small colony by themselves along 
the west bank of the Shatt el-' Arab, outside the city proper, 
suffer more or less from fever and the enervating influence 
of the oppressive climate. An occasional ride into the 
desert, with its bracing air, and the hunting of the wild boar, 
francolin, and bustard are the general means by which the 
members of the European colony try to keep up their 
energy and vitality in the hot-house atmosphere of this 
tropical region. But such an aimless life was very little to 
the liking of De Sarzec, who longed for a more serious 


occupation to fill out the ample time left him by the slight 
duties of his consular position. Being stationed near the 
ruins of some of the great centres of ancient civilization, he 
decided at once to visit the sites of Babylon and Kl-Birs, 
and to devote his leisure hours, if practicable, to the explora- 
tion of a section of Southern Babylonia. 

He was very fortunate to find a trustworthy councillor in 
J. Asfar, a prominent native Christian, and the present 
hospitable representative of the Strick-Asfar line of steam- 
boats plying regularly between London and Basra. The 
latter had formerly dealt in antiquities and was person- 
ally acquainted with several Arab diggers, who continued 
to keep him well informed as to the most promising ruins 
between the Euphrates and the Tigris. The name of 
Tello had recently become a watchword among them in 
consequence of the discovery of inscribed bricks and cones 
and the partly inscribed torso of a fine statue of Gudea in 
diorite,* said to have come from these ruins." It is Asfar's 
merit to have first directed the attention of De Sarzec to 
this remarkable site and to have urged him to lose no time 
in examining it more closely and in securing it for France.^ 
In order to avoid undesirable public attention, the French 
vice-consul deemed it wise for the present not to apply for 
the necessary firman at Constantinople, but to begin his 

* Published by Lenormant, Choix de Textes Cuneiformcs in f Jits, Paris, 
1873—75, p. 5, no. 3, and in George Smith, ** History of Babylonia," 
edited by A. H. Sayce, London, 1877. 

- No sufficient reasons have been brought forward, however, to show that 
this torso actually came from Tello. Mr. Leonard W. King, of the British 
Museum, whom I asked for information as to its place of origin, was unabl^ 
to throw any light on this question. Comp. p. 221, note I, below. 

' For valuable information as to the immediate causes which led to De 
Sarzec' s great discovery, I am obliged to his friend, Mr. Asfar, who had 
preserved his deep interest in Babylonian excavations as late as 1900, when 
the present writer spent nearly three weeks at Basra and its neighborhood, 
frequently enjoying his unbounded hospitality. 


operations as quietly as possible, somewhat in the manner 
followed by the first explorers of Assyria. Moreover, the 
whole of Southern Babylonia was then in a kind of semi- 
independent state under Nasir Pasha, the great chief of the 
Muntefik:(j), who built the town of Nasriye called after 
him, and was appointed the first wali of Basra. It was 
therefore necessary to secure his good will and protection 
for any scientific undertaking that might be carried on in 
regions where the law of the desert prevailed, and Nasir's 
power was the only acknowledged authority. Immediately 
after his arrival on the Persian Gulf, De Sarzec entered into 
personal communication with the latter and established those 
friendly relations by means of which he was able to travel 
safely everywhere among his tribes and to excavate at Tello 
or any other ruin as long as Nasir retained his position. 

In March of 1877, after a brief reconnoitring tour along 
the banks of the Shatt el-Ha'i, we find De Sarzec already in 
the midst of his work, commencing that series of brief but 
successful campaigns which were soon to surprise the scien- 
tific world, and to make Tello, previously scarcely known 
by name in Europe, the " Pompeii of the early Babylonian 
antiquity." ^ For very apparent reasons De Sarzec did not 
write the history of his various expeditions extending over 
a considerable part of the last twenty-four years of the nine- 
teenth centurv, so that it becomes extremelv difficult for us 
to gather all the facts and data necessary to obtain a clear con- 
ception of the genesis and maturing of his plans, of the pre- 
cise results of each year's exploration, of the difficulties which 
he encountered, and of the methods and ways by which he 
overcame all the obstacles, and in the end accomplished his 
memorable task. 

^ Thus styled by Heuzey in the introduction to his Catalogue de la Sculp- 
ture Chaldeenne au Musee du Louvre ^ Paris, 1901, the galley -proofs of 
which he kindly placed at my disposal in January, 1 901, long before the book 

itself appeared. 

His excavations vi--. ...— 
igns, gentrraliy ls:::;^ •- 

liter and spring. ^'^ *: -.:. 
\nil lu'tWLtrn tniv.. "•i-.- :: 
iir ditfcrcnr pvr-.ijii-. ru. : 
ore- or les- cor.s:^ :•. .-.. :. 
ISi ; II. iSSv^, , » > 

»GO. But as th-. -^ vi ■ I -. 1* 
A\6 in the lat^-r ■. rL- ■. • 
tending the mr. :'.:-^ : •-.- 
^al elevations <>: '.' z ^. • 
ion of all hi<i -'•■.^' -. : . 

the explorer, r-jr •. • : • -. . 
ice of the result ' 'i. • • -. 

in their nuitiia '•: i.* • 
re he preferable :*> . * ..• • 
il and a topoL^raj'". .^ :• ■ - • 
i*; wav we shall he t-.:.* • . - 
ct and to avoid u:.- •:'. ■ .-r 
stintxuish three phii--. • • 

Mis j^reliniinarv 'A>'.-^». •• ■ 
hole ruins hy tria: •-• • ■ ■ • 

a Seleuciihui palac- : • 
pecially a tine o/.'.-rr • 
ound of Tello, i ^ ■ ,- 
)ns, sculjuures aiivi • • ; 

another prorninL* • •■ 

I . The ruins ot I -. 
ited in a district w • • ■ 
her half a swair.v. ;.•■ 
latra, a small lu-t: • 

■ Dr. S^ IrtIt «':" I'.' 


or sub-governor. They include a number of higher and lower 
elevations stretching from northwest to southeast for about 
four English miles along the left bank of a large dry canal 
that represents either the ancient bed or a branch of the 
Shatt el-Ha*i, from which in a straight line they are distant 
a little over three English miles. The two principal mounds 
of the whole site are designated as mounds A and B in 
the following sketch. The former and smaller one (A) 
rises only fifty feet above the plain at the extreme north- 
west end of the ruins, while the latter (B) is nearly fifty-six 
feet high and about 650 feet to the southeast of it. These 
and the many other smaller mounds constituting the ruins 
of Tello consist as a rule of an artificial massive terrace 
of unbaked brick, upon and around which the scattered 
remains of one or more ancient buildings once occupying 
the platform are mixed with the sand of the desert into 
one shapeless mass. 

In January, 1877, at hi^ very first ride over the ruins, 
De Sarzec recognized the value of this large archaeological 
field, scarcely yet touched by the professional Arab digger, 
from the many fragments of inscribed cones and bricks, sculp- 
tures and vases which covered the surface. Among other 
objects of interest he picked up the magnificent piece of a 
large statue in dolerite inscribed on the shoulder. After a 
few minutes he had gathered evidence enough to convince 
him that he stood on a prominent site of great antiquity. 
The fragment of the statue was interpreted by him as hav- 
ing rolled down from Mound A, at the foot of which it was 
discovered, thus serving as the first indication of an impor- 
tant building which probably was concealed in its interior. 
This starting point for his excavations once being given, he 
hired all the workmen whom he could obtain from the wan- 
dering tribes, and set to work to determine the character and 
contents of the hill in question. A few weeks of digging 
revealed the fact indicated above, that the whole mound 


consisted of a platform of unbaked bricks crowned by an 
edifice of considerable size and extent. But he was not satis- 
fied with this general result. Though the lack of drinking 
water in the immediate vicinity of the ruins and the prover- 
bial insecurity of the whole region did not allow him to pitch 
his tents anywhere near the mounds, he was by no means 
discouraged. During all his several expeditions to Tello he 
established his headquarters at Mantar-Qaraghol, in the midst 
of the green fields embellishing the left bank of the Shatt 
el-Ha*i, whence he walked or rode every morning to the ruins, 
to return in the evening to the waters of the river. After 
seven months of successful excavations conducted during the 
springs of 1877 ^^^ ^878, he obtained a leave of absence 
from his duties at Basra, and sailed to France as the bearer 
of important news and with the first fruit of his archaeologi- 
cal researches. 

By following a ravine ending at the point where the fine 
sculptured fragment was discovered, he had reached a kind 
of deep recess in the outer northeast wall of the building 
which stood on the platform. No sooner did the work- 
men begin to remove the debris with which it was filled, 
when the lower part of a great statue in dolerite, partly cov- 
ered with a long cuneiform inscription, rose gradually out of 
the depth. It became at once evident that theshoulder piece 
bearing the name of Gudea, referred to above, was a portion 
of this extraordinary monument. De Sarzec having no 
means at his disposal to remove the heavy torso, took a 
squeeze of the inscription and buried the precious relic again 
for a future occasion. Two years later, when Rassam visited 
Tello, he found its upper part exposed again by the Arabs.^ 

* Comp. Rassam, *' Asshur and the Land of Nimrod," New York, 1897, 
p. 276, on the one side, and Dc Sar/ec and Heuzey, Decouvertes en Chaldeey 
p. 5, on the other. The British explorer asserts that this first statue unearthed 
by De Sarzec is identical with the one previously discovered and mutilated by 
the natives, who sold the bust and arm to George Smith. But this statement 


After the French consul had ascertained the general char- 
acter of Mound A and its probable contents, he devoted the 
rest of his time to an investiga- 
tion of the other parts of the 
ruins by placing his workmen 
in long rows over the whole sur- 
face of the enormous site. This 
peculiar method, which would 
have utterly failed at Babylon, 
Nutfar, Warka, and other simi- 
l;ir mounds, produced important 
results at a ruin as little settled 
in later times as Tello subse- 
quently proved to be. De Sarzcc 
unearthed many fragments of in- 
scribt-d vases and sculptures, 
several inscribed door-sockers, 
a large number of cuneiform 
tablets, the bronze horn of a bull 
in life-size, etc. He exposed 
large columns of bricks of the 
time of Gudea, and found not a 
* tew peculiar cubical brick struc- 
urcs generally concealing a vo- 
tive tablet ot Gudea or Dungi. 
The latter was placed over a 
small copper or bronze statue of 
a man or a bull, which often 
terminated in the form of a nail. 
Above all, he brought to light one of the earliest bas-reliefs 

it wrong, at ihc inscripiion on ihc bark of Dc Sarzcc's »amc b complcw. 
In fact, it must be regarded as doubtful if the lorso obiamed by Smith belong 
ir rragmenis discovered by Dc Since it TcUo, as long nt 
thi« question h«s not been settled by means a>* casts of the fnecei in the Brittsh 
Museum sent lo Paris tbr ciamination. 


of ancient Chaldea so far known,^ the first two fragments of 
the famous "stele of vultures *' erected by King Eannatum, 
and two^ large terra-cotta cylinders of Gudea in tolerably 
good preservation. Each of the latter is nearly two feet long 
and a little over one foot in diameter, and is inscribed with 
about 2000 lines of early cuneiform writing, thus forming 
the longest inscriptions of that ancient period so far known. 

On his arrival at home (July 28, 1878), De Sarzec was 
most fortunate in finding the precise man whom he needed 
in order to see his work placed upon a permanent basis. 
Waddington, well known in scientific circles for his numis- 
matic researches, was then Minister of Foreign Affairs. 
Deeply interested as he was in the enthusiastic reports of 
his consul, he referred him for a critical examination of his 
excavated treasures to Leon Heuzey, the distinguished 
curator of the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the 
Louvre, who at once recognized that here were the first 
true specimens of that original, ancient Chaldean art to 
which De Longperier tentatively had ascribed two statu- 
ettes previously obtained by the National Museum of 
France. From this moment dates the archaeological alli- 
ance and personal friendship between De Sarzec and Heuzev 
which in the course of the next twenty years bore the rich- 
est fruit for Assyriology and was of fundamental importance 
for the gradual restoration of a lost page in the history of 
ancient Oriental art and civilization. 

On the recommendation of Heuzey the antiquities already 
discovered at Tello were deposited in the Louvre with a 
view of their final acquisition by the nation, while De Sarzec 
was requested to return quietly to the ruins and to develop 

^ Comp. Heuzey, Decouzwrtt's, pi. I , no. I. 

* The third one, the existence of which was d'vined by Amiaud from cer- 
tain indications contained in the cuneiform texts of the first two cylinders, has 
been found since by the Arabs. Comp. Scheil in Maspero*s Recueil, vol. 
xxi i 1899 ), p. I 24. 


his promising investigations at his own responsibility and 
expense, until the proper moment for action had come on 
the side of the government. At the same time the neces- 
sary steps were taken in Constantinople to secure the impe- 
rial firman which established French priority over a ruin 
soon to attract a more general attention. As we shall see 
later in connection with the contemporaneous British exca- 
vations in the vilayet of Baghdad, this cautious but resolute 
proceeding by a few initiated men, who carefully guarded 
the secret of De Sarzec's great discovery, saved Tello from 
the hands of Rassam, long the shrewd and successful rival 
of French explorers in Assyria and Babylonia. 

2. On the 2ist of January, 1880, De Sarzec was back 
again at his encampment near the Shatt el-Ha'i, this time 
accompanied by his young bride, who henceforth gener- 
ally shared the pleasures and deprivations of her husband 
in the desert. During this and the following campaign 
(November 12, 1880, to March 15, 1881) he concentrated 
his energy on a thorough examination of the great building 
hidden under Mound A and of its immediate environments, 
discovering no less than nine ^ large statues in dolerite, 
besides several statuettes in stone and metal, fragments of 
precious bas-reliefs, an onyx vase of Naram-Sin, and numer- 
ous inscriptions and small objects of art. It is true, all the 
statues hitherto unearthed were previously decapitated, and 
in some instances otherwise mutilated, but three detached 
heads, soon afterwards rescued by De Sarzec from different 
parts of the ruins, enabled us to gain a clearer conception of 

^ According to Heuzey, in the introduction to his Catalogue de la Sculp- 
ture Chaldeenne au Musec du Louvre y Paris, 1902. De Sarzec, in his brief 
description of his first four campaigns (^Decouvertes en Chaldee, p. 6) men- 
tions the discovery of a tenth (or including the lower part of a statue unearthed 
in 1 877, an eleventh) statue, and speaks of only two detached heads then found 
by him. This difference in counting is due to the size and fragmentary con- 
dition of some of the statues and objects discovered. 


the unique type of these priceless specimens of ancient 
Babylonian art. 

With the exception of the six hottest months of the year, 
which he spent in the cooler ser dais ^ of Baghdad, to restore 
his health affected by the usual swamp fevers of 'Iraq, he 
continued his labors at Tello until the spring of 1881, find- 
ing even older remains below the foundations of the above- 
mentioned palace, when the threatening attitude of the 
Muntefik:(j) tribes, and the growing insecurity of his own 
party drove him away from the ruins. At the end of May 
in the following year he arrived at Paris a second time with 
a most valuable collection of antiquities, which by special 
iraJe from the Sultan he had been allowed to carry away 
with him as his personal property. 

The first announcement of De Sarzec's fundamental dis- 
covery before the French Academy,^ and Oppert's impres- 
sive address at the Fifth International Congress of Oriental- 
ists at Berlin,^ opening with the significant words : " Since 
the discovery of Nineveh ... no discovery has been 
made which compares in importance with the recent excava- 
tions in Chaldea," had fairly prepared the scientific world 
for the extraordinary character and the rare value of these 
ancient monuments. But when they were finally unpacked 
and for the first time exhibited in the galleries of the 

^ Subterranean cool rooms which are provided in every better house of 
Baghdad in order to enable the inhabitants to escape the often intolerable heat 
of the daytime during the summer months. 

^ Published in Revue Archeologiquey new series, vol. xlii, Nov., 1 881, 
pp. 56 and 259-272 : Les Fouilles de ChaUee ; commutjiiat'ton (T une lettre de 
M, de Sarxec par Leon Hcwzes. 

* Die franxbsischen Ausgrahungcn in Chaldaa^ pp. 235-248 of Abhand- 
lungen des Berliner Orientalis ten- Congresses. A usefiil synopsis of the early 
literature on De Sarzec's discoveries was given by Hommel in Die Semitischen 
yblher und Sprachen^ Leipzig, 1883, p. 459, note 104, to which may be 
added an article by Georges Perrot in Revue des Deux-Mondes, Oct. i, 1882, 
pp. 525, seqq. 


Louvre, the general expectation was far surpassed by the 
grand spectacle which presented itself to the eyes of a 
representative assembly. This first fine collection of early 
Babylonian sculptures was received in Paris wnth an enthu- 
siasm second only to the popular outburst which greeted 
Botta's gigantic winged bulls from the palace of Sargon 
thirty-six years previously.^ On the proposition of Jules 
Ferry, then Minister of Public Instruction, the French 
Assembly voted an exceptional credit to the National 
Museum for the immediate acquisition of all the monuments 
from Tello, while the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles 
Lettres added a much more coveted prize to this pecuniary 
remuneration on the side of the government, by appointing 
the successful explorer a member of the Institute of France. 
An Oriental section was created in the Louvre, with Leon 
Heuzey, the faithful and energetic supporter of De Sarzec's 
plans and endeavors, as its director. Under the auspices 
of the Minister of Public Instruction, and assisted in the 
deciphering of the often difficult cuneiform inscriptions by 
Oppert, Amiaud, and lately by Thureau-Dangin, Heuzey 
began that magnificent publication '" in which he made the 
new discoveries accessible to science, and laid the solid foun- 
dation for a methodical treatment of ancient Chaldean art, 
by applying fixed archaeological laws to the elucidation of 
the Assyrian and Babylonian monuments. 

The palace excavated in Mound A does not belong to the 
Babylonian period proper. But in order to understand the 
topographical conditions and certain changes which took 
place in the upper strata of Tello, it will be necessary to in- 
clude it in our brief description of the principal results ob- 
tained by De Sarzec at this most conspicuous part of the 
ruins. The massive structure of crude bricks upon which 

* Comp. pp. 79, 5cqq,<, above. 

^ Decouvertes en Chaldcepar Ernest de Sarzec^ published by Leon Heuzey, 
large folio, Paris, 1884, seqq. The work is not yet complete. 


the building was erected forms an immense terrace over 
6cx5 feet square and 40 feet high. As certain walls discov- 
ered in it prove that this lofty and substantial base was not 
the work of one builder, we have to distinguish between 
an earlier substratum and later additions. The crumbling 
remains of the large edifice lying on the top of it form a 
rectangular parallelogram about 175 feet long and 100 feet 
wide. Only two of its sides, the principal and slightly 
curved northeast, and the smaller but similar northwest 
fa9ade, exhibit any attempt at exterior ornamentation, consist- 
ing of those simple dentated recesses and half-columns with 
which we are familiar from Loftus' excavations at Warka. 
As to its ground plan, the building does not essentially differ 
from the principle and arrangement observed in the Assyr- 
ian palace of Khorsabad, or in the Seleucido- Parthian palace 
recently completely excavated by the present writer at the 
ruins of NufFar. Here as there we have a number of dif- 
ferent rooms and halls — in the latter case thirty-six — 
around a grouped number of open courts^ and around as 
manv different centres. 

The walls of this edifice, in some places still ten feet high, 
are built of ancient Babylonian bricks, laid in mortar or bitu- 
men and generally bearing the name and titles of Gudea, a 
famous ruler of that Southern district, who lived, hovyever, 
about tvyenty-five hundred years prior to the days when his 
material vyas used a second time. l\ach of the four exterior 
walls, on an average four feet thick, has one entrance, but 
no trace of any vyindovy. 1 he northeast facade originally had 
two gates, the principal one of which, for some unknovyn 
reason, was soon afterwards closed again. The inscribed 
bricks used for this purpose, and similar ones taken from 
certain constructions in the interior, are modelled after the 

^ The palace of Tello has three courts of different dimensions. The 
smallest is nearly square, measuring about 20 by 18 ^j feet, the second is 27 
by 30 feet, while the largest is about 56 by 69 feet. 


pattern of Gudea's material, but bear the Babylonian name 
Hadadnadinakhe(s) in late Aramean and early Greek char- 
acters, from which the general age of this building was de- 
termined to be about 300- 250 b. c, a result corroborated 
by the fact that numerous coins with Greek legends of the 
kings of Characene^ were found in its ruins. 

Both the inside of the palace and the open space immedi- 
ately before its principal fa9ade were paved with burned 
bricks of the same size and make-up as those in the walls 
of the palace. These bricks did not rest directly upon the 
large terrace of crude bricks, but upon a layer of earth two 
to three feet deep mixed with sculptured fragments of an 
early period. In the centre of the platform before the pal- 
ace there stood upon a kind of pedestal an ancient trough or 
manger, in limestone, about eight feet long, one foot and a 
half wide, and one foot deep. Being out of its original 
position it had apparently been used by the later architects 
to provide water for the guards stationed near the northeast 
entrance of the palace. Its two small sides had preserved 
traces of cuneiform writing of the style of the time of Gudea, 
to whom this unique monument doubtless must be ascribed. 
The two long sides, once exquisitely adorned WMth bas-reliefs, 
had likewise suffered considerably from exposure. But 
enough remained to recognize in them a living chain of 
female figures, a " frieze of veritable Chaldean Naiads 
through their union symbolizing the perpetuity of water."'" 
A number of women, in graceful attitude, hold, in their out- 
stretched hands, magical vases which they evidently are pass- 
ing one to another. A double stream of water gushing forth 
from each of these inexhaustible receptacles represents the 
two sacred rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, which, on 

^ A district situated on the east bank of the Tigris, not very far from its 
junction with the Euphrates. 

- Thus in his usual masterly manner characterized by Hcuzey, DfcouverUs, 
p. 217 (comp. p. 43, note i, of the same work). 

^r , . 


another fine sculptured fragment rescued from the rubbish 
below the pavement of the same palace/ are indicated with 
even greater detail by a plant growing out of the vase and 
by a fish swimming against the current in each river. 

Close to the middle of the southwest wall of the palace 
just described, and extending considerably into its principal 
courts, there rose two massive structures, or terraces of 
baked bricks laid in bitumen, above the remains of the Par- 
thian building. Both joined each other at one corner, but 
they were reached by separate stairs and diflfered from each 
other also as to their height. As they interfered greatly 
with the general plan and arrangement of the interior of the 
palace, it was evident from the beginning that they belonged 
to an older building, lifting, so to speak, its head out of a 
lower stratum into the post-Babylonian period, as the last 
witness of a by-gone age. The fact, however, that the in- 
scribed bricks, so far as examined, bore the name of Gudea 
on their upper*" sides, was in itself a proof that the visible 
portion of this ancient structure had in part been relaid and 
otherwise changed in accordance with its different use in the 
Seleucidan times. The two terraces, affording a grand view 
over the surrounding plain, must have been important to 
the late inhabitants from a military standpoint, while at the 
same time they served as a kind of elevated gallery or espla- 
nade where the residents of the palace could enjov a fresh 
breeze of air in the cooler evening hours of a hot Babvlonian 

No sooner had De Sarzec commenced to examine the 
fi^round around the vertical walls of these peculiar structures 
than, to his great astonishment, he came upon other remains 
of the same building imbedded in the crude brick terrace. 
Unfortunatelv, the rebellion breaking out among the Mun- 
tefik(j) tribes, in i 88 i , brought the explorer's work to a sudden 

^ Comp. Dfiouz'crtfSy pi. 25, no. 6. 
^ Comp. the end of p. 31, above. 


end, so that he was then unable to arrive at a definite conclu- 
sion concerning its true character. But in connection with 
his later campaigns he also resumed his excavations at the 
lower strata of Mound A, discovering that the remains which 
had puzzled him so much before belonged to the tower of 
a fortified enclosure. In digging along its base, he established 
that one side of the latter showed the same simple pattern 
as the two fa9ades of the Parthian building, — in other 
words, those peculiar architectural ornaments which the 
ancient Babylonians and Assyrians reserved exclusively for 
exterior decoration. Soon afterwards he excavated a large 
gate with three stepped recesses, which on the one hand was 
flanked bv the tower, while on the other side its wall was 
lost in the later building.^ 

All the bricks taken from this fortified enclosure were in 
their original position, and bore the inscription : " To Nin- 
Girsu, the powerful champion of Bel, Gudea, patesi of 
W/r-/>«r-/tf, accomplished something worthy, built the tem- 
ple Eninnii-Imgig{-gu)barbara^ and restored it." This legend 
and similar statements occurring on the statues in dolerite and 
on other votive objects rescued from the same part of the 
ruins, the fact that Mound A represents the most extensive 
single hill of Tello, and several other considerations, lead 
necessarily to the conclusion that the ancient structure lying 
below the Seleucidan palace and partly worked into it can 
only be Eninnu^ the chief sanctuary of the Babylonian city, 
sacred to Nin-Girsu or Nin-Su(n)gir, the tutelary deity of 

^ Comp. Heuzey in Comptes R nidus de P Academic des Inscriptions^ 1894, 
pp. 34-42. 

^ The name of the temple appears either as E-NinnUt ** House of God 
Ningirsu" (Ninnu, ** 50," being the ideogram of the god), or as E-Imgig- 
(^-gu)bara, i, c, the temple called lmgig(^-gu)bara (*• Imgig is shining"), or 
as E- Ninnu- Imgig(^-gu^barbara (a composition of these two names). The 
divine bird Imgig was the emblem of the God Ningirsu and of his city 5A/r- 
pur-la (^Z,A, XV, pp. ^zseq., xvi, p. 357), according to Honunel, originally a 
raven {shir-pur(^-^u^ =. aribu,^ 


This temple existed at Tello from the earliest times.^ 
But an examination of the inscription on the statue of Ur- 
Bau, and the results of De Sarzec's explorations in the lower 
strata, would seem to indicate that this ruler abandoned the old 
site of Eninnu altogether, and rebuilt the temple on a larger 
scale at the place where its ruins are seen at present. How- 
ever, it must not be forgotten that the displacement of a 
renowned sanctuary involved in this theory is something 
unheard of in the history of ancient Babylonia. It is contrary 
to the well-known spirit of conservatism manifested by the 
ancient inhabitants of Babylonia in all matters connected 
with their religion, and directly opposed to the numerous 
statements contained in the so-called building inscriptions 
and boundary regulations of all periods.^ 

Unfortunately very little of the temple of Nin-Su(n)gir 
seems to have been left. De Sarzec had previously discovered 
a wall of LJr-Bau under the east corner of the palace. But 
' besides it and the tower and gate of Gudea he brought no- 
thing to light except layers of crude bricks from the artificial 
terrace. In the light of these negative results, how can the 
continuity of the sanctuary at one and the same place be 
defended ? On the ground that in order to secure a stronger 
and larger foundation tor his own new sanctuary, Ur-Bau 
mav have razed the crumbling terrace of the old temple 
entirely, as manv other Babylonian and Assyrian monarchs 

^ The E-Nifi^inu of I'r-Nina i> practically the same name as E-KintJUy 
both meaning ** temple of Ninib." As tar as I can sec, the name E-Nirinii 
(xcur> for the first time in the inscriptions of Entemena, great-grandson of 
Ur-Nina, and in a text of Urukagina. 

* That in the earliest days of ancient Babylonia practically the same spirit 
prevailed as in Semitic times with regard to the inviolable character of sacred 
enclosures, boundary lines, agreements ( especiallv when made with gods, /. t\, 
their territory, income, gifts ) i.s clear from certain instructive passages engraved 
upon "the historical cone of Entemena," which doubtless came from Tello 
(comp. Revue d^ AsssrioIo^iCy vol. iv, pp. 3", ^cqq- ), and from the long 
curse attached to Gudea' s inscription on Statue B. 


did afterwards in other cities. And no less on the ground 
that according to all evidence furnished by the excavations/ 
the present terrace, on which the local rulers of the Seleuci- 
dan age erected their castle, is considerably smaller than the 
platform of the patesis of Lagash. There can be no doubt 
therefore that a considerable part of the earliest temple 
ruins, which in all probability included even those of a stage- 
tower,^ was intentionally demolished and removed by Ur- 
Bau, or, if not by him, surely by the Parthian princes of the 
third century, who built their palace almost exclusively of 
the bricks of Gudea's temple. We have a somewhat similar 
case at Nippur. For it is a remarkable fact that the char- 
acteristic change from a Babylonian sanctuary into a Seleu- 
cido-Parthian palace observed at Tello is precisely the same 
as took place in the sacred precinct of Bel at NufFar, so that 
the evidence obtained in the trenches of the latter, better 

^ And in a recent letter to the present writer expressly confirmed by 

* From the analogical cuse of Nippur (Fourth Campaign, below), where a 
central kernel of the huge xiggurrat descends far down into the pre-Sargonic 
stratum, and from certain passages in the earliest inscriptions from Tello, I feel 
convinced that a stage- tower, the most characteristic part of every prominent 
Babylonian temple, must also have existed at Lagash — however modest in size 
— at the time of the earliest kings. Traces of it may still be found somewhere 
in the lowest strata of Mound A. For the pre-Sargonic xiggurrat at Nippur 
comp. Helm and Hilprecht, Mlttcilung iiber die chemhche IJntcrsuchung von 
altbabslonischcfi Kupfer- umi Bronze Gegt'fistanJcN und deren Altershestim- 
mungy in I'erhividlungcn der Berliner a?ithropologischen Gcsellschaft, Febr. 1 6, 
1 90 1, p. I 59. As to a stagc-towcr probably mentioned in the Tello inscrip- 
tions, comp. Gudea D, col. ii, 1. 1 1 : E-pd e-ub-imin-na-ni mu-na-ru, and 
Jensen in Schradcr's KeilinschriftHche Bibliotheky vol. iii, part I, pp. 50, 
scq, Comp. also Ur-Nina's inscription published in Decouvertes, pi. 2, no. 2, 
col. ii, 1. 7—10, where urunn-ni mu-ru, ** he built his (Ningirsu's) observa- 
tory," is immediately preceded by E-pa-mu-rUy so that in view of the Gudea 
passage, we probably have to recognize a close connection between the Epa 
and the uruna, the latter being situated upon the top of the former. For 
stage-tower and obscr\ atory cannot be separated from each other in ancient 


preserved ruin ^ goes far to explain the detached walls un- 
earthed in the lower strata of Tello. 

With the exception of the Seleucido-Parthian building 
just described, the few but important remains of Eninnu 
and the ingeniously constructed brick columns of Gudea 
above (p. 222) referred to, De Sarzec's excavations had so 
far been comparatively unproductive of noteworthy archi- 
tectural results. They were more interesting and truly 
epoch-making in their bearing upon our knowledge of the 
origin and development of ancient Babylonian art. For the 
rubbish which filled the chambers and halls of the palace 
not only contained the ordinary pottery, iron instruments, 
perforated stone seals in the forms of animals,'- and other 
objects characteristic of the last centuries preceding the 
Christian era, but it also yielded numerous door-sockets of 
Gudea and Ur-Bau re-used later in part, inscribed vases and 
mace-heads, a large quantity of seal cylinders,^ principally 

^ Comp. my ** Report from Nuffar to the Committee of the Babyl. Exped. 
in Philadelphia,*' April 21, 1900, from which I quote: *• The building de- 
scribed by Peters and Haynes as the temple of Bel is only a huge Parthian 
fortress lying on the top of the ancient temple ruin, and so constructed that 
the upper stages of the z/g^i^urriit served as a kind of citadel.'* 

- Found under the alabaster thrc>h()ld in the inner gate of the southwest 
side of the palace, where, in accordance with a custom frequently observed in 
A>>vrian buildings, they evidently had been placed as talismans. The fine 
S<»mmerville collection of talismans in the Archa'ological Museum of the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania contains a large number of similar Parthian stone 

^ Likewise serving a> talismans against demons and their obnoxious influ- 
ences. This interesting use ot ancient Bab\l()nian >eal-c\ linders, cuneit«irm 
tablets, and other inscribed objects by the later inhabitants of the countrv ex- 
plains whv thev occur so frequentK- in Parthian tombs (cnmp. nn remark.> on 
pp. I >4, /^Y- , 168, above, and De Sar/ec and Heuze\ , Drr-^uz'rnr:^ y. "■;, 
note I ). But it also illustrates how impos-^ible it is to u>e Mich hnJs without 
criticism as material for determining the age ot tomb> in Bab\ Ionian ruins, as 
unfortunately was done by Peters in his ** Nippur," vol. ii, p. 219. Peters' 
classification of Babylonian coffins and pottery cannot be taken seriously, 


taken from the mortar uniting the different layers of brick 
in a furnace, and not a few of those priceless fragments of 
bas-reliefs, statues, and statuettes which will always form the 
basis for a systematic study of earlier Chaldean art. The 
most valuable discoveries, however, awaited the explorer in 
the debris filling the large open court and the rooms and 
passages grouped around it, and in the layer of earth 
separating the pavement of the Parthian edifice from the 
crude brick terrace below it. No less than eight decapitated 
statues — four sitting and four standing — lay on the court 
in two distinct groups scarcely more than ten yards apart 
from each other. A detached shaved head, doubtless origi- 
nally belonging to one of them, was found in their imme- 
diate neighborhood. 

Among the many valuable antiquities which came from 
the adjoining halls and from the earth below this whole sec- 
tion we mention one of the largest bas-reliefs discovered in 
Tello,^ representing a procession of priests and a musician 
playing a peculiarly decorated harp of eleven chords dating 
from the time of Gudea ; a little fragment of sculpture of 
the same epoch, which rapidly gained a certain celebrity 
among modern artists for the exquisite modelling and fine 
execution of a naked female foot ; '^ a mutilated and half- 
calcined slab showing a humped bull carved with a rare skill 
and surprising fidelity to nature ; ^ a small but well preserved 
head in steatite reproducing the type of the large shaved head 
with a remarkable grace and delicacy ; ** a new piece of 

because it ignores the established laws of archeology and the principles of histor- 
ical research. 

^ Over four feet high, and, according to Heuzey, probably belonging to a 
four-sided altar, stele, or pedestal ( Decouz'crtes, pi. 23). 

^ Comp. Decouvertesy pi. 25, no. 6, identical with the fi^gment quoted on 
p. 229, above. 

* Comp. DecouvcrteSy pi. 25, no. 4. 

* Comp. Decouvertcs, Y^\. 25, no. i. 


the " stele of vultures " previously mentioned ; ^ and the 
first fragment of an inscribed tablet of Ur-Nina, exhibiting 
the lion-headed eagle with outspread wings victoriously 
clutching two lions in its powerful talons, — the well-known . 
coat of arms of the city of Shir-pur-la? 

The last-named monument enabled Heuzey to bring the 
earliest remains of Chaldean art, so scrupulously gathered by 
De Sarzec, into closer relation with the ancient kings of 
Tello. He ascertained that, contrary to what we know of 
the first princes of Assyria, the rulers who style themselves 
" kings of Shir-pur-la " are older ^ than those who bear the 
title patesiy i, e.^ " priest-king,'* or more exactly " prince- 
priest," in their inscriptions, — a result which allowed him 
at once to establish an approximate chronology for the newly 
discovered rulers of Southern Babylonia in accordance with 
the progress in style to be traced in their sculptures and bas- 
reliefs. Furthermore, the French archaeologist determined 
a number of general facts,^ on the basis of which he success- 
fully defended the two following theses, — (i) that the style 
of the monuments of Tello is not a style of imitation, but 
a real and genuine archaism ; (2) that quite a number of the 
monuments discovered antedate the remote epoch of King 
Naram-Sin (about 3750 b.c.'), and lead us back to the very 

^ Comp. DccouvcrtcSy pis. 3 and 4, B. 

- Comp. Decouz'trtc'Sy pi. i, no. 2. A very similar fragment is in the 
Imperial Ottoman Museum at Constantinople (no. 420). 

* This statement has reference onlv to the two principal groups of rulers 
ot I^gash then known. In all probability there was still an earlier dynasty at 
Tello, the members of which bear the title />/;Av/. Comp. Thurcau-Dangin 
in Ze'ttschrift fur .^sssrioIo^it\ vol. xv, p. 40^. 

* Comp. Heuzey' s subtle observations on Chaldean art in Rtz'uc Ariltr'j- 
Lgiqut\ new series, vol. xlii, 1881, p. 263, and in Decoui'crte^^ pp. 77-86, 
I 19-127, 186, seq. 

* The date of Naram-Sin' s government was obtained fr(;m a cylinder of 
Nabonidos excavated by Rassam at Abu Habba about the same time. Comp. 
p. 273, below. 


beginning of Chaldean art. These fundamental deductions 
and historical conclusions, so quickly drawn by Heuzey 
after his study of the archaeological details of the monuments, 
found their full corroboration through the deciphering of 
their accompanying inscriptions by Oppert and Amiaud, 
and through the present writer's palteographical and his- 
torical researches in connection with the NufFar antiquities, 
which afforded a welcome means of controlling and supple- 
menting the results obtained at Tello. 

The magnificent collection of statues in diorite, or more 
exactly dolerite, will always remain the principal discovery 
connected with De Sarzec's name. With the exception of 
but one erected by Ur-Bau, they bear the name of Gudea, 
patesi of Shir-pur-la or Lagash, as the city at some time 
must have been called. Famous as the choicest museum 
pieces so far recovered from Babylonian soil, and remark- 
able for their unity of style and technique, and therefore 
occupying a most prominent place in the history of ancient 
art, they appeal to us no less through the simplicity and 
correctness of their attitude and through the reality and 
power of their expression, than through the extraordinary 
skill and ability with which one of the hardest stones in 
existence has here been handled by unknown Chaldean 
artists. The mere fact that such monuments could origi- 
nate in ancient Babylonia speaks volumes for the unique 
character and the peculiar vitality of this great civilization, 
which started near the Persian Gulf thousands of years be- 
fore our era, and fundamentally influenced the religious ideas 
and the intellectual development of the principal Semitic na- 
tions, and through them left its impression even upon Europe 
and upon our own civilization. 

All the statues represent a human ruler — generally 
Gudea — whose name is found in a kind of cartouche on 
the right shoulder or in a long inscription engraved upon 
a conspicuous part of the body or garment ; and they all 


have the hands clasped before the breast in an attitude of 
reverence. As over against the typical sobriety and conven- 
tional style of the early Egyptian sculptures, the Chaldean 
artist endeavors to express real life and to imitate nature 
within certain limits set by the peculiar material, " the rou- 
tine of the studios and the rules of sacred etiquette." The 
swelling of the muscles of the right arm, the delicately carved 
nails of the fingers, the expressive details of the feet firmly 
resting on the ground, the characteristic manner in which 
the fringed shawl is thrown over the left shoulder, and the 
first naive and timid attempt at reproducing its graceful folds 
betray a remarkable gift of observation and no small sculp- 
tural talent on the part of these ancient Sumerians. Two of 
the sitting statues show Gudea as an architect with a large 
tablet upon his lap, while a carefully divided rule and a sty- 
lus are carved in relief near its upper and right edges. The 
surface of the one tablet is empty,* while on the other the 
patesi has drawn a large fortified enclosure provided with 
gates, bastions and towers. 

The great number and the artistic value of the monuments 
of Gudea point to an extraordinary prosperity and a com- 
paratively peaceful development of the various resources of 
the city of Lagash at the time of his government (about 
2TOO B. c). This natural inference is fullv confirmed bv 
the vast remains of his buildings at the ruins and bv the 
unique contents of his many inscriptions. The latter were 
greeted by Assvriologists as the first genuine documents 
of a period when Sumerian was still a spoken language, 
however much influenced already bv the grammar and 
lexicography of their Semitic neighbors and conquerors. 
But aside from their linguistic and pahTog^raphical import- 
ance these inscriptions, though even at present bv no 
means fullv understood, revealed to us such a surprising 
picture of the greatness and extent of the ancient Sumerian 

* This is the tablet seen in the illustration facing this page. 


civilization and of the geographical horizon of the early 
inhabitants of Lagash that at first it seemed almost impos- 
sible to regard it as faithful and historical. Gudea fought 
victorious battles against Elam and sent his agents as far 
as the Mediterranean. He cut his cedars in Northern Syria 
and Idumea and obtained his dolerite in the quarries of 
Eastern Arabia (Magan). His caravans brought copper 
from the mines of the Nejd (Kimash), and his ships carried 
gold and precious wood from the mountains of Medina 
and the rocky shores of the Sinaitic peninsula (Melukh).^ 
What an outlook into the lively intercourse and the ex- 
change of products between the nations of Western Asia 
at the threshold of the fourth and third pre-Christian 
millenniums, but also what an indication of the powerful 
influence which went forth from this little known race of 
Southern Babylonia, irresistibly advancing in all directions 
and aflfecting Palestine long before xA.bram left his ancestral 
home on the west bank of the Euphrates. And yet De 
Sarzec's excavations at Tello and the Philadelphia expedition 
to Nufl^ar were soon to provide ample new material by means 
of which we vyere enabled to follow that remarkable civiliza- 
tion a thousand years and even further back. 

"J. De Sarzec's careful description of the many ancient re- 
mains unearthed by him, and Heuzey's admirable exposi- 
tion of the age and importance of the new material, prepared 
the way for an early resumption of the excavations at 
Tello. But in view of certain fundamental changes recently 

^ Comp. Hommers article ** Explorations in Arabia,** in this volume. Iron, 
however, was not among the metals brought by Gudea from Melukh, as was 
asserted bv Hommcl and (following him) by myself (in Verhandlungen der 
Bcrlhicr anthropologischttj Gcsclhchaftj session of 1 6 Febr., 1 90 1, p. 164)- 
So far no iron has been discovered in the earliest strata of either Nuffar or 
Tello. Indeed, I doubt whether it appears in Assyria and Babylonia much 
before 1000 b. c. The earliest large finds of iron implements known to us 
from the exploration of Assyrian and Babylonian ruins date from the eighth 
century b. c. and were made in Sargon*s palace at Khorsabad (comp. p. 83, 


made in the archaeological laws of the Ottoman empire * at 
Hamdy Bey's recommendation, the French minister deemed 
it wise at first to ascertain the future attitude of the Porte 
with regard to the ownership of other antiquities which 
might be discovered, before he sanctioned any further ex- 
ploration in Southern Babylonia. After frequent and pro- 
tracted negotiations a satisfactory understanding was finally 
reached between the two interested powers. De Sarzec had 
meanwhile been appointed consul at Baghdad. In 1888 he 
was authorized to proceed again to the scene of his former 
labors, which henceforth were deprived of their private char- 
acter and conducted under the auspices and at the expense 
of the French government. 

Certain scattered fragments of sculptures and a few inscrip- 
tions* previously gathered had made it evident that the 
mounds of Tello contained monuments considerably older 
than the statues of Ur-Bau and Gudea, and reaching back 
almost to the very beginning of Babylonian civilization. The 
question arose, Which of the numerous elevations of the very 
extensive site most probably represents the principal settle- 
ment of this early period and is likely to repay methodical 
researches with corresponding important discoveries? Re- 
membering the vcrv numerous ancient constructions which ten 
vears before had been brought to light by his trial trenches 
in Mound B, De Sarzec now directed his chief attention 

above I and in Ashiirna>irapars northwest palace at Nimrud ( comp. p. 124, 
aN-)ve). As we know, however, that Sargon (722-~o^ b. c. ) also restored 
and for a while occupied the latter palace (comp. pp. 106 and III, above) 
:he iron utensils found in it doubtless go back to him and not to the time ot 

^ Comp. pp. 205, st-^.f above. 

- Among them inscribed monuments of I 'r- Nina, Eannatum, Entemena, 
and Enannatum. Comp. the fragments ot* the bas-rclictVof I'r-Nina and ** the 
stele of vultures *' previously referred to ; furthermore Dt'iouz'rrti's, pp. 59 
and 68 ; and Heuzy, Lts roi's Jt Tellb ct la pcriode archaiquc dc r art chalJecriy 
in Revue Archeologiquey Nov., 1885. 


to the exploration of this section of the ruins, at the same 
time continuing his examination of the lower strata of Mound 
A, as indicated above. 

It was a comparatively easy task for the explorer to 
determine the character of the latest accumulation which 
covered the top of this tumulus. Upon a layer of crude 
bricks he found part of a wall which constituted the last 
remains of a building of the time of Gudea (2700 b. c), 
whose name was engraved on a door-socket and upon a 
small copper figurine discovered i?j situ. Another figurine 
of the type of the basket-bearers had a votive inscription 
of Dungi, king of Ur, who belonged to the same general 
epoch. But his greatest finds from this upper stratum of 
Mound B were two exquisite round trays in veined onyx 
and half-transparent alabaster,^ which, with the fragment 
of a third, bore the names of as many different patesis 
of Lagash, Ur-Ninsun, otherwise unknown, Nammakhani, 
the son-in-law and successor of Ur-Bau, and (Ga)lukani, a 
vassal of Dungi. 

As soon as De Sarzec commenced to deepen his trenches, 
he came upon older walls constructed of entirely different 
bricks laid in bitumen. They were baked and oblong, flat on 
their lower and convex on their upper side, and without ex- 
ception had a mark of the right thumb in the centre of the 
latter. A few of them bearing a legend of King Ur-Nina 
in large linear writing, it seemed safe to assume that here 
there were architectural remains which went back to the ear- 
liest kings of Lagash. With great care and expectation De 
Sarzec examined the whole building and its environment 
in the course of the next twelve years. Everywhere at the 
same level characterized by a large pavement of bricks and 
reached at an average depth of only thirteen feet from the 
surface, he found inscribed stone tablets and door-sockets, 

^ Now in the Museum of Archaeology at Constantinople, where w^ith 
other Babylonian antiquities they were catalogued by the present writer. 



weapons, — including a colossal spear-head^ dedicated to 
Ningirsu by an ancient king of Kish, and the elaborately 
carved mace-head of the even earlier King Mesilim of the 
same city, — figurines in copper, the magnificent silver vase 
of Entemena, lion heads and bas-reliefs, — among them 
the famous genealogical bas-reliefs of Ur-Nina and three 
new fragments of " the stele of vultures," — besides many 
other precious antiquities which about 4000 b. c. had been 
presented as votive offerings to their gods by Ur-Nina, 
Eannatum, Entemena, Enannatum, etc., and several con- 
temporaneous rulers of other Babylonian cities with whom 
this powerful dynasty of Lagash fought battles or otherwise 
came into contact. 

But even Ur-Nina's edifice did not represent the earliest 
settlement of Mound B. In examining the ground below 
his platform, De Sarzec disclosed remains of a still older 
building imbedded in the crude bricks of the lofty terrace 
which served as a solid basis for the great king's own con- 
struction. Its ruined walls rose to the height of more than 
nine feet, and were made of bricks similar to those from the 
next higher stratum, but somewhat smaller in size and with- 
out their characteristic thumb marks. This verv ancient 
building rested upon a pavement of g\^psum, lying nearly 
sixteen feet and a half below the platform of Ur-Nina and 
a little over twenty-six feet above the surrounding plain, 
occupying therefore about the centre of the whole artificial 
mound. The unknown ruler of Lagash who erected it must 
have lived towards the end of the fifth pre-Christian millen- 
nium. A number of votive statuettes in copper of a very 
aichaic type, and fragments of sculptured stones, including 
the lower part of a large military stele, which, owing to its 
weight and its unimportant details, remained on the ground,' 

' In copper, over two feet and a half long. 

- In limestone, over six and a half feet long, almost three feet high, and 
Haifa foot thick. Comp. Decouvertes, pp. 195, seq., and pi. 56, no. 2. 


repaid De Sarzec's researches in the rubbish that filled the 
interior of the structure and covered the adjacent platform. 

A new interruption in the French excavations at Telle 
was caused in 1889 by the explorer's failing health and h* 
temporary transfer to a higher and more lucrative positi< 
in Batavia. When four vears later he returned once m 
to Southern Babylonia, soon afterwards (1894) to be 
pointed consul-general, he extended his trenches iv 
directions around these enigmatic architectural remains 
resumed his explorations at the other points prev 
attacked. In order to ascertain especially, whether | 
the lower strata of mound B concealed monuments 
greater antiquity than hitherto disclosed by him, he 
his workmen to cut a trench through the solid 
bricks which had formed the basis for the difFeri 
ings once crowning its summit. At a depth of a 
twenty-six feet he reached the virgin soil, wh* 
continued his researches. With the exceptiot 
ber of empty receptacles made of bitumen in 
large jars and similar to others which had !■ 
the walls of the archaic building, this experi: 
vielded onlv a few rude mace-heads, hamnv 
eggs, probably used by slingers in warfar 
and fragments of ordinary pottery, all ap; 
poraneous with the first edifice for which 
been erected. 

On the west slope of Mound B De S:: 
wells and a water-course of the time (v 
manner peculiar to the earliest period ot 
the two former were constructed of 
marked with the impressions of two 

^ According to De Sarzec and Heuzey, 
Paris, 1900, p. 63, these eggs were common i 
is regarded as unknown. They occur ire 
Fourth Campaign, Temple Mound, Section ' 


index — and in some instances bearing a long legend of the 
monarch just mentioned. After a brief reference to his reign 
and principal military expeditions, this ruler glorifies in hav- 
ing constructed " the great terrace of the well," /. e.y in having 
extended the crude brick terrace of his predecessor so far as 
to include in it the mouths of these two water supplies 
which he raised from the plain up to the level of Ur-Nina's 
buildings.^ From the neighboring debris came some fine 
pieces of carved or incised shell, showing spirited scenes of 
men, animals and plants, and doubtless belonging to the 
same general epoch. A good many similar specimens of this 
important branch of ancient Chaldean art, a few of them 
colored, have been recentlv obtained from various other 
central and south-Babylonian ruins by the present writer.^ 

A rectangular massive building, remains of a gate, and 
several artificial reservoirs difl^ering greatly in size and form 
were brought to light to the southeast and northeast of 
Enannatuma's wells. A few inscribed bricks and a number 
of copper figurines carrying alabaster tablets upon their 
heads indicated sufficientlv that most of these structures 
were the work of Kntemena, nephew of the last-mentioned 
patesi of Shir-pur-la, Some of them may have been rebuilt 
in subsequent times, but preceding the governments of 
Ur-Bau and Gudca. Not without good reason Heuzey 
proposed to identify the terrace to the southeast with the 
substructure of the Jh[Esh)-^i'^ mentioned on some of the 
inscribed bricks taken from the former, and the sacred en- 
closure to the northeast, which in part at least can be still 
defined bv means of the copper fig^urines found /;/ situ^ with 
the Ab-bi-rii "* of the alabaster tablets. 

* Comp. Dc Sarzcc and Heuzey, Vne 11 lie Rosalc Chaldecnr.Cy Paris, 
1900, pp. 69-75, especially p. -4. 

- Comp. Hilprecht, *'Thc South-Babylonian Ruins of Abu Hatab and 
Fara '* (in course of preparation ). 

* Comp. De Sarzec and Heuzey, L'ne I'lUe R:\dlc ChaLiccnnty p. 79. 

* Comp. De Sarzec and Heuzey, 1. c, pp. 8~, sc-iq. 


Though the precise meaning of both of these names is 
obscure, Heuzey is doubtless correct in trying to explain the 
significance of the two structures represented by them from 
the nature of the principal building occupying Mound B, 
from the character of the numerous antiquities excavated in 
their neighborhood, and from certain other indications fur- 
nished by the inscriptions. The large oval reservoir and 
three smaller rectangular ones, discovered within the enclo- 
sure marked by Kntemena's figurines, have probably refer- 
ence to the (temporary) storing of dates ^ and to the prepara- 
tion of date wine. Even to-day the date-growing Arabs of 
Babylonia, w^ho have not been influenced by certain changes 
recently introduced in connection wi^h the increased export 
of dates to Europe and America, use similar elevated recep- 
tacles, — the so-called medibsa^ — which have all the char- 
acteristic features of the ancient (oval) basin with its inclined 
pavement and outlet. 

There are architectural remains which were unearthed in 
other parts of these ruins close to the large brick terrace 
erected by Ur-Nina and enlarged by his successors. But 
being too fragmentary in themselves and valuable chiefly as 
providing further evidence with regard to the real character 
of the whole complex of buildings concealed in Mound B, 
we may well abstain from enumerating them one by one and 
describing their peculiarities in detail. 

What was the original purpose of all these separate walls 
and crumbling constructions, which at some time apparentlv 
constituted an organic whole ? Certain pronounced archi- 
tectural features still to be recognized in the central build- 
ings of the two lowest platforms, and a careful examination 
of the different antiquities taken from the accumulated rub- 

' ^ Comp. the khauiru of the Neo-Babylonian contracts. 
2 For further details as to their construction and use, comp. Hilprecht, 
** The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania," series A, 
vol. X (in press). 


btsh within and around them, will enable us to answer the 
question and to determine the general character of the vast 
enclosure with reasonable certainty. 

We notice, first of all, that the most prominent structure 
discovered in the stratum of the period of Ur-Nina, about 
thirty-five feet long and twenty-four wide, shows no trace 
of a door or any other kind of entrance, though its walls, 
when excavated, were still standing to the height of nearly 
four feet. It is therefore evident that access to it must have 
been had from above by means of a staircase or ladder now 
destroyed, and that for this reason it could never have 
been used as a regular dwelling-place for men or beasts. A 

similar result is reached bv examining the more archaic hut 
somewhat smaller huildine below, which presents even 
greater puzzles from an architectural standpoint. 

The inner disposition of the upper edifice is no less 
remarkable than its external appearance. It consists of 
two rooms of difl^erent size, which, howe\er, do not extend 


directly to the outer walls, but are disconnected by a passage- 
way or corridor over two feet and a half wide, running parallel 
with the latter and also separating the two rooms from each 
other. These inner chambers likewise have no opening. 
With good reason, therefore, Heuzey regards this curious 
building as a regular store or provision house similarly 
constructed to those known in ancient Egypt. This view 
is strengthened by the fact that the inscriptions of Ur- 
Nina, Enannatum, Urukagina, and especially those of 
Entemena repeatedly refer ^ to such a magazine or depot 
of the god Nin-Su(n)gir. The ancient kings 3,nd palesis of 
Lagash used to fill it with grain, dates, sesame oil, and other 
produce of the country required for the maintenance of the 
temple servants, or needed as supplies for their armies, 
which fought frequent battles in the name of their tutelary 
deity. The double walls, which form a characteristic feature 
also of a number of chambers in the outer wall of the huge 
Parthian fortress at Nippur, were useful in more than one 
regard. They excluded the extreme heat of the summer 
and the humidity of the winter, while, at the same time, 
they insured the safety of the stored provisions against dam- 
age from crevices, thieves, and troublesome insects. A coat 
of bitumen covering the walls and floors of the rooms and 
corridor answered the same purpose. 

At a distance of thirteen feet from the principal building 
De Sarzec discovered eight bases made of baked brick, two 
on each side, which originally supported as many square 
pillars, clearly indicated by the remains of charred cedar- 
wood found near them. It is therefore apparent that a large 
gallery, a kind of portico or peristyle, as we frequently see it 
attached to the modern houses of Kurdish and Armenian 
peasants in Asia Minor, surrounded the ancient Babylonian 
edifice on all four sides, furnishing additional room for the 
temporary storage of goods, agricultural implements, and 

^ Comp. Thureau-Dangin in Revue d* Assyriologie, vol. iii, pp. 119, seqq. 


large objects which could not be deposited within. On this 
theory it is easy to explain the existence of so many artificial 
reservoirs, water-courses, and wells in the immediate neigh- 
borhood of this interesting structure. As indicated above, 
they served various practical purposes in connection with 
this large rural establishment, such as cleansing and wash- 
ing, the storing of dates, the preparation of date wine, and 
the pressing of oil. 

Like the storerooms of the temple at Sippara so fre- 
quently mentioned in the later cuneiform inscriptions, this 
sacred magazine of the earliest rulers of Lagash was not 
exclusively a granary and oil-cellar. According to time and 
circumstances, it was turned into an armory or into a safe 
for specially valuable temple propert)'^, vessels and votive 
offerings of every description, as a small lot of copper dag- 
gers, fragments of reliefs, and two inscribed door-sockets 
found on the floor of the rooms suflScientlv demonstrate. 
Many other objects of art gathered from the debris around 
this building may therefore have formed part of the trea- 
sures which, previous to the final destruction of the city, 
were kept within its walls. Modest and simple as this 
whole temple annex appears to us from our present stand- 
point, it was in ever\' way adapted to the needs of the an- 
cient population of S/jir-pu?'-iay on its lofty terrace equally 
protected against the annual inundations of the rivers and 
the sudden invasion of hostile armies. 

Among the portable antiquities which rewarded De Sar- 
zec's labors during the three campaigns conducted from 
189J to 1895, about 30,000 baked cuneiform tablets and 
fragments constitute his most characteristic discovery. In 
1894 and 1895 they were found in a small elevation a little 
over 650 feet distant from the large hill which contained the 
buildings of the ancient princes of Lagash just described. 
The successful explorer informs us ^ that he came upon two 

* Through Heuzey, in Revue d^ Assyriologie, vol. iii, pp. 65-68. 


distinct groups of rectangular galleries constructed of crude 
bricks, upon which these first large collections of clay tab- 
lets from Tello were arranged in five or six layers, one 
above another. Unfortunately, soon after their discovery, 
these interesting depots, which must be regarded as regular 
business archives of the temple, similar to others unearthed 
at Abu Habba and Nuffar, were plundered by the natives. 
Nearly all the leading museums of Europe and America 
have profited therefrom. But nevertheless it will always 
remain a source of deep regret that the French government 
does not appear to have succeeded in establishing regular 
guards at Tello.^ Even when De Sarzec was in the field, 
the ruins were not suflSciently protected at night, to say 
nothing of the frequent and long intervals in his work 
when no one was left on guard and those precious mounds 
remained at the mercy of unscrupulous merchants and of 
the neighboring Arabs, who soon began to realize the finan- 
cial value of these almost inexhaustible mines.^ A large 
number of the stolen tablets are still in the hands of the 
antiquity dealers. At first greedily bought by the latter in 
the sure expectation of an extraordinary gain, this archseo- 
logical contraband began recently to disappoint them, the 
comparatively uninteresting and monotonous contents of 
the average clay tablet from Tello ofl^ering too little attrac- 
tion to most of the Assyriological students. 

As a rule they refer to the administration of temple pro- 

^ The ruins of NufFar, the neighborhood of which is as unsafe as that of 
Tello, and the property of the expedition of the University of Pennsylvania 
(house and gardens, and stores, furniture and utensils locked up in the former) 
were always entrusted to native guards during our absence from the field, the 
'Afej shaikhs agreeing to guarantee their inviolability for a comparatively small 
remuneration. They have always kept their promise faithfully, notwithstanding 
the wars which they frequently waged against the Shammar or against each 
other in the meanwhile. 

^ Comp. Heuzey, Catalogue de la Sculpture Chaldeenne au Musee du 
Louvre ^ Paris, 1902, Introduction. 


perty, to agriculture and stock-raising, to trade, commerce, 
and industry. There are lists of offerings, furniture, slaves, 
and other inventories, bills of entry, expense lists, receipts, 
accounts, contracts, and letters ; there are even land registers, 
plans of houses, of fortifications, rivers, and canals. Espe- 
cially numerous are the lists of animals (temple herds, and 
the like) and statements of the produce of the fields, testify- 
ing to the eminently agricultural and pastoral character of 
the ancient principality of Lagash. Among the more in- 
teresting specimens we mention the fragments of a corre- 
spondence between Lugal-ushumgal, palest of Shir-pur-lay 
and a contemporaneous king of Agade (Sargon or Naram- 
Sin), his suzerain. Or we refer to a number of inscribed 
seal-impressions in clay, as labels attached to merchandise 
and addressed to various persons and cities.^ For we learn 
from a study of these long-buried archives that northern 
Babylonia largely exported grain and manufactured goods 
to the south, while the latter dealt principally in cattle, 
fowl, wool, cheese, butter, and eggs — precisely the same 
characteristic products which the two halves of Babylonia 
exchange with each other to-day. 

With regard to their age, these tablets cover a consider- 
able period. Some of them antedate the dynasty of Ur- 
Nina (4000 b. c); others bear the name of Urukagina, 
"king oi Shir-pur-la^'' whose time has not been fixed defi- 
nitely;" again others belong to the age of Sargon and 
Naram-Sin (j8oo b. c.) and are of inestimable value for 
their dates, which contain important historical references ; ^ 

* Comp. Hcuzcy in Comptes Rendus dcs Seances de r Academic des Inscrip- 
tions et Belles-Lettresy 1896 f4th series, vol. xxiv), session of April 17, 
and in Revue d^ AssyrioIogiCf vol. iv, pp. 1-12. 

* According to Thureau-Dangin, he lived after Entemena. Comp. Zeit- 
schrift fur Assyiologiey vol. xv, p. 404, note i. 

' Babylon, written ka-dingir-ra-ki, appears on one of these tablets — ac- 
cording to our present knowledge the first clear reference to the famous city 
known in history. 


a few are the documents from the reign of Gudea (about 2joo 
B. c); by far the largest mass of the tablets recovered be- 
longs to the powerful members of the later dynasty of Ur, 
about 2550 B. c.^ 

Numerous other inscribed antiquities of a more monu- 
mental character, such as statuettes with intact heads, trun- 
cated cones, stone cylinders, and, above all, the large pebbles 
of Eannatum, grandson of Ur-Nina, with their welcome 
accounts of the principal historical events occurring during 
his government, were taken from the clay shelves of the 
same subterranean galleries. Unique art treasures were 
found at different parts of the ruins as previously indicated, 
but they were especially numerous in the neighborhood of 
the storehouses and temple archives. Among those from 
Tello which exhibit the most primitive style of art so far 
known, the fragments of a circular bas-relief representing the 
solemn meeting of two great chiefs followed by their retinues 
of warriors hold a very prominent place. It is contempo- 
raneous with the earliest building discovered in mound B, 
while three excellent specimens of Old Babylonian metal- 
lurgy,' two bulls* heads in copper^ and a peculiarly formed 
vase in the same metal, belong to the more advanced period 
of Ur-Nina and his successors. 

For many years to come the excavations of De Sarzec in 
and around mound B have furnished rich material for the 
student of ancient languages, history, and religion. Though 

^ Comp. especially Thureau-Dangin in Comptes Rendus, 1896, pp. 355- 
361, and in Revue d^ j^ssyriologie, vol. iii, pp. 118-146 ; vol. iv, pp. 13— 
27 (also Oppert, ibidem^ pp. 28-33), 69-84 (accompanied by 32 plates 
of representative texts). The latest inscribed cuneiform document so far ob- 
tained from Tello is an inscribed cone of Rim-Sin of Larsam, according to a 
statement of Heuzey in Comptes RcnduSy 1894, p. 42. 

- Two fine heads of Markhur goats in the same metal and of the same period 
were obtained by the present writer from the pre-Sargonic mounds of Fara. 
Comp. Helm and Hilprecht in Verhandlungen der Berliner anthropohgischen 
Gesellschaft, February 16, 1901, pp. 162, seqq. 


none of the shrines and temples of the different local gods 
worshipped here has as yet been identified with certainty, 
the crumbling remains of so many buildings unearthed, the 
exceptionally large number of fine objects of art, and the 
mass of clay tablets and monumental inscriptions already 
recovered, enable us to form a tolerably fair idea of the 
general character and standard of civilization reached by the 
early inhabitants of the Euphrates and Tigris valleys at the 
threshold of the fifth and fourth millenniums before our era. 
This civilization is of no low degree, and is far from taking 
us back to the first beginnings of human order and society. 
Of course art and architecture, which developed in close 
connection with the religious cults and conceptions of the 
people, and were strongly influenced in their growth by the 
peculiarities of climate and the natural conditions of the soil, 
are simple, and in accordance with the normal development 
of primitive humanity. The alluvial ground around La- 
gash furnished the necessary material for making and bak- 
ing bricks for the houses of the gods. During the first 
period of Babylonian history rudely formed with the hand, 
small in size, flat on the lower and slightly rounded on the 
upper side, which generally also bears one or more thumb 
marks, these bricks looked more like rubble or quarry 
stones, in imitation of which thev were made, than the arti- 
ficial products of man. Graduallv thev became larger in 
size, and under Ur-Nina they frequently have even a short 
inscription in coarse linear writing on the upper surface. 
But still they continued to retain their oblong plano-con- 
vex torm dovyn to the reign of Kntemena, the great-grand- 
son of the former, who was the first ruler at Lagash to em- 
ploy a rectangular mould in the manufacture of his building 
material. As we learned from the results of the Phila- 
delphia expedition to Nuftar, later confirmed bv De Sarzec's 
own discoveries at Tello, the principle of the arch was 
vyell known in the earliest times and occasionally applied in 


connection with draining. There is much in favor of 
Heuzey's view that the origin of the arch may possibly 
be traced to the peculiar form of the native reed-huts 
called sari/as by the Arabs of modern Babylonia (comp. 
the illustration on p. i6o). They are the regular dwelling 
places of the poor Ma'dan tribes which occupy the marshy 
districts of the interior to-day, and they doubtless represent 
the earliest kind of habitation in the " country of canals and 
reeds " at the dawn of civilization. The common mortar 
found in the buildings of the lowest strata is bitumen (comp. 
Gen. II : 3), which was easily obtained from the naphtha 
springs of the neighboring regions, while at least three dif- 
ferent kinds of cement were employed in later centuries 
(comp. p. 32, above). 

Vessels of different shapes and sizes were made of terra- 
cotta and stone, sometimes even of shell handsomely deco- 
rated. It is a remarkable fact that in material, form, and 
technique the earliest Babylonian vases often strikingly re- 
semble those found in the tombs of the first dynasties of 
Egypt. A kind of veined limestone or onyx geologically 
known as calcite appears as a specially favorite material in 
both countries. The art of melting, hardening, casting, and 
chasing metals, especially copper and silver, was well estab- 
lished. The chemical analysis of early metal objects by the 
late Dr. Helm^ has recently shown that the ancient Baby- 
lonian brass founders who lived about 4000 b. c. used not 
only tin but also antimony, in order to harden copper and 
at the same time to render it more fusible. Statues and 
bas-reliefs are less graceful and accurate in their design 
and execution than realistic, sober and powerful through 
their very simplicity. In order to give more life and ex- 
pression to animals and men carved in stone or cast in 
metal, the eyes of such statues are frequently formed by 

1 Comp. Helm and Hilprecht in yerhandlufigen der Berliner anthropoid 
gischcn Gesellschaft, Feb. 16, 1 901, pp. i^j seqq. 


incrustation, the white of the apple of the eye being repre- 
sented by shell or mother of pearl and the pupil by bitu- 
men, lapis lazuli, or a reddish-brown stone. Red color is 
also sometimes used to paint groups of figures, which with 
an often surprising grace and fidelity to nature are incised 
in thin plates of shell or mother of pearl, in order to set 
them off better from the background,^ somewhat in the same 
manner as the Phenician artist of the sixth century treated 
the two inscriptions of Bostan esh-Shaikh (above Sidon) 
recently excavated by Makridi Bey for the Imperial Otto- 
man Museum.^ 

We do not know when writing (which, contrary to De- 
litzsch's untenable theory,^ began as a picture writing) was 
first introduced into Babylonia. About 4000 b. c. we find 
it in regular use everywhere in the country. Moreover, 
the single linear characters are already so far developed that 
in many cases the original picture can no longer be recog- 
nized. Only a few short inscriptions of the earliest histor- 
ical period, when writing was still purely pictorial, are at 
present known to us. The one is in the Archaeological 
Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, another in 
New York, a third in Paris. Owing to the scarcity of this 
class of inscribed stones, their precise date cannot yet be 
ascertained. They probably belong to the beginning of the 
fifth millennium. ' 

These first few conclusions drawn from the architec- 
tural remains, the sculptures, and inscriptions of the period 
of Ur-Nina, incomplete as the picture obtained thereby 

* A large number of such colored plates of mother of pearl obtained from 
Fara and other South-Babylonian ruins is in the possession of the present 

' Comp. Hilprecht in Deutsche' Lltteraturxe'ttung, Nov. 30, 1901, pp. 
3030, seq,; and in "Sunday School Times,'* Dec. 21, 1901, p. 857. 

' Comp. Delitzsch, Die Entstehutig des altesttn Schriftssstcrns, Leipzig, 



naturally is, will be sufficient for our present purpose to 
show that the civilization represented by his dynasty must 
be regarded as a very advanced stage in the gradual develop- 
ment of man, and that thousands of years of serious striv- 
ing and patient work had to elapse before this standard was 
reached. The political conditions in the country were by 
no means always very favorable to the peaceful occupations 
of its inhabitants, to the tilling of the ground, to the expan- 
sion of trade, to the advancement of art and literature. At 
the time of Ur-Nina, Babylonia was divided into a large 
number of petty states, among which now this one, now that 
one exercised a passing hegemony over the others. The 
three Biblical cities Erech, Ur, Ellasar (/. e.y Larsam), Nip- 
pur (probably identical with Calneh, Gen. lo : lo), Kish, 
Lagash, and a place written Gish-Khu^ the exact pronuncia- 
tion of which is not yet known, are the most frequently 
mentioned in the inscriptions of this remote antiquity. 
Every one of these fortified cities had its own sanctuary, 
which stood under the control of a patesi or " prince-priest." 
The most renowned religious centre of the whole country 
was Nippur, with the temple of Enlil or Bel, " the father of 
the gods,*' while for many years the greatest political power 
was exercised by the kings of Kish, a city " wicked of 
heart/' until Ur-Nina and his successors established a tem- 
porary supremacy of Lagash over the whole South. 

The last-named place consisted of several quarters or 
suburbs grouped around the temples of favorite gods and 
goddesses. Sungir, generally transliterated as Girsu, and pos- 
sibly the prototype of the Biblical Shinar (ny^ir? Gen. lo: 
lo; II : 2)*^ and of the Babylonian Shumer, which is only 
dialectically different from the former, was one of them, 

^ According to Scheil probably represented by the ruins of Jokha. 

^ Comp. Hilprecht, •' The Babylonian Expedition of the University of 
Pennsylvania,'* series A, vol. i, part 2 (1896), pp. 57, seq. ; and Radau, 
"Early Babylonian History,** New York, 1900, pp. 216, seqq. 


indeed the most important of all the quarters of the city. 
It furnished the new dynasty from its nobility and took 
the leading position in the fierce struggle against the power- 
ful neighbors and oppressors. Nin-Sungir, " the Lord of 
Sungir," was raised to the rank of the principal god, and 
his emblem — the lion-headed eagle with its outspread 
wings victoriously clutching two lions in its powerful talons ^ 
— became the coat of arms of the united city ^ and charac- 
terizes best the spirit of independence and bold self-reliance 
which was fostered in his sanctuary. 

According to all indications the dynasty of Ur-Nina was 
one of the mightiest known in the early history of Baby- 
lonia. The founder himself seems to have devoted his 
best strength and time to the works of peace. The numer- 
ous temples and canals received his attention, statues were 
carved in honor of the gods, and new storehouses con- 
structed to receive " the abundance of the country.'* Car- 
avans were sent out to obtain the necessary timber from 


foreign countries, and the walls of the city were repaired 
or enlarged in anticipation of future complications and 
troubles. It was, however, reserved to Eannatum, the most 
illustrious representative of the whole dynasty, to fight those 
battles for which his grandfather had already taken the 
necessary precautions. Like his ancestors he continued to 
develop the natural resources of the country by digging new 
canals and wiselv administering the inner affairs of his city. 
But, above all, he was great as a warrior, and extended the 
sphere of his influence far beyond the banks of the Shatt 
el-Ha'i and the two great rivers, bv defeating the armv of 
Klam, subduing Gish-khu^ carrving his weapons victori- 
ously against Krech and Ur, destroying the city of Az on 
the Persian Gulf, and crushing even the power of the kings 

^ Comp. the illustration (** Silver \'ase of Entemcna'*) facing p. 241, 
above, and what has been said on p. 23 ^ 

' Comp. Heuzcy, Les armoiries Chaldeenttes de Sirpourldf Paris, i 894. 


of Kish, the old suzerains and hereditary enemies of the 
princes of Lagash. 

More than once in my preceding sketch of De Sarzec's 
labors and results I have referred to his discovery of new 
fragments of the so-called " stele of vultures." This famous 
monument of the past, one of the most interesting art 
treasures unearthed in Tello, received its name from a flock 
of vultures which carry away the hands, arms, and decap- 
itated heads of the enemies vanquished and killed by Ean- 
natum and his soldiers. It was originally rounded at the top, 
about five feet wide and correspondingly high, and covered 
with scenes and inscriptions on both its faces. The represen- 
tations on the front celebrate King Eannatum as a great and 
successful warrior, while those on the reverse, so far as pre- 
served, are of a mythological character, showing traces of 
several gods and goddesses in whose names the battles w-ere 
fought, and who seem to be represented here as assisting 
their pious servant in the execution of his great and bloody 
task. The stele of vultures, which indicates a very decided 
progress in its style of art and writing as over against the 
more primitive monuments of Ur-Nina, was erected by 
Eannatum to commemorate his victory over the army of 
Gish-khiiy and his subsequent treaty concluded with Ena- 
kalli, patesi of the conquered city, whom he made swear 
never again to invade the sacred territory of Nin-Sungir nor 
to trespass the boundary established anew between the two 

During the early months of 1898 and 1900 De Sarzec 
conducted his last two campaigns at Tello. Little as yet 
has been published with regard to their results. Heuzey 
announced ^ that among the precious monuments obtained 
through the excavations of the tenth expedition (1898) 
there are the first inscribed bricks of Ennatuma I., brother 
and successor of Eannatuma, and two carved oblong plates, 

* In Comptes Rcndus, 1898, pp. 344-349. 


or slabs, of Naram-Sin, in slate and diorite, apparently 
intended as bases for small statues or some other kind of 
votive objects. Both slabs are provided with square holes 
in their centres and engraved with inscriptions of consider- 
able interest. We learn from the one legend that the con- 
quests of the last-mentioned powerful king, whose empire 
extended from the mountains of Elam to the boundarv 
of Kgypt, included the country of Armanu.^ The other 
makes us acquainted with a son and with a granddaughter 
of Naram-Sin, who served as a priestess of Sin, so that 
practically we now know four generations of the ancient 
kings of Agade. 

According to a personal communication from De Sarzec, 
his eleventh campaign, which lasted only twelve weeks, 
yielded no less than 4000 baked cuneiform tablets and frag- 
ments of the same general character as those described 
above, two exquisite new heads of statues in dolerite, and 
several other monuments of the period of Ur-Nina and his 
successors, the first description of which we must leave to 
the pen of Heuzey, the eloquent and learned interpreter of 
his friend's epoch-making discoveries in Southern Baby- 
lonia. The tablets have been studied very recently by 
Thureau-Dangin.- According to his information they con- 
tain several new governors {patesis) of Shir-pur-la from that 
obscure period which lies between the reigns of Naram-Sin 
(about 3750 B. c.) and Ur-Gur (at present read Ur-Kngur 
by the PVench scholar"), the probable founder of the later 
dynasty of Ur (about 2700 b. c). Thcv also give us an 
insight into the administrative machinery of the powerful 
kinG[dom of Ur, and are of especial importance for the long 
government of Dungi, son and successor of l,T-Gur, who 

^ Which can scarcely be >cparatcd from Ar-^^um mentioned v ^. 12, No. 6, 
4". Comp. Delitzsch, Wo la-^ d,i^ Pariidic:' ? Leipzig, 1881, p. 205. 
' Comp. Comptcs Rendus, 1902, session of Jan. 10, pp. 7~-<;4. 
• Z». r. p. 82, note 2. 


occupied the throne of his father for about half a century. 
They instruct us concerning many valuable chronological, 
historical, and geographical details, among other things 
furnishing almost definitive new proof for the theory that 
Dungi, " king of Ur, king of the four quarters of the 
world," and Dungi, " king of Ur, king of Shumer and 
Akkad," are one and the same person. 

Towards the middle of February, 1900, the French ex- 
plorer descended the Tigris for the last time, in order to 
reach Kud(t) el-*Amara and the scene of his activity on the 
eastern bank of the Shatt el-Hai. At the same time the 
present writer ascended the river, being on his way to Bagh- 
dad and to the swamps of the ^Afej. A heavy thunder- 
storm was raging over the barren plains of 'Iraq, and 
the muddy waters of the Tigris began suddenly to rise, 
greatly interfering with my progress, when the two steamers 
came in sight of each other. I stood on the bridge of 
the English " Khalifa," intently looking at the approaching 
Turkish vessel, which flew the French colors from the top 
of its mast. A tall figure could be faintly distinguished on 
the passing boat, leaning against its iron railing and eagerly 
scanning the horizon with a field-glass. A flash of light 
separated the thick black clouds which had changed day 
into twilight, and illuminated the two steamers for a mo- 
ment. I recognized the features of De Sarzec, the newly 
(1899) appointed minister plenipotentiary of France, who 
in an instant had drawn a handkerchief, which he waved 
lustily on his fast disappearing boat as a greeting of wel- 
come to the representative of the Philadelphia expedition. 
A month later a cordial and urgent invitation was received 
from the French camp near Tello. I still regret that at 
that moment my own pressing duties at the ruins of Nufiar 
did not allow of an even short visit to Southern Babylonia, 
and that consequently I missed my last chance of seeing 
De Sarzec in the midst of his trenches and directing his 
famous excavations in person. 


Towards the end of May we both were back in Bagh- 
dad, and for a whole week we met regularly at the hospi- 
table house of the American vice-consul, communicating to 
each other the results of our latest expeditions, discussing 
our new plans and dwelling with especial pleasure on the 
bright prospect of methodical explorations in the numerous 
ruins of Shumer and Akkad. Seated on the flat roof of 
our temporary abode, we used to enjoy the refreshing even- 
ing hours of a Babylonian spring, — over us that brilliant 
sky in the knowledge of which the early inhabitants of the 
country excelled all other nations, below us the murmuring 
waters of the Tigris which gradually expose and wash away 
the tombs of by-gone generations, carrying their dust into 
the realm of the god Ea, " the creator of the Universe," 
and far away into the ocean to the island of the blessed. 
De Sarzec himself looked exceedingly tired and frequently 
complained of chills and fever. When we finally separated, 
he took the direct route to the coast of the Mediterranean 
by way ot Der and Aleppo, while the present writer rode 
along the western bank of the Tigris and examined the 
ruins of Assyria and Cappadocia before he reached Europe 
at Constantinople. De Sarzec's hope of a speedv return to 
his Arabs and ruins was not to be realized. On May 30, 
1 90 1, at the age of sixty-four years, the great French 
explorer succumbed suddenly, at Poitiers, to a disease of the 
liver, which he had contracted during his long sojourn in 
the l^ast. Only a few weeks later his faithful companion, 
who so often had dwelt with him in the tents of the 
desert, assisting and encouraging him in the great task of 
his life, followed her husband on his last journev to "the 
land without return.'* 

The French government, fully recognizing the extraordi- 
nary importance of De wSarzec's work and the necessity of 
its continuation, has taken steps at an early date to resume 
the exploration of Tello, so gloriously initiated and for 


nearly a quarter of a century carried on by its own represen- 
tative. Great results doubtless will again be forthcoming. 
But significant and surprising as the success of future expe- 
ditions to this ancient seat of civilization may be, the name 
of De Sarzec, to whom science owes the resurrection of 
ancient Chaldean art and the restoration of a long forgot- 
ten leaf in the history of mankind, will always stand out as 
an illustrious example of rare energy, great intelligence, and 
indefatigable patience devoted to the cause of archaeology 
in the service and for the honor of his country. 



The exceptional terms and the wide scope of the firman 
granted to Sir Henry Layard in 1878, induced Hormuzd 
Rassam, then in charge of the British excavations in Assy- 
ria, to extend his operations at once to as many ruins as 
possible. In the interest of a strictly scientific exploration 
of the ancient remains of Asshur and Babel, this decision 
must be regretted, unless we regard the rapid working of new 
mines of antiquities and the mere accumulation of inscribed 
tablets the principal — not to say the only — object of 
archaeological missions to the countries of the Euphrates and 
Tigris. But whatever may be said against Rassam's strange 
methods, radically different from those of other recent Babv- 
Ionian explorers, and largely responsible for the irreparable 
loss of many important data necessary for a satisfactory re- 
construction of the topography and history of the different 
sites excavated bv him, he deserves credit for his extraordi- 
nary mobility and devotion to what he regarded his duty,^ 
and by which he was enabled to gather an immense number 
of cuneiform texts and to enrich the collections of the British 
Museum with many priceless treasures. 

^ Comp. Rassam, "Asshur and the Land of Nimrod," New York, 1897, 
p. 363. 


Towards the middle of February, 1879, he commenced 
his excavations of Babylonian mounds, which for more than 
three years ^ were carried on by native overseers under his 
general supervision. The first ruins to which he directed 
his attention were Babylon and Borsippa (El-Birs). Arab 
diggers, forming a secret and strong combination, were then 
engaged in extracting bricks from the walls and buttresses 
of Babil. As soon as they heard of the foreigner's inten- 
tions, they began to watch his movements with jealousy and 
suspicion. In order to protect himself against their unscru- 
pulous machinations, and at the same time to secure their 
confidence and assistance for his own operations, Rassam 
proposed to them to enter his service on the promise that 
all the plain bricks which might be unearthed should be- 
come their property. Naturally they agreed readily to an 
arrangement which gave them regular wages besides their 
ordinary share in the excavated building material. During 
the two or three months which, in the course of his Baby- 
lonian excavations, he could spend in the trenches near 
Hilla, he examined and followed the excavations of the 
Arab brick-diggers at Babil with undivided attention. No 
sooner had they struck four exquisitely built wells of red 
granite in the southern centre of the mound, than he 
hurried to the scene and uncovered them entirely. They 
still were 140 feet high, and communicated with an aqueduct 
or canal supplied with water from the Kuphrates. From the 
peculiarity of their material, which must have been brought 
from a great distance in Northern Mesopotamia ; from the 
fine execution of the enormous circular stones," which had 
been bored and made to fit each other so exactly that each 
well appeared as if hewn in one solid block ; from the nu- 
merous remains of huge walls and battlements built of kiln- 

^ Comp.' the summarv of Rassani's activity on Assvrian and Bab\ Ionian 
ruins given on p. 203, se't^., footnote. He ceased his excavations July, 1882. 
'^ Each stone was about three feet high. 


burned bricks, so eagerly sought by the Arabs ; from the 
commanding position of the whole lofty mound, — details 
which agreed most remarkably with characteristic features 
of the hanging gardens, as described by Diodorus and Pliny, 
— Rassam came to the conclusion that this great wonder of 
the ancient world could only be represented by Babil, a view 
first held by Rich, and for various additional reasons also 
shared by the present writer. 

On the assumption that the large basalt lion of the Qasr, 
so often mentioned by earlier explorers, must have flanked 
the gate of a palace in the days of the Babylonian monarchs, 
he searched in vain for " another similar monolith, which 
stood on the opposite side of the entrance." After cutting 
a few trial trenches into the centre of the mound, not far 
from the ruin where Mignan, Layard, and Oppert had left 
their traces, Rassam abandoned this unpromising site for 
other less disturbed localities in its neighborhood. 

As long as he employed workmen on the ruins of the 
capital of Amraphel and Nebuchadrezzar, he concentrated his 
efforts at the two southern groups of the vast complex, known 
under the names of 'Omran ibn *Ali and Jumjuma.^ Though 
succeeding as little as those who excavated there before him 
in finding large sculptured monuments, Rassam was amply 
repaid for his labors at the last-named place, by discovering 
a great many of the so-called contract tablets, left by private 
individuals, or forming part of the archives of business firms, 
among which the famous house of Egibi played a most pro- 
minent role. Unfortunately not a few of these documents 
crumbled to pieces as soon as they were removed, the damp 
soil in which they had been lying being impregnated with 
nitre. The first great collection of this class of tablets had 
come from the same mound in the winter of 1875-76, when 
Arab brick-diggers unearthed a number of clay jars filled with 
more than 3000 documents, which, shortly before his death, 

^ Conip. Map No. 2. 


George Smith had acquired for the British Museum. They 
all belonged to the final period of Babylonian history, to the 
years when for the last time Nabopolassar and his successors 
restored the glory of the great city on the Euphrates. Their 
contents revealed to us an entirely new phase of Babylonian 
civilization. We became acquainted with the every-day life 
of the different classes of the population, and we became wit- 
nesses of their mutual relations and manifold transactions. 
We obtained an insight into the details of their households, 
their kinds of property and its administration, their incomes 
and their taxes, their modes of trading and their various oc- 
cupations, their methods in irrigating and cultivating fields 
and in raising stocks, their customs in marrying and adopt- 
ing children, the position of their slaves, and many other 
interesting features of the life of the people. Above all, 
these tablets showed us the highly developed legal institu- 
tions of a great nation, thus furnishing an important new 
source for the history of comparative jurisprudence. There 
is scarcely a case provided against by the minute regulations 
of the Roman law which has not its parallel or prototype in 
ancient Chaldea. 

Valuable as all these small and unbaked tablets proved for 
our knowledge of the private life, the commercial intercourse, 
and the chronology of the time of the Chaldean and Persian 
dvnasties, thev did not constitute the entire harvest which 
Rassam could gather. There were other important docu- 
ments of a literarv and historical character rescued from the 
same vicinity. We mention only the broken cylinder of 
Cvrus containing the official record of the conquest of Baby- 
lon (539 B. c), and in its phraseology sometimes curiously- 
approaching the language of Isaiah.* 

^ Comp. chaps. 44 (end) and 49 with my remarks on PI. 33 of the 
** New Gallery of Illustrations*' in Holman's ** Selt-pronouncing S. S. 
Teachers' Bible," Philadelphia, 189-. According to Ra>sam's own state- 
ment (/. r., p. 267), the cylinder of Cyrus was not found in the ruins of 


Rassam's excavations, conducted at the foot of El-Birs 
and in the adjoining mound of Ibrahim el-Khalil, which 
doubtless conceals some of the most conspicuous buildings 
of ancient Borsippa, were likewise productive of good re- 
sults. A fine collection of inscribed tablets came from the 
latter ruin, while about eighty chambers and galleries of a 
large building were laid bare on the platform to the east of 
the stage-tower which in previous years had been partly ex- 
plored by Rawlinson. This unique complex, mistaken by 
Rassam for " another palace of Nebuchadrezzar,'' turned 
out to be nothing less than the famous temple of Ezida, 
sacred to Nebo, the tutelar deity of Borsippa. All the rich 
property of the god and his priests, with the many valuable 
gifts deposited by powerful kings and pious pilgrims, had 
been carried away long before. Heaps of rubbish, broken 
capitals and fallen pillars, interspersed with pieces of enam- 
elled tiles once embellishing its ceilings and walls, were all 
that was left of the former splendor. A small bas-relief, 
two boundary stones, an inscribed barrel cylinder, and the 
fragment of a heavy bronze threshold of Nebuchadrezzar, 
on the edge of which the first ^ six lines of a cuneiform legend 
had been wrongly arranged by an uneducated engraver, were 
the few antiquities of true Babylonian origin which, after 
infinite labor and pain, could be rescued from this scene of 

the Qasr, as asserted, f. g. by Hagen, Beitrage zur Assyriologie, vol. ii, 
p. 204, and Delitzsch, Babylon, 2d ed., Leipzig, 1901, p. 13, but in the 
mound of Jumjuma. 

^ There are remains of three cuneiform characters at the end of the broken 
edge, which is four inches thick, so that the inscription must have had at 
least nine lines. Properly speaking, the preserved portion of the inscription 
consists of two columns, three lines each. But by disregarding the sepa- 
rating line between the two columns on the tablet from which he copied, the 
scribe changed the six short lines into one column with three long lines. A 
picture of the threshold, which, in its present state, measures a little over five 
feet by one foot eight inches, was published by Rassam in his first report, 
"Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology/' vol. viii, p. 188. 


Utter devastation. But the well-preserved terra-cotta cylin- 
der proved of exceptional value in giving us the brief history 
of the final restoration of Nebo's renowned sanctuarv, in 
270 B. c, by Antiochus Soter, " the first-born son of Seleu- 
cus, the Macedonian king." So far as our present know- 
ledge goes, it is the last royal document composed in the 
Old-Babylonian writing and language. 

There are many important finds connected with the name 
of Rassam as an Assyrian and Babylonian explorer. The 
discovery of Ashurbanapal's north palace, with its library and 
art treasures at Qoyunjuk, and the unearthing of Shalman- 
eser's bronze gates at Balawat, will alone suffice to keep his 
memory fresh forever in the history of Assyrian excavations. 
But among all the remarkable results which through his skill 
and energy he wrested from the soil of Babylonia there is 
none greater and more far-reaching in its bearings upon the 
whole science of Assyriology than his identification and par- 
tial excavation of the site of Sippara. Every trace of this 
famous ancient city, in connection with Agade or Akkad 
(Gen. 10 : 10), so often mentioned in the cuneiform literature, 
and occasionally referred to even by classical writers, seemed 
to have vanished completely. Numerous attempts had been 
made to determine its ruins. Rassam himself had thought 
for a while of Tell Ibrahim, which Rawlinson identified with 
Cuthah ( 2 Kings 17: 24 ) ; others had hit upon Tell Shaisha- 
bar, about eighteen miles to the south of Baghdad ; others 
again were fully convinced that it was represented by Tell 
Sifaira, between the Nahr Msa and the l\uphrates ; while 
modern geographers inclined generally to place it at the 
present Musayyib. This only seemed certain, that the city 
must have been situated in Northern Babylonia, not far 
trom the banks of the luiphrates. George Smith was the 
first to propose the ruins of Abu Hahba as its probable site. 
They extend to the south of the Nahr el-Malik (the Naar- 
malcha of Pliny), to-dav more commonly called the Nahr 


Yusuflye, about halfway between " the great river '* ^ and the 
caravan road which leads from Baghdad to Kerbelaand Hilla. 
Nobody, however, had apparently taken notice of his stray 
remark in the " Records of the Past," ^ and Rassam, unfa- 
miliar as he was with Assyriological publications, had surely 
never heard about it. He went to search for the site of the 
city in his own way. 

It was in December, 1880. After half a year's absence 
from the plains of 4raq el-'Arabi he had returned from 
Kurdistan and Mosul to superintend his excavations at 
Babylon and Borsippa in person, and to examine the dis- 
tricts to the north and south of them with a view of locat- 
ing other promising ruins for future operations. As soon 
as he had satisfied himself that in the immediate environ- 
ments of Hilla and El-Birs there was no ruin to tempt 
him, he proceeded northward by way of Tell Ibrahim and 
Mahmudiye, " bent upon visiting every mound in the neigh- 
borhood, and seeing if he could not hit upon the exact site 
[of Sippara] to the north of Babylon.*' Dissatisfied with 
the results of various trials to locate it, he finally had arrived 
and settled temporarily at Mahmudiye. The number of his 
workmen from Jumjuma, soon increased from the ranks of 
passing pilgrims and wayfaring loiterers, were ordered to dig 
at some of the principal ruins around the village. Mean- 
while he himself wandered from mound to mound, searching 
and hoping, only to be later disappointed. 

On previous occasions he had repeatedly heard of three 
other conspicuous le//s to the north and northwest of Mah- 
mudiye, called by the Arabs Kd-Der, Abu Habba, and 
Harqawi.^ His way from Baghdad to Hilla had often led 

^ From which thev are distant not more than four miles in a direct line. 
Comp. Rassam, ** Asshur and the Land of Nimrod,*' New York, 1897, 
p. 403. 

^ 1st ed., vol. V (London, i87>), p. 107, No. 56. 

■ Generally pronounced Hargawi in the modern dialect of the country, and 


him close by them. But as the peculiar topographical and 
atmospheric conditions of Babylonia render it extremely 
difficult to judge the height of a mound correctly from a 
distance, or to distinguish it from the huge embankments 
of the numerous canals which intersect the alluvial plain 
everywhere, Rassam had never paid much attention to the 
stories of the natives. This time, however, his interest was 
suddenly aroused. We quote from his own account : " One 
day, on returning to my host's house at Mahmudiye, his 
brother, Mohammed, showed me a fragment of kiln-burnt 
brick with a few arrow-headed characters on it, which he said 
he had picked up at the ruins of Der when he was returning 
from a wedding to which he had been invited. I no sooner 
saw the relic than I began to long for a visit to the spot, 
and I lost no time the next day in riding to it. It happened 
then that the Euphrates had overflowed its banks, and the 
Mahmudiye Canal, which is generally dry nine months in 
the vear, was running and inundating the land between Der 
and the village of Mahmudiye; the consequence was we 
had to go a round-about way to reach that place. We had 
first to pass the Sanctuary of Seyyid ^-Vbdallah, the reputed 
saint of that country, situated about six miles to the north- 
west of Mahmudiye ; and we then veered to the right and 
proceeded to Der in an easterly direction. In about half 
an hour's ride further, we came to an inclosure of what 
seemed to me an artificial mound, and on ascending it I 
asked mv guide if that was the ruin in which he had picked 
up the inscribed brick. He replied in the negative, but 
said that we were then at Abu Habba, and Der was about 
an hour further on. I could scarcely believe mv eves on 
looking down and finding everything under mv horse's feet 

situated to the west of Abu Habba, while Ed-Dcr is found to the northeast 
of the latter. Here, as well a- in passages where I quote literali}- from Ras- 
sam, I have quietly changed his wretched >pellings of Arabic and I'urkish 
names in accordance with a more scientific method. 


indicating a ruin of an ancient city; and if I had had any 
workmen at hand I' would have then and there placed two 
or three gangs to try the spot. I was then standing near a 
small pyramid situated at the westerly limit of the mound, 
which I was told contained a golden model of the ark in 
which Noah and his family were saved from the Deluge, 
and that the second father of mankind had it buried there 
as a memorial of the event," — apparently a faint and dis- 
torted reminiscence of the old Babylonian tradition pre- 
served by Berossos, and according to which before the great 
flood Xisouthros (/. e.y Noah), by order of his god, buried 
the tablets inscribed with " the beginning, middle, and end 
of all things," at Sippara. 

Though rising scarcely more than thirty to forty feet 
above the desert, the ruins of Abu Habba are of consid- 
erable extent. Except on the western side, where the coni- 
cal remains of the stage-tower are situated near a dry branch 
of the Euphrates, they are surrounded by large walls, which 
on the northwest and northeast are almost perfect. The 
rectangular parallelogram thus formed encloses an area of 
more than 1,210,000 square yards,^ or about 250 acres, 
its longest side measuring more than 1400 yards. Only the 
third part of this whole space is occupied by an irregular 
conglomeration of mounds which conceal what is left of the 
ancient city. As soon as Rassam had taken a hasty survey 
of the prominent site, he lost no time in making the neces- 

^ The 3500 square yards given by Rassam (*' Asshur and the Land of 
Nimrod," New York, 1897, p. 399) for the whole area are an evident mis- 
take, the temple mound alone being considerably larger. The measurements 
quoted above are based upon my own calculations in connection with a per- 
sonal visit to the ruins. They were recently confirmed by Scheil, who kindly 
sent me the following statement before the final proof was passed : ** The 
enclosure of Sippar is 1300 meters [1422 yards] long, and 800 m. [875 
yards] wide. The temple enclosure is about 400 m. [437 yards] square." 
In other words the temple area represents about 190,969 square yards, or 
nearly 39 J acres. 


sary preparations for immediate excavations. No Arab 
encampment being anywhere near the ruins, he established 
his headquarters at Seyyid 'Abdallah, where the guardian 
of the sanctuary and his near relatives lived in peaceful 

Operations were commenced near the pyramid in January, 
1881. On the very first day the workmen dug up pieces 
of a barrel cylinder and fragments of inscribed bricks and 
bitumen. A little later they came upon the wall of a cham- 
ber which presented all the characteristic features of true 
Babylonian architecture. Soon afterwards they discovered 
similar rooms in different parts of the same mound. There 
could be no longer any doubt ; Rassam had struck a large 
ancient building of great interest and importance. En- 
couraged by this rapid success of the first few days, he 
prosecuted his researches with redoubled energy. As he 
proceeded with his work, he entered a chamber which at- 
tracted his curiosity at once. Contrary to his previous 
experience, it was paved with asphalt instead of marble or 
brick. He ordered his men to break through the pavement 
and to examine the ground below. They had scarcely begun 
to remove the earth at the southeast corner, when three feet 
below the surface they discovered an inscribed terra-cotta 
trough or box closed with a lid. Inside lava marble tablet, 
eleven inches and a half long by seven inches wide, broken 
into eight pieces, but otherwise complete. It was covered 
with six columns of the finest writing, and adorned with a 
beautiful bas-relief on the top of the obverse. The subject 
represented is the followinir : A god seated in his shrine 
is approached bv two priests and a worshipper, who is proh- 
ablv the king himself. The three persons stand before the 
disk of the sun, placed upon an altar and held with ropes by 
the two divine attendants ot Shamash, Malik and Bunene, 
who, according to Babvlonian mvthologv, as guides direct 
the course of the fiery orb " covering heaven and earth 

EXPWHATJoys ly uiule lands 

with lustre."' The cuneiform legend in front of the sanctu- 
ary is identical with the label inscribed on each side of the 
box in which the tablet was placed, and serves as an 
explanation of the 
pictorial represen- 
tation ; "Image of 
Shamash [the Sun- 
god] , the great 
lord, dwelling in 
I'".habbara, situated 
in Sippar." The in- 
terpretation of the 
other two small !e- 
gendswritten above 
and below the roof 
of the shrine has 
offered considera- 
ble difficulty. They 
are evidently also 
labels which, in the 
briefest possible 
form, indicate im- 
portant and char- 
acteristic details of 
the golden image 
mentioned in the 
long inscription be- 
low, and of which 
the stone relief is a 
faithful reproduction. Similar to those found by Smith on 
clay tablets in the royal library of Nineveh,^ they are to be 

' Comp. iv R. lo. No. i, !, 4, and the beautiful hymn 10 the SuD-goJ, 
first published by Pinches, in the "Transactions of ihc Sodety of Biblical 
Arch oology," vol. viii, pp. 167, »fj. 

" Comp. p. 198, abgvc, and George Smiih, "Assyrian Discoveries," 3d 

Marble Tiblet of King Nabu-i 


regarded as instructions and explanations for the artist ^ who 
in days to come may be called upon to make another image. 
Two terra- cotta moulds/ showing all the details of our 
bas-relief, were found in the box with the stone tablet. The 

cd.. New York, 1 876, p. 411, se^^. Comp., also, Bezold, "Catalogue of the 
Cuneiform Tablets in the Kouyunjik Collecdon of the British Museum," vol. 
V (London, 1899), pp. xix and xxvii, 5. 

^ The upper inscription reads : Sh/, Shamash, Ishtar ina pu-ut apst ina 
bi-rit Stri ti-mi innadu (-u), /. f»f Sin, Shamash, and Ishtar (whose 
symbols are engraved below this inscription ) have been placed (on the golden 
image, or are to be placed on a new image that may be made ; the verbal 
form can be regarded as preterite or present tense) opposite the ocean (indi- 
cated at the lower end of the bas-relief by wavy lines ; comp., also, v R, 
63, col. ii, 5) between the snake (in the year 1887, when at the request of 
Dr. Hayes Ward I gave him my interpretation of this bas-relief at his house 
in Newark, 1 called his attention to the important fact generally overlooked, 
that the back and top of the shrine represents an immense snake, whose head 
can be clearly recognized over the column in front of the god) and the rope 
( = timmiy by which the altar and disk of the sun are suspended. But it is 
perhaps better to interpret ti-mi as a dialectical or inexact writing for di-mi^ 
intended for dimmi, "column," which we see immediately before the god 
supporting the roof of his house). 

The lower inscription, which stands as a label near the head-dress of the 
god, reads : agu Shamash, muJishi agi Shamash, which I interpret, tiara 
of Shamash, make the tiara of Shamash bright { masha — namaru, ii R, 
4", 58, and 59 c, f, here imperat. ii.^ This special order must be inter- 
preted in the light of the difficult passage, v R. 63, col. i, 43 to col. ii, 40, 
especially col. ii, 36-39, ** I made the golden tiara [of Shamash] anew 
and made it bright as the day " ). The Sun-god was the bringcr of light ; 
rays ot light therefore were supposed to go forth from his head and tiara, as 
they did from the head of Apollo on the coins of Rhodes. Even if mushshi 
he interpreted as a noun, it cannot refer to the wand and rod in the right 
hand ot Shamash, as has been supposed, hut it must refer to the tiara, of 
which then it possibly denotes a part, — a view supported by the fact that 
the two lines form but one label, and by the circumstance that in v R. 6^, 
C(/i. i, 43, seqq., Nabonidos gives a detailed description as to how a correct 
tiara of the Sun-god has to look. 

* One of them, together with a cylinder of Nabonidos, is in the Ottoman 
Museum at Constantinople. 


golden image, just referred to, was the work of King Nabu- 
apal-iddina. In connection with the pillaging of the tem- 
ple by Sutean hordes in a previous war, the old image of 
the god had been destroyed. All efforts to find a copy 
of the famous representation had proved in vain. Finallv, 
in 852 B.C., a terra-cotta relief^ was accidentally discovered 
on the western bank of the Euphrates, which enabled 
Nabu-apal-iddina to revive the ancient cult in its former 
glory. In order to secure its continuity, in case another 
national calamity should befall his country, the king had an 
exact copy of the original with explanatory labels carved 
at the top of his memorial tablet, which was buried in the 

In unearthing this stone, Rassam had discovered the fa- 
mous temple of Shamash and, at the same time, identified 
one of the earliest Babylonian cities. He stood in the very 
sanctuary in which Babylonian monarchs once rendered 
homage to the golden image of their god. In a room adjoin- 
ing the one just described, the fortunate explorer found two 
large barrel cylinders of Nabonidos in a fine state of preser- 
vation, and " a curiously hewn stone symbol . . . ending on 
the top in the shape of a cross,** and " inscribed with archaic 
characters.*' The text of these cylinders proved an historical 
source of the utmost importance. The royal archaeologist, 
to whom we are indebted for so many precious chronologi- 
cal data, delighted more in excavating ancient temples and 
reviving half-forgotten cults than in administering the affairs 
of his crumbling empire. Sippara, situated scarcely thirty 
miles to the north of Babylon, and renowned equally for its 
venerable cult and its magnificent library, naturally received 
his special attention. After a poetical description of the 

* Col. iii, 19, jf^, : usurti salmishu sjrpu sha khasbi, "the relief of his 
image in terra-cotta.** For sirpu sha khasbi, ** something in terra-cotta/* a 
terra-cotta relief, figurine, etc., comp. the verb sarapu, ** to bum, bake 
(bricks)," quoted by Meissner, Suppl. zu den Assyr, fVorterbuchrrn, p. 82. 


principal circumstances and events which led to the de- 
struction and his subsequent restoration of the temple of 
Sin at Haran, Nabonidos proceeds to inform us how the 
temple of Shamash, " the judge of heaven and earth/* had 
decayed in Sippar within less than fifty years after its repa- 
ration by Nebuchadrezzar. To the mind of the king there 
was onlv one reason which could account sufficiently for this 
alarming fact, — the displeasure of the god himself. His 
predecessor apparently had not followed the exact outline 
and dimensions of the oldest sanctuary, which, according to 
Babylonian conception,* must be strictly kept to insure the 
favor of the god and the preservation of his dwelling place 
on earth. Nabonidos, therefore, ordered his soldiers to tear 
down the walls and to search for the original foundation 
stone. F.ighteen cubits deep the workmen descended into 
the ground. After infinite labor and trouble the last Chal- 
dean ruler of Babylon succeeded in bringing to light the 
foundation stone of Naram-Sin, the son of Sargon of Agade, 
"which for 3200 years no previous king had seen," con- 
veying to us by this statement the startling news that this 
great ancient monarch lived about 3750 b. c, a date fully 
corroborated bv mv own excavations at Nuffar. 

No sooner had the rumor of Rassam*s extraordinary dis- 
cover)' spread in the neighboring districts than new diffi- 
culties were thrown in his way bv jealous property owners 
and intriguing individuals. But with his old pertinacity 
he held his own and stuck to the newly occupied field, the 
real value of which he had been the first to disclose. For 
eighteen months British excavations were carried on at 
Abu Habba without interruption. Rassam could remain 
at the ruins only the third part of all this time, — the expi- 
ration of the annual grant by the British Museum and his 
desire to have the old firman renewed as soon as possible 

' Comp. Hilprecht, jlssyriaaiy part I, Boston and Halle, 1894, pp. 54, 


requiring his journey to Europe. But, as usual, during his 
absences native overseers were entrusted with the continu- 
ation of the explorations under the general control of the 
British Resident at Baghdad. 

In the spring of 1882, after many fruitless efforts to 
obtain again those former privileges, which the awakened 
Turkish interest in archaeological treasures could concede 
no longer, he returned to Babylonia for the last time. As 
long as his permit lasted (till Aug. 16, 1882) he worked 
with all his energy, deepening and extending his trenches 
at Babil and Abu Habba, and despatching whatever was 
found to England. It was particularly the temple complex 
at the latter place upon which he concentrated his personal 
attention. According to his calculation, the chambers and 
halls buried here must have amounted to nearly three hun- 
dred, one hundred and thirty of which he excavated. Thev 
were grouped around open courts, and apparently divided 
into two distinct buildings enclosed by breastworks. The 
one was the temple proper, and the other contained the 
rooms for the priests and attendants. That King Nabo- 
nidos had not cleared away all the rubbish of the older 
structure, became very evident from the fact that Rassam 
found the height of the original chambers and halls to be 
twenty-five feet, while the asphalt pavement, in the room 
described above, and the floors of the adjoining chambers 
rested upon debris which filled half their depth. 

The number of inscribed objects and other antiquities 
rescued from the ruins of Abu Habba within the compara- 
tively short period of a year and a half is enormous. About 
60,000 inscribed clay tablets are said to have been taken 
from different rooms of the temple. Unfortunately they 
were not baked as those from Qoyunjuk ; and though Ras- 
sam did his best to save their contents by baking them 
immediately after their discoverv, thousands of them, stick- 
ing together or heaped upon one another, crumbled to 


pieces before they could be removed. For the greater part, 
these documents are of a business character, referring to 
the administration of the temple and its property, to the 
daily sacrifices of Shamash and other gods, to the weaving 
of their garments, the manufacture of their jewelry and ves- 
sels, the building and repairing of their houses, and to the 
execution of various orders given in connection with the 
worship of their images and the maintenance of their priest- 
hood. At the same time they make us acquainted with the 
duties and daily occupations of the different classes of temple 
officers and their large body of servants, with the ordinary 
tithes paid by the faithful, and with many other revenues 
accruing to the sanctuary from all kinds of gifts, from the 
lease of real estate, slaves, and animals, and from the sale 
of products from fields and stables. As tithes were fre- 
quently paid in kind, it became necessary to establish regu- 
lar depots along the principal canals, where scribes stored 
and registered everything that came in. Among the goods 
thus received we notice vegetables, meat, and other perish- 
able objects which the temple alone could not consume, and 
which, therefore, had to be sold or exchanged before they 
decayed or decreased in value. No wonder that apart from 
its distinct religious sphere the great temple of Shamash at 
Sippara in many respects resembled one of the great busi- 
ness firms of Babel or Nippur. 

Apparently the bulk of the temple library proper lies still 
buried in the ruins of Abu Habha. Yet among the tablets 
excavated bv Rassam there are manv of a strictly literarv 
character, such as sign-lists and grammatical exercises, astro- 
nomical and mathematical texts, letters, hymns, mythological 
frac^ments, and a new bilingual version of the Story of the 
Creation, which orii^inallv formed part of an incantation. 
I'he large monuments and artistic votive offerings deposited 
bv famous monarchs and other prominent worshippers in 
the temple of Shamash had mostly perished or been carried 



away. But numerous fragments of vases and statues en- 
graved with the names of Manishtusu and Urumush (Alu- 
sharshid), two ancient kings of Kish, the fine mace-head of 
Sargon I., the curious monument of Tukulti-Mer, king 
of Khana, the lion-head of Sennacherib, several well-pre- 
served " boundary stones/' including the so-called charter 
of Nebuchadrezzar I. (about 1130 b. c), and more than 
thirty terra-cotta cylinders bearing Sumerian or Semitic rec- 
ords of the building operations of Hammurabi, Nebuchad- 
rezzar II., Nabonidos, and other Babylonian and Assyrian 
rulers testify sufficiently to the high antiquity of the sanc- 
tuary and to the great renown in which it was held by 
natives and foreigners alike from the range of the Taurus 
to the shores of the Persian Gulf The proposed and much 
repeated identification of Sippara with the Biblical Sephar- 
vaim is, however, a philological and geographical ^ impossi- 

In accordance with his usual custom, followed in Assyria 
and elsewhere, Rassam cut trial trenches into other conspicu- 
ous mounds whenever he was in Babylonia. But from the 
nature of the ruins and the superficial character of his work, 
it was to be expected that they would be barren of results 
unless a fortunate accident should come to his assistance. 
The principal sites selected by him for such tentative oper- 
ations were the group of mounds called Dilhim,^ about ten 
miles to the south of Hilla, where he discovered a few in- 
scribed clay tablets ; the low but extensive ruins of El-Qreni,^"^ 

^ According to 2 Kings 18 : 34 ; 19 : 13 (comp. Is. 36 : 19 ; 37 : 13) 
Sepharvaim must have been situated not in Babylonia, but in Syria. Comp. 
Halevy in Journal AsiatiquCy 1889, pp. 18, seqq. ; Zeitschrift fur Assyria- 
logic y vol. ii, pp. 401, seq. 

2 Called by Rassam Daillum or Tell-Daillam ; comp. his ** Asshur and 
the Land of'Nimrod/' New York, 1897, pp. 265 and 347. 

8 Rassam, /. r., pp. 347, scq., where he spells the name Algarainee 
according to its modern pronunciation. 


about four miles to the north of Babil, where nothing but 
bricks indicated their Babylonian origin ; the numerous 
tells in the neighborhood of Mahmudiye mentioned above, 
especially Der,* which yielded only the common bricks of 
Nebuchadrezzar; and above all, the enormous ruins of Tell 
Ibrahim, about fifteen miles to the northeast of H ilia, with 
the nest of mounds situated to the southeast of it.**^ Under 
extraordinary deprivations caused by the absence of water 
and frequent sandstorms, several of his best gangs of work- 
men remained a month in the desert around Tell Ibrahim. 
But though they showed a rare energy and labored with all 
their might, opening no less than twenty different tunnels 
and trenches and penetrating deep into the mass of rubbish, 
nothing but stray bricks of Nebuchadrezzar, a few cunei- 
form tablets and terra-cotta bowls covered with Hebrew 
inscriptions had been brought to light when they finally 
quitted this inhospitable region. 

We cannot close this sketch of Rassam's archaeological 
work in Babylonia without referring briefly to his hasty visit 
to the southern districts of Mraq, which lasted from Feb- 
ruary 24 to March 13, 1879.^ The news of De Sarzec's 
secret proceedings at Tello had spread rapidly among the 
Arabs, and naturally reached the ear of Rassam immediately 
after his arrival at Baghdad, in the beginning of February, 
1879. A faithful and jealous guardian of British interests, 
as he proved to be during his long career in the Fast, 
he decided at once to examine those remarkable ruins in 
person with a view of occupying them, if possible, for his 
own government somewhat in the same manner as he pre- 
viously had obtained the palace of Ashurbanapal in the 
northern part of Qoyunjuk. His task seemed to be facili- 
tated bv the circumstance that De Sarzec had made his first 

' Rassam, /. r. , pp. 398, /<Yy. 

^ Rassam, /. t. , pp. 396, .uv^., 409, se^q. 

' Rassam, /. <. , pp. 2;* 2, jcqq. 


tentative excavations at Tello "without any firman from the 
Porte." No sooner had he therefore established his work- 
men, under native overseers, upon the ruins of Babylon and 
Borsippa, than he hurried back to Baghdad, descended the 
Tigris on a Turkish steamer as far as Kud(t) el-'Amara, and 
sailed through the Shatt el-Hai until he reached the object 
of his journey. But upon landing he found, to his conster- 
nation, that Tello was not within the sphere of British 
influence. Shortly before Sir Henry Layard had obtained 
his far-reaching permit for simultaneous excavations in the 
vilayets of Baghdad, Aleppo, and Wan, the Ottoman gov- 
ernment had reduced the large province of Baghdad in size 
by creating a new and independent pashalic with Basra as 
capital,* and including all the Turkish territory to the east 
and south of the Shatt el-Ha'i." For the time being Ras- 
sam had, therefore, no legal right to make any excavations 
at Tello. But having gone to the expense of a voyage 
thither, he did not intend to turn away from the ruins with- 
out having convinced himself whether " it would be worth 
while to ask the British ambassador at Constantinople to 
use his influence with the Porte, so that his license might 
be extended to that province." Accordingly he engaged a 

1 According to information obtained through the kindness of Dr. H. Gies, 
first dragoman of the German embassy in Constantinople, the military admin- 
istration of the kblemen was brought to an end in 'Iraq in 1243 (^Rumi-==: 
1827 A. D. ). Henceforth Basra was ruled by the Ottoman government 
directly through mutesarrifsy subject to the orders of the wali of Baghdad, 
or through independent walls. The first wali of Basra, appointed in 1875, 
was Nasir Pasha, the famous shaikh of the Muntefik(j). Comp. p. 218, above. 
In 1884 the province of Baghdad was again reduced in size by the creation of 
the vilayet of Mosul. For fiirther details, see Salname of Basra of the year 
I 309 {Hijra = I 307 Rumi). 

2 The line of demarcation is at Kud(t) el-Hai. Only generally speaking 
the Shatt el-Hai forms the natural boundary between the two vilayets, for cer- 
tain portions to the west of it, as, e. g., the ruins of Senkcre, and other smaller 
sites as far north as Durraji, belong to the southern vilayet of Basra. 


guide and some workmen, and walked for a few days every 
morning the three miles from the embankment of the canal 
to the site of Tello. The large statue in dolerite discov- 
ered and reburied by the French explorer had been exposed 
again by the Arabs after De Sarzec's departure in the pre- 
vious year. It naturally attracted Rassam's attention first. 
Having cleared it entirely, and taken a squeeze of its in- 
scription for the British Museum, he opened trenches in 
different parts of the ruins. Antiquities were often found 
almost directly below the surface. The very first day he 
came upon the remains of a temple [?] and discovered two 
inscribed door sockets of Gudea at its entrance. In another 
place he unearthed a large number of unbaked clay tablets, 
while still other trenches vielded several inscribed mace- 
heads in red granite, and many of those mushroom-shaped 
clay objects (phalli) with the names of Ur-Bau and Gudea 
upon them, in which the ruins of Tello abound. If Rassam 
had continued his researches one day longer in the highest 
mound and driven his trenches only two or three feet 
deeper, he could not have missed those fine statues in dole- 
rite which now adorn the halls of the Louvre. But kismet 
(fate) — to quote an Oriental phrase — was this time de- 
cidedlv against him. The threatening attitude of the Arabs 
in the neighborhood, the inclemency of the weather, and 
his own conscience, which told him that he was " carry- 
ing on his work under false pretences,'' drove him away 
from the ruins after three days' successful trial. He ex- 
pected to return later, as soon as he had managed to obtain 
the necessary permit from the Porte. But Dc Sarzec was 
on the alert and quicker of action than Victor Place. While 
Rassam was meditating and planning in Babylonia, the 
French representative took decisive steps at Paris and Con- 
stantinople which secured for his nation the much-coveted 
ruins of Tello, and through them those priceless treasures 
with which we have occupied ourselves in the previous 




Long after English and French pioneers had established 
and considerably developed the science of Assyriology, Ger- 
man scholars began to remember their obligations towards a 
discipline the seed of which was sown in the land of Grote- 
fend, and to occupy themselves seriously with those far- 
reaching researches which later were to find their strongest 
representation at their own universities. The first Assyrian 
courses delivered in Germany were given privately ^ at Jena, 
where Eberhard Schrader, appropriately called the father of 
German Assyriology, defended its principles and applied its 
results to the elucidation of the Old Testament Scriptures. 
His careful and critical examination of all that had been ac- 
complished in the past, and his successful repelling of Alfred 
von Gutschmid*s violent attack upon the very foundations 
of Assyrian deciphering, were the beginning of a great move- 
ment which soon led to the establishment of the Leipzig 
school of Assyriologists under Friedrich Delitzsch, and to 
the subsequent consolidation of the whole science by him 
and his pupils. The old loose and unsatisfactory manner 
of dealing with philological problems, to a large extent re- 
sponsible for the discredit in which Assyriological publi- 
cations were held in Germany, was abandoned, and exact 
methods and a technical treatment of grammar and lexico- 
graphy became the order of the day. Theories proclaimed 
and accepted as facts had to be modified or radically changed, 
and the interpretation of Assyrian and Sumerian cuneiform 
inscriptions was placed upon a new basis. 

Problems partly or entirely unknown to the older school 

^ According to direct information received from Professor Schrader, of Ber- 
lin, by letter, these courses were given in the summer of 1873, when Fried- 
rich Delitzsch attended his lectures on Genesis at the university, while at the 
same time he was introduced privately by him into the study of Assyrian. 


came up for discussion, and representative scholars from 
other nations began to participate in a thorough ventilation 
of the interesting subjects. The Sumerian question arose/ 
and with it a multitude of other questions. If one riddle 
was solved to-day, another more difficult presented itself to- 
morrow. Our whole conception of the origin and develop- 
ment of Assyrian art and literature, of the beginnings of 
cuneiform writing, of the historical position and influence 
of the primitive inhabitants of Babylonia, of the age and 
character of Semitic civilization in general, and of many im- 
portant details closely connected therewith seemed to be 
in need of a thorough revision. The Assyriological camp 
was soon split into factions, often fighting with bitterness 
and passion against one another. 

The extraordinary results of De Sarzec's epoch-making 
excavations at Tello furnished a mass of new material which 
was eagerly studied at once and essentially helped to extend 
our horizon. But important as their influence proved to 
be on the gradual solution of the Sumerian problem, on 
the clearing of our views on Babylonian art and civiliza- 
tion, and on the many other questions then under consid- 
eration, being felt alike in palaeography and philology, 
archaeology, history, and ancient geography, their greatest 
significance lies, perhaps, in the fact that they gave rise to 
the methodical exploration of the Babylonian ruins and 
kindled fresh enthusiasm for the organization and despatch 
of new expeditions. The statues in dolerite and the inscribed 
has-reliefs and cylinders from Tello had clearly shown that 
the ruins of Southern Babylonia conceal sculptured remains 
of fundamental value, and, moreover, that the period to 
which these discoveries lead us is considerably older than 
that which had been reached by the previous Assyrian cx- 

^ Started in 1874 ^V Professor J. Halevy of Paris. On the whole subject 
comp. \^'eissbach, Dit' Sumeriuhe Friige, Leipvzig, 1898, and Halevy, Le 
Sumtriim et P hiitoire Babylon it ri fit , Paris, 1901. 


cavations. Indeed, the marble slabs from the royal palaces 
of Dur-Sharruken, Calah, and Nineveh looked very recent 
when compared with the much-admired monuments of La- 
gash. All indications pointed unmistakably to the districts 
of the lower Euphrates and Tigris as the cradle of the earli- 
est Babylonian civilization. 

The first attempt at imitating De Sarzec's example was 
made in Germany. And though in the end it proved to be 
unproductive of great tangible results, and barren of those 
startling discoveries without which an expedition cannot com- 
mand the general support of the people, it was important, 
and a sure sign of the growing popularity of cuneiform 
studies in a land where only ten years previous even uni- 
versity professors kept aloof from the Assyriological science. 
Through the liberality of one man, L. Simon, who in more 
than one way became a patron of archaeological studies in 
Germany, the Royal Prussian Museums of Berlin were 
enabled to carry on brief excavations at two Babylonian 
ruins during the early part of 1887. These researches were 
in control of Dr. Bernhard Moritz and Dr. Robert Kol- 
dewey, faithfully assisted in the practical execution of their 
task by Mr. Ludwig Meyer, the third member of their mis- 
sion. Leaving Berlin in September, 1886, they reached the 
scene of their activity in the beginning of the following year. 
The mounds which were selected for operation are called 
Surghul and El-Hibba, distant from each other a little over 
six miles, and representing the most extensive ruins in the 
large triangle formed by the Euphrates, the Tigris, and 
the Shaft el-Ha'i. Situated in the general neighborhood of 
Tello, and about twenty miles to the northeast of Shatra, 
Surghul, the more southern of the two sites, rises at its 
highest point to almost fifty feet above the flat alluvial plain 
and covers an area of about 192 acres, while the somewhat 
lower mounds of El-Hibba enclose nearly 1400 acres. The 
excavations conducted at Surghul lasted from January 4 to 


February 26, those at El-Hibba from March 29 to May 
1 1, 1887. But in addition to this principal work in South- 
ern Babylonia, the expedition occupied itself with the pur- 
chase of antiquities and the examination of other mounds 
in *Iraq el-*Arabi, with a view to determine some of the more 
promising sites for future exploration. 

It soon became evident to the German party that a thor- 
ough examination of the enormous ruins was far beyond 
the time and means at their disposal. Under these circum- 
stances it was decided to confine themselves to ascertaining 
the general contents of the most conspicuous elevations 
by means of long trial trenches. When remains of build- 
ings were struck, their walls were followed to discover the 
ground-plans, while the interior of the chambers was searched 
for archaeological objects. Deep wells constructed of terra- 
cotta rings, which abound in both ruins, were, as a rule, 
exposed on one side in their entire length in order to be pho- 
tographed before they were opened. The results obtained 
from the different cuttings in the two sites were on the whole 
identical. The explorers found a large number of houses 
irregularly built of unbaked bricks, and intersected by long, 
narrow streets, which rarely were more than three feet wide. 
These edifices formed a verv respectable settlement at Kl- 
Hibba, where the passageways between them extended fully 
two miles and a half. As to size and arrangement the 
buildings varied considerably, some containing only a few 
rooms, others occupying a large space, — in one instance 
a house covering an area of 72^^ feet by nearly 51 feet, 
and containing 14 chambers and halls. The walls of most 
of these constructions had crumbled so much that gen- 
erally their lower parts, often only their foundations, re- 
mained, which could be traced without difficulty after an 
especially heavy dew or an exceptional shower. Character- 
istic of many of these houses are the wells mentioned above, 
which, according to Koldewey's erroneous view, doubtless 


abandoned since, were intended to provide the dead with 
fresh water. One of the buildings examined had no less 
than nine such wells, another eight, four of which were in 
the same room, which was only 2^}4 feet by about 8 feet. 

Wherever the mounds were cut, they seemed to contain 
nothing but remains of houses, wells, ashes, bones, vases, 
and other burial remains. Koldewey therefore arrived at 
the conclusion that both ruins must be regarded as " fire 
necropoles," dating back to a period " probably older than 
that of the earliest civilizations ; " that the houses were 
not dwelling-places for the living, but tombs for the dead, 
and that the whole mass of artificial elevations forms the 
common resting-place for human bodies more or less con- 
sumed by fire.^ 

There were two kinds of burial, "body-graves" and 
" ash-graves," thus styled by Koldewey in order to indi- 
cate the manner in which corpses were treated after their 
cremation ; for the characteristic feature of all these burials 
was the destruction of the body by fire previous to its final 
interment, though in later times the complete annihilation 
of the body by intense heat seems to have given way to a 
rather superficial burning, which in part degenerated to a 
mere symbolic act. The process " began with the levelling 
of the place, remains of previous cremations, if such had 
occurred, being pushed aside. The body was then wrapped 
in reed-mats (seldom in bituminous material), laid on the 
ground, and covered all over with rudely formed bricks, or 
with a layer of soft clay. The latter was quite thin in the 
upper parts, but thicker near the ground, so that as little 
resistance as possible was offered to the heat attacking the 
body from above, while at the same time the covering retained 

^ Comp. Koldewey, D/e altbabylonischen Graber in Surghul und El 
Hibba, in Zeitschrift fjir Ass'^riologie , vol. ii, 1887, pp. 403—430. To 
my knowledge no more complete report on these first German excavations in 
Babylonia has yet been published. 


the solidity necessary to prevent too early a collapse under 
the weight of the fuel heaped upon it." In order to con- 
centrate the heat, a kind of low oven was sometimes erected, 
**but, on the whole, it seems as though in the oldest period 
the complete incineration under an open fire was the rule." 

Weapons, utensils, jewelry, seal-cylinders, toys, food, and 
drink were frequently burned with the body, and similar 
objects were generally deposited a second time in the tomb 
itself, where the charred remains found their final resting- 
place. Which of the two methods of burial referred to above 
("body-graves" or "ash-graves") was chosen, depended 
essentiallv on the intensitv of the cremation. If considerable 
portions of the body were afterwards found to be untouched 
or little injured by the fire, the remains were left where they 
had been exposed to the heat ; in other words, the funeral pyre 
became also the grave of the dead person (so-called " body- 
grave"). If, on the other hand, the cremation was success- 
ful, and the body reduced to ashes or formless fragments, 
the remains were generally gathered and placed in vases or 
urns of different sizes and shapes, which, however, were often 
too small for their intended contents. In manv instances 
the ashes were merely collected in a heap and covered with 
a kettle-formed clav vessel. Burials of this kind, the so- 
called " ash-graves," are both the more common and the more 
ancient at Surghul and Kl-Hibba. The urns of ordinary 
persons were deposited anywhere in the gradually increasing 
mound, while the rich families had special houses erected 
for them, which were laid out in regular streets. It must 
be kept in mind, however, that cremation was practically the 
main part of the burial, the gathering of the ashes being more 
a non-essential act of piety. 

Frequent sandstorms and the heavy rains of the South- 
Babvlonian fall and spring must often have ruined whole 
sections of these vast cemeteries, and otherwise g^reatly inter- 
fered with the uniform raising of the whole necropolis. From 


time to time, therefore, it became necessary to construct large 
walls and buttresses at the edges of the principal elevations 
in support of the light mass of ashes and dust easily blown 
away; to level the ground enclosed; to cover it with a thick 
layer of clay, and to provide the houses of the dead with 
drains' to keep the mound dry and the tombs intact. The 
rectangular platforms thereby obtained were reached by 
means of narrow staircases erected at their front sides. 
Thus while most of these artificial terraces owe their origin 
to secondary considerations, the large solid brick structure 
of El-Hibba must be viewed in a somewhat different light, 
contrary to the theory of Koldewey, who is inclined to regard 
even this elevation as the mere substructure of an especially 
important tomb. It represents a circular stage-tower of two 
stories, resting directly on the natural soil, and in its present 
ruinous state still twenty-four feet high. The diameter of 
the lower story, rising 13 feet above the plain, is 410 feet, 
while that of the second story is only 315 feet. The 
entire building is constructed with adobes, and the second 
story, besides, encased with baked bricks laid in bitumen. 
The upper surfaces of both stories are paved with the same 
material to protect them against rain. Water was carried 
off by a canal of baked bricks, which at the same time 
served as a buttress for the lower story. Remains of a 
house and many of those uninscribed terra-cotta nails which, 

^ That the ** wells *' mentioned by Koldewey had this more practical pur- 
pose rather than to provide fresh water for the dead, becomes very evident 
from the fact that they are frequently constructed of jars with broken bottoms 
joined to each other, that the terra-cotta rings of which they are usually com- 
posed, like the top-pieces covering their mouths, are often perforated, and — 
apart from many other considerations — that in no case the numerous similar 
wells examined bv me at Nuffar descended to the water level. Real wxlls, 
intended to hold fresh water, doubtless existed in these two ancient cemeteries, 
but they are always constructed of baked bricks (arranged in herring-bone 
fashion in pre-Sargonic times), and have a much larger diameter than any of 
these terra-cotta pipes described by Koldewey. 


in large masses, were found at the base of the stage-tower 
at Nippur/ were observed on the upper platform. With 
the exception of its circular form, which, however, cannot 
be regarded as a serious objection to my theory, the solid 
brick structure of El-Hibba presents all the characteristic 
features of a ziggurrat^ with which I regard it as identical,^ 
the more so because I have recently found evidence that, 
like the Egyptian pyramid, the Babylonian stage-tower (or 
step-pyramid) without doubt was viewed in the light of a 
sepulchral mound erected in honor of a god,^ and because it 
seems impossible to believe that a deeply religious people, 
as the early inhabitants of Shumer doubtless were, should 
have cremated and buried their dead without appropriate 
religious ceremonies, and should have left this vast necro- 
polis without a temple. It is certainly no accident that the 
only remains of pictorial representations in stone discov- 
ered in the course of the German excavations (part of a 
wing, fragments of a stool, and a pair of clasped hands) 
were unearthed at the foot of this structure, and near the 
second large elevation of El-Hibba — the only two places 
which can be taken into consideration as the probable 
sites for such a sanctuary. 

* Evidently they had fallen from a building once crowning its summit. 

'^ I am also ir.clined to sec a last reminiscence of the Babylonian xiggurrat 
in the meftul^ the charactcri>tic watch-tower and defensive bulwark of the 
present Ma'dan tribes of Central Babylonia. Notwithstanding the etymology 
of the Arabic word, a rntftulx^ seldom round (against Sachau, Am Euphrat 
und Tigris, Leipzig, 1900, p. 43, with picture on p. 45), but like the 
xiggurrat, generally rectangular, and from forty to eighty feet high. Almost 
without exception these towers arc built of clay laid up en masse. Throughout 
mv wanderings in Babvlonia I met with only one fine (rectangular ) .specimen 
constructed entirely of kiln-burnt bricks. It is situated on a branch of the 
Shatt cl-Kar, a few miles to the west from the ruins of Abu Hatab and 
Fara, which I recently recommended for excavations to the German Orient 

• Comp. my later remarks in connection with the resuh.s of the excavations 
at Nuffar, Fourth Campaign, Temple Mound, section 3. 



There can be no doubt that most of these tombs belong 
to the true Babylonian age. The entire absence of the slip- 
per-shaped coffin, which forms one of the most characteristic 
features of the Parthian and Sassanian periods, enables us 
to speak on this point more positively. On the other hand, 
the thin terra-cotta cups, in form very similar to a female 
breast, which Koldewey mentions,^ betray late foreign influ- 
ence. They cannot be older than about 300 b. c, and are 
probably somewhat younger, as they occur exclusively in the 
upper strata of Nufiar. It is more difficult to determine 
the time when these cemeteries came first into use. How- 
ever, the scattered fragments of statues and stone vessels of 
the same type and material as those discovered at Tello and 
Nufiar (near the platform of Sargon and Naram-Sin), the 
inscribed bricks and cones referred to by various explorers, 
the characteristic situation of the two mounds in the neigh- 
borhood of the first-named ruin, the peculiar form and small 
height of the ziggurrat^ the pre-Sargonic existence of which 
was recently proved by the present writer,^ certain forms of 
clay vessels which are regularly found only in the lowest 
strata of Nuffar, and various other reasons ^ derived also from 
the study of the inscriptions and bas-reliefs of Tello go far 
to show that the pyres of Surghul and El-Hibba already 
blazed when the Sumerian race was still in the possession of 
the country. 

^ Koldewey, /. c, p. 418. 

^ Comp. p. 232, above, note 2, 

' It is to be regretted that Koldewey did not give a description of the forms 
and sizes of the various bricks, which, as I have pointed out in my ** Old 
Babylonian Inscriptions chiefly from Nippur," part ii, p. 45, are a \tTy 
important factor in determining pre-Sargonic structures. The rudely formed 
bricks mentioned by him (comp. p. 284 above) point to the earliest kind of 
bricks known from Nuffar and Tello. 




The importance of the study of Semitic languages and lit- 
erature was early recognized in the United States. Hebrew, 
as the language of the Old Testament, stood naturally in the 
centre of general interest, as everywhere in Europe ; and the 
numerous theological seminaries of the country and those 
colleges which maintained close vital relations with them 
were its first and principal nurseries. But in the course of 
time a gradual though very visible change took place with 
regard to the position of the Semitic languages in the curric- 
ulum of all the prominent American colleges. The German 
idea of a university gained ground in the new world, finding 
its enthusiastic advocates among the hundreds and thou- 
sands of students who had come into personal contact with 
the great scientific leaders in Europe, and who for a while 
had felt the powerful spell of the new life which emanated 
from the class rooms and seminaries of the German univer- 
sities. Post-graduate departments were organized, independ- 
ent chairs of Semitic languages were established, and even 
archaeological museums were founded and maintained by 
private contributions. Salaries in some cases could not be 
given to the pioneers in this new movement. They stood 
up for a cause in which thev themselves fully believed, but 
the value of which had to be demonstrated before endow- 
ments could be expected from the liberal-minded public, 
rhey represented the coming generation, which scarcely now 
realizes the difficulties and obstacles that had to be overcome 
by a few self-sacrificing men of science, before the present 
era was successfully inaugurated. 

The study of the cuneiform languages, especially of Assy- 
rian, rapidlv became popular at the American universities. 
The romantic storv of the discoverv and excavation of 
Nineveh so graphically told by Layard, and the immediate 


bearing of his magnificent results upon the interpretation of 
the Old Testament and upon the history of art and human 
civilization in general, appealed at once to the religious sen- 
timent and to the general intelligence of the people. The 
American Oriental Society and the Society of Biblical Lit- 
erature and Exegesis became the first scientific exponents 
of the growing interest in the lands of Ashurbanapal and 
Nebuchadrezzar. The spirit of Edward Robinson, who 
more than sixty years before had conducted his fundamen- 
tal researches of the physical, historical, and topographical 
geography of Syria and Palestine, was awakened anew, and 
the question of participating in the methodical exploration 
of the Babylonian ruins, to which De Sarzec's extraordinary 
achievements at Tello had forcibly directed the public atten- 
tion, began seriously to occupy the minds of American 
scholars. " England and France have done a noble work 
in Assyria and Babylonia. It is time for America to do her 
part. Let us send out an American expedition," — was the 
key-note struck at a meeting of the Oriental Society which 
was held at New Haven in the spring of 1884. This 
suggestion was taken up at once, and a committee was con- 
stituted to raise the necessary funds for a preliminary ex- 
pedition of exploration, with Dr. W. H. Ward of " The 
Independent" as director. The plan was sooner realized 
than could have been anticipated. A single individual, Miss 
Catherine Lorillard Wolfe of New York, gave the $5CXX) 
required for this purpose, the Archaeological Institute of 
America took control of the undertaking, and on Sep- 
tember 6 of the same year Dr. Ward was on his way to 
the East. His party consisted of Dr. J. R. S. Sterrett, now 
professor of Greek in Amherst College, Mr. J. H. Haynes, 
then an instructor in Robert College, Constantinople, who 
had served as photographer on the Assos expedition, and 
Daniel Z. Noorian, an intelligent Armenian, as interpreter. 
Before the four men could enter upon their proper task. 


Dr. Sterrett fell seriously ill on the way, so that he was 
obliged to remain at Baghdad. The others left the city of 
Harun ar-Rashid on January 12, and devoted nearly eight 
weeks to the exploration of the Babylonian ruins to the 
south of it. After a hurried visit to Abu Habba, Babylon, 
and El-Birs, they struck for the interior, and on the whole 
followed in the wake of Frazer and Loftus. Though, like 
the former, at times suffering severely from lack of proper 
food and water and from exposure to cold and rain, they 
executed their commission of a general survey of the coun- 
try in a satisfactory manner, as far as this was possible within 
the brief period which they had set for themselves. They 
examined most of the principal sites of *Iraq el-*Arabi 
down to Kl-Hibba and Surghul, Tello, and Muqayyar, re- 
corded numerous angular bearings from the various mounds, 
took photographs and impressions of antiquities whenever 
an opportunity presented itself,^ and worked diligently to 
gather all such information as might prove useful in con- 
nection with future American excavations in the plains of 
Shumer and Akkad. Upon his return, in June, 1885, Dr. 
Ward submitted a concise " Report on the Wolfe Expe- 
dition to Babylonia'* to the Institute which had sent him, 
and continued in many other ways to promote the archaeo- 
logical interests of his country.' But it seemed as if the 

^ We thus owe our only knowledge of one of the earliest Babylonian in- 
fcriptions to a photograph taken by Dr. Ward at Samawa on February 17, 
1885, and soon afterwards puhli>hcd by him in the ** Proceedings of the 
American Oriental S<xiety,*' October, 188^. This legend was engraved 
upon a stone, in the possession ot Dr. A. Blau, a German, who had for- 
merly served as a surgeon in the Turkish army, but was then engaged in 
trade at Samawa. All traces of the important monument have since been 

- His •* Report*' appeared in the ** Papers of the Arch:i?ological Institute 
of America," Boston, 1886. Comp. ** The Wolfe Expedition,*' by the 
same author, in "Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis," 
June to December, 1885, pp. 56-60, and his article ** On Recent Explo- 


public at large was not yet prepared to contribute money 
for excavations in an unsafe foreign country, however closely 
connected with the Bible. Moreover, with the despatch of 
this preliminary expedition, the original committee of the 
Oriental Society very evidently regarded the work for which 
it was called together as finished, and accordingly passed 
out of existence. 

Among the Semitic scholars who in 1884 had met at 
New Haven to discuss the feasibility of independent Amer- 
ican explorations in different sections of Western Asia, Rev. 
Dr. John P. Peters, Professor of Hebrew in the Episcopal 
Divinity School of Philadelphia, had been especially active 
in promoting that first expedition and in raising the funds 
required for it. He and others had quietly cherished 
the hope that the lady who so generously defrayed all the 
expenses of Dr. Ward's exploring tour would also take a 
leading part in future archaeological enterprises of the coun- 
try. But for some reason or other their well-founded expec- 
tations were doomed to disappointment.' If, therefore, the 
former comprehensive scheme of starting American excava- 
tions in one or more of the recommended Babvlonian sites 
was ever to be realized, it became necessary above all things 
to arouse greater interest among the religious and educated 
classes of the people by public lectures on Semitic and 
arch^ological topics, and to make especial efforts to win the 
confidence and cooperation of public-spirited men of influ- 
ence and wealth, on whose moral and financial support the 

rations in Babylon '* in "Johns Hopkins University Circulars,'* No. 49, 
May, 1886. A large portion of Dr. Ward's abridged diary was published 
by Dr. Peters in «* Nippur," vol. I, appendix F, pp. 318-375. 

^ This circumstance is mentioned especially, because as late as 1900 Mr. 
Heuzey, director of the Oriental Department of the Louvre and editor of the 
monuments from Tello, assigns the origin of the Nuffar expedition of the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania to a legacy left by Miss Wolfe to that institution 
for excavations in Babylonia. Comp. De Sarzec and Heuzey, Une l^ille 
Royaie Chaldeefine, Paris, 1 900, pp. 3 i seq. 


practicability of the intended undertaking chiefly depended; 
for direct assistance from the United States government 
was entirely out of the question. Such courses were given 
in the University of Pennsylvania in the winter of 1886— 

But where could a sufficient number of enlightened men 
and women be found who had the desire and courage to 
engage in such a costly and somewhat adventurous enterprise 
as a Babylonian expedition at first naturally must be, as long 
as there were more urgent appeals from churches and 
schools, universities and museums, hospitals and other char- 
itable institutions, which needed the constant support of 
their patrons, and while there were plenty of scientific enter- 
prises and experiments of a more general interest and of 
more practical value with regard to their ultimate outcome 
constantly carried on immediately before the eyes of the pub- 
lic at home ? Indeed, the prospect for excavations in the re- 
mote and lawless districts of the Euphrates and the Tigris 
looked anything but bright and encouraging.. It was finally 
Dr. Peters' patient work and energy which secured the neces- 
sary funds for the first ambitious expedition to Babylonia 
through liberal friends of the University of Pennsylvania, 
where a short while before (1886) he had been appointed 
Professor of Hebrew, while the present writer was called to 
the chair of Assyrian. 

The university was then ably managed by the late pro- 
vost. Dr. William Pepper, a man of rare talents, exceptional 
working power, and great personal magnetism, under whom 
it entered upon that new policy of rapid expansion and sci- 
entific consolidation which under his no less energetic and 
self-sacrificing successor, Dr. C. C. Harrison, brought it 
soon to the front of the great American institutions of learn- 
ing. The remarkable external growth of which it could 
boast, and the spirit of progress fostered in its lecture halls 
were, to a certain degree, indicative also of the high appre- 


ciation of scholarship and original investigation on the part 
of the educated classes of the city in which it is situated. 
It will therefore always remain a credit to Philadelphia that 
within its confines a small but representative group of gen- 
tlemen was ready to listen to Dr. Peters* propositions, 
and enthusiastically responded to a call from Mr. E. W. 
Clark, a prominent banker and the first active supporter of 
the new scheme, to start a movement in exploring ancient 
sites under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania 
which is almost without a parallel in the history of archae- 
ological research. The immediate fruit of this unique 
demonstration of private citizens was the equipment and 
maintenance of a great Babylonian expedition, which has 
continued to the present day at a cost of more than 
1 1 00,000, and which was soon followed by the organization 
or subvention of similar enterprises in Kgypt, Asia Minor, 
North and Central America, Italy and Greece. It has well 
been stated that no city in the United States has shown an 
interest in archaeology at all comparable with that displayed 
by Philadelphia within the last fifteen years. 

The history and results of this Babylonian expedition of 
the University of Pennsylvania will be set forth in the fol- 
lowing pages. Its work, which centred in the methodical 
exploration of one of the earliest Babylonian cities, the 
ruins of Nuffar, the Biblical Calneh (Gen. 10: 10), was no 
continuous one. Certain intervals were required for the 
general welfare and temporary rest of its members, for 
replenishing the exhausted stores of the camp, and, above 
all, for preparing, studying, and, in a general way, digesting 
the enormous mass of excavated material, in order to secure 
by preliminary reports the necessary means for an early 
resumption of the labors in the field. For as to the wealth 
of its scientific results, this Philadelphia expedition takes 
equal rank with the best sent out from England and France, 
while it eclipses them all with regard to the number and 


character of the inscribed tablets recovered. Four distinct 
campaigns were conducted before those priceless treasures 
of literature and art which are now deposited in the two 
great museums on the Bosphorus and the Schuylkill could 
be extracted from their ancient hiding places. 

Each had its own problem and history, its special difficul- 
ties and disappointments, but also its characteristic and con- 
spicuous results. The work of the first expedition {i888-8g) 
was on the whole tentative, and gave us a clear conception 
of the grandeur of the task to be accomplished. It included 
an accurate survey of the whole ruins, the beginning of sys- 
tematic excavations at the temple of Bel, the discovery of a 
Parthian palace, and the unearthing of more than two thou- 
sand cuneiform inscriptions representing the principal periods 
of Babylonian history, and including numerous tablets of the 
ancient temple library. The second [188^-^0) continued in 
the line of research mapped out by the first, explored the 
upper strata of the temple, and by means of a few deep trial 
trenches produced evidence that a considerable number of 
verv ancient monuments still existed in the lower parts 
of the sacred enclosure. It resumed the excavation of 
the Parthian palace, discovered important Cassite archives, 
and acquired about eight thousand tablets of the second and 
third pre-Christian millenniums. The third [iSgj-()6) also 
directed its chief attention to the temple mound, but at the 
same time made a successful search for inscribed monu- 
ments in other sections of the ruins, gathering no less than 
twenty-one thousand cuneiform inscriptions largely frag- 
mentary. It removed the later additions to the stage-tower; 
revealed the existence of several platforms and other impor- 
tant architectural remains in the centre of the large mound, 
thereby enabling us to fix the age of its different strata with 
great accuracy ; it excavated three sections of the temple 
court down to the water level, and discovered the first well- 
preserved brick arch of pre-Sargonic times (about 4000 b. c). 


with numerous other antiquities, including the large torso of 
an inscribed statue in dolerite of the period of Gudea, and 
over five hundred vase fragments of the earliest rulers hf the 
country. The fourth expedition {18^8-1^00) was the most 
successful of all. It explored the Parthian palace completely, 
and examined more than one thousand burials in various 
parts of the ruins. It proved that, contrary to former asser- 
tions, the upper strata of the temple complex did not belong 
to the Babylonian period proper, but represented a huge Par- 
thian fortress lying on the top of it. It definitely located 
the famous temple library of Nippur, from which thousands 
of tablets had been previously obtained, and in addition 
to many other inscribed objects, like the votive table of 
Naram-Sin, a large dolerite vase of Gudea, etc., it excavated 
about twenty-three thousand tablets and fragments, mostly of 
a literary character. Above all it endeavored to determine 
the extent of the pre-Sargonic settlement, discovered a very 
large ancient wall below the level of the desert in the south- 
western half of the ruins, exposed nearly the whole eastern 
city wall, ascertaining the different periods of its construction 
and uncovering the earliest remains of its principal gate 
deeply hidden in the soil of the desert. It traced the ancient 
southeast wall of the inner temple enclosure, found its origi- 
nal chief entrance in a tolerably good state of preservation, 
ascertained the precise character of Bel's famous sanctuary, 
and demonstrated by indisputable facts that the ziggurrat, 
the characteristic part of every prominent Babylonian tem- 
ple, does not go back to Ur-Gur of Ur, about 2700 b. c, 
but was a creation of the earliest Sumerian population. 

It is evident from a mere glance at this summary of the 
total results obtained that they cannot be fully compre- 
hended if treated exclusively under the head of each single 
campaign. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that a 
certain feeling of justice towards the various members of 
the expedition, who worked under different conditions and 


served at different times, render a separate treatment of the 
origin and history of every campaign almost imperative. 
We therefore propose first to relate the history and pro- 
gress of the four campaigns in their natural order, and after- 
wards to sketch their principal results — due as much to the 
extraordinary efforts of the subscribers and the careful watch- 

fulness and directions of the committee at home as to the 
faithful services and self-denying spirit of those in the field 
— in their mutual relation to each other, and chiefly from a 
topographical point of view. 


First Campaign^ i8S8-8g. The meeting at which Dr. 
Peters submitted his plans to the public was held at the 
house of Provost Pepper on November 30, 1887. About 
thirty persons were present, including Dr. Ward, the pre- 
vious leader of the Wolfe Expedition, and Professor Hil- 
precht, as the official representative of Assyriology in the 
University of Pennsylvania. Both had been invited by 
the chairman to express their respective views with regard 
to the contemplated undertaking. In the course of the 
discussion it became more and more apparent that the en- 
thusiastic originator of the new scheme and the present 
writer diflfered essentially from each other on fundamental 
questions. On the basis of Dr. Ward's recommendation, the 
former declared in favor of a large promising site, like Anbar, 
Nufl^ar, El-Birs, etc., as most suitable for the Philadelphia 
excavations. He proposed that the staff of the expedi- 
tion should consist of four persons, a director, a well-known 
Assyriologist, formerly connected with the British Museum, 
and the photographer and the interpreter of the Wolfe Expe- 
dition ; and he estimated the total expense for a campaign 
of three consecutive years, as previously stated by him, at 
:? I 5,000. The present writer, on the other side, pointed out 


that while he fully agreed with Dr. Peters as to the impor- 
tance of either of the proposed mounds* for archaeological 
research, especially of NufFar, so frequently and prominently 
mentioned in the earliest cuneiform inscriptions, he never- 
theless felt it his duty to affirm that none of these extensive 
mounds could be excavated in the least adequately within 
the period stated, and that, moreover, according to his own 
calculations, even a small expedition of only four members 
and a corresponding number of servants and workmen 
would necessarily cost more in the first year than the whole 
sum required for three years.^ He furthermore called 
attention to the fact that the national honor and the 
scientific character of this first great American enterprise 
in Babylonia would seem to require the addition of an 
American Assyriologist and architect, and, if possible, even 
of a surveyor and a naturalist, to the proposed staff of the 

^ Notwithstanding all that has been said against Anbar (Persian, *« maga- 
zine, granary") as a Babylonian site, I still hold with Dr. Ward, on the 
ground of my own personal examination of the immense ruins and of the 
topography of that whole neighborhood, that long before the foundation of 
Peroz Shapur a Babylonian city of considerable importance must have ex- 
isted there. Traces of it would doubtless be revealed in the lower strata of 
its principal mounds. The mere facts that here the Euphrates entered Baby- 
lonia proper, that here the first great canal — on the protecdon of which the 
fertility and prosperity of an important section of the country depended — 
branches off, and that here a military station is required to complete the 
northern fortification line of the empire, — indicated by Tell Mohammed be- 
tween the Tigris and the Diyala (covering the remains of a palace of Ham- 
murabi, comp. p. 158, above), and *Aqarquf between the Tigris and the 
Euphrates (the ancient Dur-Kurigalzu, comp. pp. 38, sfg,, above), — forces 
us to look for the ruins of a Babylonian city on the site of Anbar, which re- 
presents the most important point on the whole northern boundary. 

^ At Dr. Pepper's request, I handed my own views to him in writing as 
to the composition, task, expenses, etc., of a Babylonian expedition on the 
morning following this meeting. This paper was returned to the writer 
shortly before Dr. Pepper's untimely death. The probable expenses of such 
an expedition with a staff of five or six persons was esdmated for the first year 
at Ji9,2oo. 


expedition. If, however, in view of a very natural desire 
on the part of the director and his financial supporters, the 
principal stress was to be laid on the rapid acquisition of 
important museum objects and inscribed tablets rather than 
on the methodical and complete examination of an entire 
large ruin, it would be by far wiser to select from among 
the different sites visited by Dr. Ward one which was 
somewhat smaller in size and considerably less super- 
imposed with the remains and rubbish of the post-Babylo- 
nian period than any of the ruins submitted for considera- 
tion.^ The results showed only too plainly that the view 
maintained by the present writer was correct, and that his 
objections, raised for the sole purpose of preventing unplea- 
sant complications and later disappointments with regard 
to " the white elephant,*' as the expedition was soon to be 
styled, were based upon a careful discrimination between 
uncertain hopes and sober facts. 

The same evening " The Babylonian Exploration Fund " 
was called into existence, about half of the sum requested 
($15,000) subscribed, and an expedition with Dr. Peters as 
director recommended. On March 17, 1888, the organi- 
zation of the new corporation was completed by the elec- 
tion of Provost Pepper as president, Mr. K. W. Clark as 
treasurer, and Professor Hilprecht as secretary." Dr. 

^ I had in mind a ruin of the type of Fara (recently recommended by me 
to the German Orient Society tor similar consideration, comp. Mittheilun- 
^t-f/f no. 10, p. 2 ), where the pre-Sargonic stratum reaches to the very sur- 
face of the mound. 

- The whole Executive Committee consisted of fifteen members, including 
the three officers mentioned and the director of the expedition. The other 
members were Messrs. C. H. Clark (chairman of the Publication Commit- 
tee), W. \V. Frazier, C. C. Harrison (the present provost), Joseph D. 
Potts (t), Maxwell Sommerville, H. Clay Trumbull, Talcott Williams, 
Richard Wood, Stuart \^'ood, of Philadelphia ; Professor Langley, of the 
Smithsonian Insutute, \^'a^hington ; and Professor Marquand, of Princeton 


Peters was confirmed as director, but the general plan pre- 
viously outlined by him was somewhat modified in accord- 
ance with the writer's suggestions. Upon the director's 
recommendation, Dr. Robert Francis Harper, then in- 
structor in Yale University, was appointed Assyriologist,^ 
Mr. Perez Hastings Field, of New York, architect and sur- 
veyor, Mr. Haynes photographer and business manager, 
and Mr. Noorian interpreter and director of the workmen, 
while Mr. J. D. Prince, just graduating from Columbia 
College and offering to accompany the expedition at his 
own expense, was attached as the director's secretary. But 
having fallen seriously ill on the way down the Euphrates 
valley, he left the expedition at Baghdad, and returned to 
America by way of India and China. 

On April 4, I received an urgent note from Provost 
Pepper requesting me to see him at once and stating that it 
was his especial desire that I should serve on this expedi- 

^ Peters, /. r., p. 9, adds : ** At the time it was understood that Profes- 
sor Hilprecht's health was too delicate to permit him to ser\'e in the field. 
Later the physicians decided that he could go." Where and how this **it 
was understood *' originated, I do not know. There is an apparent misunder- 
standing on the part of Dr. Peters concerning the whole matter which I do not 
care to discuss within the pages of this book. Yet nevertheless I desire to state 
briefly as a matter of fact, i . That I never had been asked to go to Babylonia 
before April 4, 1888. 2. That I never consulted any physician with regard 
to my accompanying that first Babylonian expedition. 3. That consequently 
I never received medical advice or ** decision ** from any physician in reply to 
such a question. Dr. Peters*s two volumes (** Nippur," New York, 1897) 
unfortunately contain many other erroneous statements (comp. Ward's review 
in **The Independent," July 29, 1897, p. 18, and Harper's in «*The 
Biblical World," October, 1897). In order not to appear through my 
silence to approve of them in this first coherent sketch of the history of the 
whole expedition, I am unfortunately frequently obliged to take notice of 
them. Personal attacks, however, have been ignored entirely ; other mis- 
statements, as a rule, have been changed quietly ; only fundamental differ- 
ences with regard to important technical and scientific questions have been 
stated expressly in the interest of the cause itself. 


tion as the University of Pennsylvania's Assyriologist, all 
the necessary expenses to be paid by himself and Rev. Dr. 
H. Clay Trumbull, editor of" The Sunday School Times." 
I consented to go without a salary, as Harper and Field 
had done before. In the course of the summer the mem- 
bers of the expedition left at intervals for the East, finally 
meeting at Aleppo on December lo. Peters and Prince had 
spent three months in Constantinople to obtain a firman 
for successive excavations at El-Birs and NufFar ; Harper, 
Field, and Havnes had visited the Hittite districts of Sen- 
jirli, Mar'ash and Jerabis (Carchemish) ;^ while the present 
writer had worked on the cuneiform inscriptions of the 
Nahr el-Kelb and Wadi Berisa,' at the same time searching 
the whole Lebanon region for new material. After an 
uneventful trip down "the great river "^ and a fortnight's 
stay at Baghdad, largely devoted to the examination and 
purchase of antiquities,^ the party proceeded by way of 

^ Comp. Harper in **The Old and New Testament Student,** vol. viii 
(1889), pp. 183, jf^, (*' A Visit to Zinjirii'*) and vol. ix ( 1889), pp. 
308, se^, ("A Visit to Carchemish ** ). 

'^ Comp. Hilprecht in **The Sunday School Times,** vol. xxxi. (1889), 
p. 163 («*The Mouth of the Nahr el-Kelb**), pp. 947, se^^. (*«The 
Inscriptions of Nebuchadrezzar in Wadi Brissa*' ), and vol. xxxii C1890), 
pp. 147, Sty. (** The Shaykh of Zcta**) ; also Die Insihriftert Nebukad- 
neztir^ im Wadi Brissa , in Luthardi*s 7.eitschrift fur kirchliihe Wisscnschaft 
und kirchliches Leben, vol. ix (1889), pp. 491, segq. 

• Comp. Harper in ** The Old and New Testament Student,** vol. x 
( 1890), pp. 55, seqq.y 118, sep, 3^7* -^<7- (** Down the Euphrates Val- 
ley,'* i-iii) ; and /. r., vol. xiv (1892), pp. 160, st'^q., 213, srqq., 
and vol. xv (1892), pp. 12, sey<^. ( ** The Expedition of the Babylonian 
Exploration Fund,** A-C). 

* In the course of the first expedition there were purchased through different 
members of the staff five distinct collections of Babylonian antiquities, contain- 
ing about I 800 specimens (tablets, seals, jewelry), namely. Colls. Kh( abaza j^, 
Kh-^, Sh(emtob), Mrs. H. V. H(ilprecht), D. J. P(rince), besides a col- 
lection of Cappadocian tablets and other antiquities, and a set of plaster casts 
of Assyrian and Babylonian monuments from the Briii>h Museum. Apart 


Hilla to NufFar, the scene of its future activity. For after 
a visit to the high-towering mound of El-Birs and the 
adjoining site of Tell Ibrahim el-Khalil, which together con- 
stitute the remains of ancient Borsippa, it had been decided 
unanimously not to commence operations here, but to move 
further on to the second place granted by the firman, which 
practically represented an entirely fresh site only superfi- 
cially scratched before by Layard.^ 

The next military station from NufFar is Diwaniye, situ- 
ated on both sides of the Euphrates and (according to the 
season and the extent of the inundations) about six to nine 
hours to the southwest of it. At the time of our first 
campaign it was a miserable and fast decreasing town con- 
sisting chiefly of mud houses, and governed by a qaimma- 
q&my under whose immediate jurisdiction we were to be. 
But since the water supply of the lower Euphrates has been 
regulated through the construction of the Hindiye dam 
above Babylon, it has rapidly changed its aspect and be- 
come a neat and flourishing town. At the expense of Hilla 
it has been raised to the seat of a mutesarrif and received 
a considerable increase of soldiers, including even artillery, 
in order to check the predatory incursions of the roaming 
Bedouins of the desert, and to control the refractory ^-Vfej 
tribes around NufFar, which until recently acknowledged 
only a nominal allegiance to the Ottoman government, 

from Mrs. Hilprccht*s and Mr. Prince's contributions, which did not pass 
through the treasurer's hands, Messrs. C. H. and E. W. Clark, W. W. 
Frazier, C. C. Harrison, Wm. Pepper, and Stuart Wood spent §6500 extra 
for the purchase of these collections, including a number of Palmyrene busts 
obtained by Dr. Peters in the following year, and the valuable plaster repro- 
ductions of the ruins of Nuffar, which were afterwards prepared under Field's 
supervision in Paris. As to the Khabaza and Shemtob collections, comp. 
Harper in Hebraica, vol. v, pp. 74, seqq, ; vol. vi, pp. 225, seq, (vol. viii, 
pp. 103, seq,), 

^ Comp. pp. 159, seqq.y above. 



regarding themselves as perfectly safe in the midst of their 
swamps and mud castles, the so-called meftuls} Peters, 
Harper, and Bedry Bey, our Turkish commissioner, took 
this circuitous route by way of Diwaniye, to pay their 
respects to the local governor there and to make the neces- 
sary arrangements for the prompt despatch and receipt of 
our mail. 

The rest of us, accompanied by thirty-two trained work- 
men from Jumjuma and another village near El-Birs, a 
crowd of women and children attached to them, and a large 
number q{ animals carrying our whole outfit, provisions, 
and the implements for excavations, struck directly for 
NufFar. The frequent rumors which we had heard at Bagh- 
dad and Hilla concerning the unsettled and unsafe condi- 
tion of this section of the country, inhabited as it was said 
to be by the most unruly and turbulent tribes of the whole 
vilayet, were in an entire accord with Layard's reports,*^ and 
only too soon to be confirmed by our own experience. The 
*Afej and the powerful Shammar, who sometimes descend as 
far down as the Shatt el-Ha'i, were fighting for the pasture 
lands, driving each other's camels and sheep away, and two 
of the principal subdivisions of the *Afej had a blood-feud 
with each other. On the second day of our march, while 
temporarily separated from our caravan, we were suddenly 
surprised by a ghazii (razzia) and with difficulty escaped 
the hands of the marauding Arabs. The nearer we came 
to the goal of our journey, the more disturbed was the 
population. Finally on the third morning Bint el-Amir, 
majestically towering above the wide stretched mounds of 
Nufl^ar, rose clear on the horizon. More than ciooo years 
ago the huge terraces and walls of the most renowned Baby- 

^ Comp. p. 287, note 2, above, and the illust. facing p. 349, below. 
^ Comp. Layard, "Nineveh and Babylon,'* London, 1853, p. 565: 
** The most wild and ignorant Arabs that can be found in this part of Asia.** 


Ionian sanctuary had crumbled to a formless mass. But 
even in their utter desolation they still seemed to testify to 
the lofty aspirations of a bygone race, and to reecho the 
ancient hymn^ once chanted in their shadow: — 

** O great mountain of Bel, Im^arsag, 
Whose summit rivals the heavens. 
Whose foundations are laid in the bright abysmal sea. 

Resting in the land as a mighty steer, 
Whose horns are gleaming like the radiant sun, 
As the stars of heaven are filled with lustre." 

Even at a distance I began to realize that not twenty, 
not fifty years would suffice to excavate this important site 
thoroughly. What would our committee at home have 
said at the sight of this enormous ruin, resembling more a 
picturesque mountain range than the last impressive remains 
of human constructions ! But there was not much time for 
these and similar reflections : our attention was fullv ab- 
sorbed by the exciting scenes around us. The progress of 
the motley crowd along the edge of the cheerless swamps 
was slow enough. The marshy ground which we had to 
traverse was cut up by numerous old canals, and oflfered 
endless difficulties to the advance of our stumbling beasts. 
Besides, the whole neighborhood was inflamed by w^ar. Ges- 
ticulating groups of armed men watched our approach with 
fear and suspicion. Whenever we passed a village, the 
signal of alarm was given. A piece of black cloth fluttered 
in an instant from the meftul^ dogs began to bark savagelv, 
shepherds ran their flocks into shelter, and the cries of ter- 
rified women and children sounded shrill over the flat and 
treeless plain. Greeted by the wild dance and the rhyth- 
mical yells of some- fifty ^Afej warriors, who had followed 
our movements from a peak of the weather-torn ruins, we 
took possession of the inheritance of Bel. 

Immediately after our arrival we began to pitch our tents 

^ Comp. iv ^., 27, no. 2, 15-24. 

DURING I9TII cEyrunr.- assykia and b.ibi'lo.v/.i aOo 

on the highest point of the southwestern half of the ruins, 
where we could enjoy an unlimited view over the swamps 
and the desert, and which at the same time seemed best 
protected against malaria and possible attacks from the 

Arabs, With the aid ot' Berdi, shaikh of the Warish la sub- 
division of the Hamzal, who was ready to assist us, a num- 
ber of native huts, so-callfd sarifus, made of bunches of 
reed arched together and covered with palm-leaf mats, were 
placed in a square around us. They served for stables, 
store-rooms, servants' quarters, workshop, dining-room, 
kitchen and other purposes, and also protected us against 


the sand storms and the thievish inclinations of the children 
of the desert. Before this primitive camp was established, 
Field began surveying the mounds, as a preliminary map 
had to be submitted to the wali of Baghdad, in order to 
secure his formal approval of our excavations. In the mean 
while the director and the two Assyriologists used every 
spare moment to acquaint themselves with the topography 
of the ruins and to search for indications on the surface 
which might enable them to ascertain the probable charac- 
ter and contents of the more prominent single mounds.^ 

In connection with repeated walks over the whole field 
I prepared a rough sketch of the principal ruins for my own 
use, gathered numerous pieces of bricks, stone and pottery, 
and immediately reached the following general conclusions : 
I. Certain portions of the ruins are remarkably free from 
blue and green enamelled pottery, always characteristic of 
late settlements on Babylonian sites, and show no trace of 
an extensive use of glass on the part of its inhabitants. 
As the latter is never mentioned with certainty in the 
cuneiform inscriptions (then at our disposal), and as the 
Assyrian excavations at Khorsabad, Nebi Yunus, and Nim- 
rud had yielded but a few glass vessels, these parts of an- 
cient Nippur must have been destroyed and abandoned at 
a comparatively early date. 2. In accordance with such 
personal observations and inferences and in view of Lay- 
ard*s discoveries in the upper strata of Nuffar,^ it became 
evident that the southwest half of the ruins, which on an 
average is also considerably higher than the corresponding 
other one, was much longer inhabited and to a larger ex- 
tent used as a graveyard in the post-Christian period than 
the northeast section. 3. As Bint el-Amir, the most con- 
spicuous mound of the whole ruins, no doubt represents 

^ Comp. the brief description of the ruins on pp. 160, je^,, above, under 

' Comp. pp. 161, /r^f., above. 


the ancient ziggurrat or stage-tower, as generally asserted, 
it follows as a matter of course, that the temple of Bel, of 
which it formed part, must also have been situated in the 
northeast section, and therefore is hidden under the mounds 
immediately adjoining it towards the east. 4. The ques- 
tion arose, what buildings are covered by the two remain- 
ing groups of mounds to the northwest and southeast of 
the temple complex. The important role which from the 
earliest times the cult of Bel must have played in the life 
and history of the Babylonian people, as testified by the 
enormous mass of ruins and numerous passages in the 
cuneiform literature, pointed unmistakably to the employ- 
ment of a large number of priests and temple officers, and 
to the existence of a flourishing school and a well equipped 
temple library in the ancient city of Nippur. Which of 
the two mounds under consideration most probably repre- 
sented the residences of the priests with their administra- 
tive offices and educational quarters? 5. The large open 
court to the northwest of the temple, enclosed as it was on 
two sides bv the visible remains of ancient walls, on the 
third by the ziggurrat^ and on the fourth by the Shatt en- 
Nil, suggested at once that the undetermined northwest 
group flanking this court served more practical purposes 
and contained out-houses, stables, store-rooms, magazines, 
sheds, servants* quarters, etc., which were not required in 
the immediate neighborhood and in front of the temple. 
6. It was therefore extremely probable that the houses 
of the priests, their offices, school, and library must be 
looked for in the large triangular southeast mound (IV), 
separated by a branch of the Shatt en-Nil from the temple 
proper. Situated on the bank of two canals, in close prox- 
imity to the sanctuary of Bel, open on all sides to the fresh 
breezes in the summer, and yet well protected against the 
rough north winds, which swept down from the snow-capped 
mountains of Persia during the winter, this section of the 


this ancient structure by the different monarchs who restored 
it. If ever they existed, — and certain discoveries made later 
in the rubbish around its base proved that they actually did, 
— these building records must have been destroyed at the 
time of the Parthian invasion, when the whole temple 
complex was remodelled for military purposes. 

Apart from a stray cuneiform tablet of the period of Sar- 
gon I. — the first of its kind ever discovered, — three small 
fragments of inscribed stone picked up by the Arabs, a few 
Hebrew bowls, and a number of bricks bearing short legends 
of the kings Ur-Gur, Bur-Sin I., Ur-Ninib,and Ishme-Dagan, 
all of the third pre-Christian millennium, no inscribed doc- 
uments had been unearthed during the first ten days of our 
stay at Nufl^ar. No wonder that Dr. Peters, who began to 
realize that his funds of S 1 5,000 were nearly exhausted, grew 
uneasy as to the tangible results of the expedition, the future 
of which depended largely upon quick and important discov- 
eries. I seized this opportunity to submit once more for his 
consideration my views, given above, concerning the topog- 
raphy of the northeast half of the ruins, pointing out that in 
all probability tablets would be found in that large isolated 
hill, which I believed to contain the residences of the priests 
and the temple library (IV"), and requested him to let me 
have about twentv men for a few days to furnish the in- 
scribed material so eagerly sought after. This was a some- 
what daring proposition, which scarcely would have been 
made with this self-imposed restriction of time had I not 
been convinced of the general correctness of my theory. 
After some hesitation the director was generous enough to 
place two gangs of workmen at my disposal for a whole 
week in order to enable me to furnish the necessary proof 
for my subjective conviction. On February 1 1 two trenches 
were opened at the western edge of IV on a level with the 
present bed of the ancient canal. Before noon the first six 
cuneiform tablets were in our possession, and at the close of 


the same day more than twenty tablets and fragments had 
been recovered. Thus far the beginning was very encour- 
aging, and far surpassed my boldest expectations. But it 
remained to be seen whether we had struck only one of 
those small nests of clay tablets as they occasionally occur 
in all Babylonian ruins, or whether they would continue to 
come forth in the same manner during the following weeks 
and even increase gradually in number. At the end of 
February several hundred tablets and fragments had been 
obtained from the same source, and six weeks later, when 
our first campaign was brought to a sudden end, mound IV 
had yielded more than two thousand cuneiform inscriptions 
from its seemingly inexhaustible mines. For the greater 
part they were unbaked, broken, and otherwise damaged. 
With regard to their age, two periods could be clearly dis- 
tinguished. The large mass was written in old Babylonian 
characters not later than the first dynasty of Babylon (about 
2000 B. c), but less than one hundred tablets gathered in the 
upper strata were so-called neo-Baby Ionian contracts gener- 
ally well preserved and dated in the reigns of Ashurbanapal, 
Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar, Evil-Merodach (2 Kgs. 25 : 
27 ; Jer. 52 : 31), Nabonidos, Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, and 
Xerxes. Three of them were of unusual historical interest. 
Being dated in the second and fourth year of Ashuretililani, 
"king of Assyria," they proved conclusively that Nabopo- 
lassar's rebellion against the Assyrian supremacy (626 b. c.) 
was originally confined to the capital and its immediate 
environment, and that, contrary to the prevalent view, long 
after Babylon itself had regained and maintained its inde- 
pendence, important cities and whole districts of the South- 
ern empire still paid homage to Ashurbanapal's successor 
on the throne of Assyria.^ 

But the earlier inscriptions, though as a rule very frag- 
mentary, were of even greater significance. None of them 

^ Comp. Hilprccht, in Zeitschrift fur Assyriologity vol. iv, pp. 164, seqq. 


was evidently found in sitUy except ten large tablets in a 
most excellent state of preservation taken from a kiln, where 
they had been in the process of baking when one of the 
terrible catastrophes by which the city was repeatedly vis- 
ited overtook ancient Nippur. They consisted of busi- 
ness documents referring to the registry of tithes and to 
the administration of the temple property, and of tablets 
of a decided literary character, comprising some very fine 
syllabaries and lists of synonyms, letters, mathematical, 
astronomical, medical and religious texts, besides a few speci- 
mens of drawing and a considerable number of mostly round 
tablets which must be classified as school exercises. Those 
which were dated bore the names of Hammurabi, Samsu- 
iluna, Abeshum, Ammisatana, and Ammisadugga. As about 
four fifths of all the tablets were literary, there could no longer 
be any doubt that we were not far from the famous temple 
library, unless indeed we already were working in its very 
ruins. In order to arrive at more definite results, it would 
have been necessary to continue the two large trenches which 
I had started, through the centre to the eastern edge of the 
mound. In the course of the second half of March five extra 
gangs were put on "the tablet hill,** as it was henceforth 
styled, to carry out this plan. But time and money were 
soon lacking, and circumstances arose which forced us to 
evacuate Nuifar before many weeks were over. Otherwise 
we could not have failed to discover, in 1889, those tablet- 
filled rooms which were unearthed eleven years later, when 
the present writer personally was held responsible for the 
preparation of the plans and the scientific management of 
the expedition. 

The work at the temple complex, where finally more than 
one hundred men were employed, proceeded but slowly, 
owing to the enormous amount of rubbish accumulated here 
and to the tenacity of the unbaked bricks v>hich had to be 
cut through. Small and graceful terra-cotta cones similar to 


those discovered by Loftus at Warka/ but generally broken, 
were excavated in large number along the base of the north- 
west wall of the ziggurrat. Evidently they had fallen from 
the top of the tower, and once belonged to a shrine contem- 
poraneous with the inscribed bricks of Ashurbanapal, the 
last known restorer of the temple of Bel, near whose ma- 
terial they were lying. The remains of the lowest story of 
the huge building began to rise gradually out of the midst 
of the encumbering ruins. But they offered problems so 
complicated in themselves and with regard to other construc- 
tions discovered all around the ziggurrat at a much higher 
level, that it was well-nigh impossible to form a satisfactory 
idea of the character and extent of the temple, before the 
whole neighborhood had been subjected to a critical exami- 
nation. For very apparent reasons there were only a few 
and very late tombs unearthed in this part of the city, while 
again they occurred more frequently in the lower mounds 
to the southwest of the temple. Among the various an- 
tiquities which came from the trenches of the sanctuary itself 
may be mentioned especially about a dozen vase fragments 
inscribed with very archaic characters, two of them exhib- 
iting the name of Lugalzaggisi, an otherwise unknown king 
of Erech whose precise period could then not be deter- 
mined ; a well preserved brick stamp of Naram-Sin (about 
3750 B. c), the first document of this half-mythical mon- 
arch which reached the shores of Europe ; a fine marble 
tablet containing a list of garments presented to the temple; 
and a door-socket of the Cassite ruler Kurigalzu. 

In the course of time our workmen had been gradually 
increased to about 250, so that experimental trenches could 
also be cut in the extreme western and southern wings of 
the ruins. A number of contract tablets of the time of the 
Chaldean and Persian dynasties were excavated in the upper 
strata of the last mentioned section. The fragment of a 

Comp. pp. 148, seq., above. 


barrel cylinder of Sargon, king of Assyria, which came from 
the same neighborhood, indicated that a large public building 
must have occupied this site previously, a supposition sub- 
sequently strengthened by the discovery of two more frag- 
ments which belonged to duplicates of the same cylinder. 
Stray cuneiform tablets and seal cylinders ; a considerable 
number of terra-cotta figurines, mostly bearded gods 'with 
weapons and other instruments in their hands, or naked god- 
desses holding their breasts or suckling a babe ; and a few clay 
reliefs, among which an exquisitely modelled lioness excited 
our admiration, were discovered in various other parts of the 
ruins. They belonged to the Babylonian period, in which 
naturally our interest centred. But, as was to be expected, 
most of the trenches yielded antiquities which illustrated the 
life and customs of the early post-Christian inhabitants of 
the country rather than those of the ancient Babylonians. 
Especially in the ruins of the Parthian building, with its in- 
teresting brick columns, which in the first week the Arabs 
had disclosed to the east of our camp, we uncovered hun- 
dreds of slipper-shaped coflins and funeral urns, numerous 
vases and dishes, and small peculiar tripods, so-called stilts, 
which were used in connection with the burning of pottery 
in exactly the same way as they are employed in china-manu- 
factories to-dav. Terra-cotta toys, such as horses, riders, ele- 
phants, rams, monkeys, dogs, birds, eggs, marbles, and baby 
rattles in the shape of chickens, dolls and drums, spear-heads 
and daggers, metal instruments and polishing stones, Parthian 
coins, weights and whorls, jewelry in gold, silver, copper, 
bone, and stone, especially necklaces, bracelets, ear and fin- 
ger rings, fibulae and hair-pins, together with about thirty 
bowls inscribed with Hebrew, Mandean and Arabic legends, 
and frequently also covered with horrible demons supposed 
to molest the human habitations and to disturb the peace 
of the dead, completed our collections. 

Soon after we had reached NufFar, Dr. Peters had made 



US acquainted with the low ebb in the finances of the expedi- 
tion. It was, therefore, decided to close the excavations of 
the first campaign at the beginning of May. But the work- 
ing season was brought to a conclusion more quickly than 
could have been anticipated. The trouble started with the 
Arabs. The methodical exploration of the ruins had pro- 
ceefled satisfactorily for about nine weeks till the middle of 
April, tablets being found abundantly, and the topography 
of ancient Nippur becoming more lucid everyday. Notwith- 
standing those countless difficulties which, more or less, every 
expedition working in the interior of Babylonia far away 
from civilization has to meet at nearly every turn, we began 
to enjoy the life in the desert and to get accustomed to the 
manners of the fickle Arabs, whose principal " virtues " 
seemed to consist in lying, stealing, murdering, and lascivi- 
ousness. And the 'Afej, on the other hand, had gradually 
abandoned their original distrust, after they had satisfied 
themselves that the Americans had no intention of erecting 
a new military station out of the bricks of the old walls for 
the purpose of collecting arrears of government taxes. But 
there existed certain conditions in our camp and around us 
which, sooner or later, had to lead to serious complications. 
Hajji Tarfa, the supreme shaikh of all the ^Afej tribes, a 
man of great diplomatic skill, liberal views and far-reaching 
influence, was unfortunately absent in the Shamiyewhen we 
commenced operations at Nufl^ar. His eldest son, Mukota, 
who meanwhile took the place of his father, was a sneaking 
Arab of the lowest type, little respected by his followers, 
begging for everything that came under his eyes, turbulent, 
treacherous, and a coward, and brooding mischief all the 
while. Two of the principal 'Afej tribes, the Hamza and the 
Behahtha, both of which laid claim to the mounds we had 
occupied, and insisted on furnishing workmen for our exca- 
vations, were at war with each other. At the slightest prov- 
ocation and frequently without any apparent reason they 


threw their scrapers and baskets away and commenced the 
war-dance, brandishing their spears or guns in the air and 
chanting some defiant sentence especially made up for the 
occasion, as, e. g.y " We are the slaves of Berdi,** " The last 
day has come,** "Down with the Christians,** " Matches in 
his beard who contradicts us,*' etc. The Turkish commis- 
sioner and the zabtiye (irregular soldiers), — whose number 
had been considerably increased by the qaimmaqam of 
Diwaniye, much against our own will, — picked frequent 
quarrels with the natives and irritated them by their over- 
bearing manners. The Arabs, on the other hand, were not 
slow in showing their absolute independence by wandering 
unmolested around the camp, entering our private tents 
and examining our goods, like a crowd of naughty boys ; 
or by squatting with their guns and clubs near the trenches 
and hurling taunting and offensive expressions at the Otto- 
man government. 

It was also a mistake that we had pitched our tents on 
the top of the ruins. For as the mounds of Nuffar had no 
recognized owner and yet were claimed by the Turks, the 
Bedouins, and the Ma'dan tribes at the same time, we were 
practically under nobody's protection, while by our very con- 
spicuous position we not only suffered exceedingly from hot 
winds and suffocating sand storms, but invited plundering by 
every loiterer and marauder in the neighborhood. More- 
over, unacquainted as we all were then with the peculiar 
customs of Central Babylonia, we had not provided a mudhif 
or lodging-house, a spacious and airy sarifa^ which in every 
large village of the country is set apart for the reception of 
travellers and guests. What wonder that the simple-minded 
children of the desert and the half-naked peasants of the 
marshes, who noticed our strange mode of living and saw so 
many unknown things with us for which they had no need 
themselves, shook their heads in amazement. On the one 
hand they observed hoAv we spent large sums of money for 


uncovering old walls and gathering broken pottery, and on 
the other they found us eating the wild boar of the jungles, 
ignoring Arab etiquette, and violating the sacred and univer- 
sal law of hospitality in the most flagrant way, — reasons 
enough to regard us either as pitiable idiots whom they could 
easily fleece or as unclean and uncouth barbarians to whom a 
pious Shiite was infinitely the superior. 

Repeated threats to burn us out had been heard, and various 
attempts had been made to get at our rifles and guns. One 
night our bread-oven was destroyed, and a hole was cut in 
the reed-hut which served as our stable. Soon afterwards four 
sheep belonging to some of our workmen were stolen. The 
thief, a young lad from the Sa*id, a small tribe of bad repute, 
half Bedouin and half Ma^dan, encouraged by his previous 
success, began to boast, as Berdi told me later, that he would 
steal even the horses of the Franks without being detected. 
Though he might have suspected us to be on the alert, he 
and a few comrades undertook to execute the long-cherished 
plan in the night of the fourteenth of April. Our sentinels, 
who had previously been ordered to occupy the approaches 
to the camp night and day, frustrated the attempt and opened 
fire at the intruders. In an instant the whole camp was 
aroused, and one of the thieves was shot through the heart. 
This was a most unfortunate occurrence, and sure to result 
in further trouble. No time was therefore lost to inform 
the *Afej chiefs, to despatch a messenger to the next military 
station, and to prepare ourselves for any case of emergency. 
" Then followed a period of anxious suspense. Soon the 
death wail sounded from a village close beneath us," indi- 
cating that the body of the dead Arab had been carried oflf 
to the nearest encampment. " Then a signal fire was kin- 
dled. This was answered by another and another, until the 
whole plain was clothed with little lights, while through the 
still night came the sounds of bustle and preparation for 
the attack.** On the next morning we decided to avoid 


the consequences of the severe laws of Arab blood revenge 
by paying an adequate indemnity to the family of the fallen 
man. But our offer was proudly rejected by the hostile tribe, 
and an old Sa'id workman, employed as a go-between, re- 
turned with torn garments and other evidences of a beating. 
The American party was equally prompt in refusing to give 
up the " murderer." The days and nights which followed 
w^ere full of exciting scenes. Mukota, Berdi, and other 'Afej 
shaikhs, who professed to come to our assistance, had oc- 
cupied the spurs around us. Thirty irregular soldiers, with 
six hundred rounds of cartridges, were sent from Diwaniye 
and Hilla, and others were expected to arrive in the near 
future. There were constant alarms of an attack bv the 
Sa*id. The 'Afej, not concealing their displeasure at seeing 
so large a number of zabtiye in their territory, were evidently 
at heart in sympathy with the enemy. Besieged as we practi- 
cally were, we were finally forced to withdraw our laborers 
from the trenches and make arrangements for quitting Nuf- 
far altogether. On Thursday, April i8, long before the sun 
rose, the whole expedition was in readiness to vacate the 
mounds and to force their way to Hilla, when upon the trea- 
cherous order of Mukota, an Arab secretly set fire to our huts 
of reeds and mats and laid the whole camp in ashes in the short 
space of five minutes. For a while the utmost confusion 
prevailed, the zabtiye got demoralized, and occupied a neigh- 
boring hill ; and while we were trying to save our effects, 
many of the Arabs commenced plundering. Half the horses 
perished in the flames, firearms and saddle-bags and Siooo 
in gold fell into the hands of the marauders, but all the an- 
tiquities were saved. Under the war-dance and yells of the 
frantic Arabs the expedition finally withdrew in two divisions, 
one on horseback, past Suq el-'Afej and Diwaniye, the 
other on two boats across the swamps to Daghara, and back 
to Hilla, where soon afterwards the governor-general of the 
province arrived, anxious about our welfare and determined, 
if necessarv, to come to our rescue with a militarv force. 


On the way to Baghdad Harper handed in his resigna- 
tion, Field gave his own a day later, Haynes, who, on the 
recommendation of the Philadelphia Committee, had been 
appointed United States Consul at Baghdad, prepared to 
settle in the city of Harun ar-Rashid, and with Noorian to 
await further developments, Peters was recalled by cable 
to America, and the present writer was requested to remain 
in charge of the expedition in Mesopotamia. But circum- 
stances beyond his control made it impossible for him to 
accept this trust at once, and necessitated his immediate 
return to Europe.^ Our first year at Babylonia had ended in 
a serious disaster. Dr. Peters, to quote his own words, 
*' had failed to win the confidence of his comrades," '^ and 
more than $20,000 had been expended merely to scratch 
the surface of one of the most enormous ancient sites in 
all Western Asia. How would the Ottoman government 
view the unexpected turn in our work among the tur- 
bulent Arabs ? Would they allow the expedition to return 

^ In the fall of 1888, when I departed from Germany for the East, my 
wife was so ill that her recovery was doubtful. Upon her own special re- 
quest, however, I left her to meet my obligations in Asia. Soon after my 
return from NufFar to Baghdad, April, 1889, I was informed that meanwhile 
she had been operated upon unsuccessfully, and that a second operation, for 
which my immediate return was required, was necessary. Twelve years 
later, when I was in the Orient again upon an important mission in connec- 
tion with this expedition, she actually sacrificed herself for the cause of sci- 
ence, by concealing her serious illness in order not to interfere with my work, 
and by writing cheerful and encouraging letters to me, while she was sinking 
fast, and knew that she would not recover. When I finallv returned to Ger- 
many in perfect ignorance of her condition, she was already beyond human 
aid and died soon afterwards (March, 1902), using the last hours of her 
unselfish life to execute a noble deed in the interest of Assyriology. 

^ Comp. Peters, ** Nippur," New York, 1897, vol. i, p. 288. Besides 
this volume, which gives a subjectively colored and not always very reliable 
account of the origin and history of the first campaign, comp. Hilprecht in 
Koinische Zeitung, June 30, 1889, Sunday edition, second paper, and Harper 
in "The Biblical World," vol. i, pp. 57-62. 


in the fall ? And if no obstacle was raised in Constan- 
tinople, would the Philadelphia Committee, after so many 
disappointments, be willing to resume the exploration of 
NufFar, which had proved to be a task by far more expen- 
sive and wearisome than most of the contributors could 
have expected ? 

Second Campaign y i88g-i8go. It is to the great credit 
of the small number of enthusiastic gentlemen who had 
previously furnished the funds, that far from being discour- 
aged by what had occurred, they were rather " favorably im- 
pressed with the results accomplished by the first year's 
campaign," and decided to continue the excavations at Nuf- 
far for another year under Dr. Peters, provided that the 
Turkish authorities at Constantinople would approve of 
their plan. The wali of Baghdad, who was principally held 
responsible for the safety of the party in a section of his 
province over which he had little control, most naturally 
opposed the return of the expedition with all his power. 
But thanks to the lively interest and the energetic support 
of Hamdv Bev, the Grand Vizier viewed the whole matter 
very calmly and in a difi^erent light from what it had been 
represented to him by the local officials. Accordinglv he 
authorized the University of Pennsylvania's expedition to 
resume its interrupted labors in Babvlonia in the same year. 
On October lo, Dr. Peters was able to leave the Turkish 
capital for Beirut, and from there, by wav of Damascus and 
Palmyra, to travel to Baghdad, which he reached about the 
middle of December. 

Important changes had meanwhile taken place in 'Iraq 
el-*Arabi. Soon after our departure, in Mav, 1889, a fearful 
cholera epidemic had broken out in lower Babylonia, and, 
following the courses of the two rivers, had spread rapidly 
to the northern districts. With the exception of Hit, 
Xejet, and some other remarkably favored places, it had 
devastated the entire country, with special fury raging in 


the marshy districts between NufFar and the Shatt el-Ha*i, 
where our old enemy, Mukota, was carried off as one of its 
first victims, and in certain notoriously unclean and densely 
populated quarters of Baghdad, which for several weeks in the 
summer were almost completely deserted by the frightened 
population. In view of the lingering presence of the dreaded 
scourge in the valleys of the Euphrates and the Tigris, and 
the possibility of a renewed Outbreak of the same plague in 
the spring, the director deemed it necessary to engage the 
services of a native physician of Syria, Dr. Selim Aftimus, 
who at the same time was expected to make those botanical 
and zoological collections for which the present writer had 
earnestly pleaded, before the first expedition was organized. 
Haynes and Noorian were again induced to associate them- 
selves with the practical management of the undertaking 
on the road and in the field, and to serve in the same 
capacities in which they had been employed the previous 
year. But, at the special desire of Dr. Peters, this time an 
American scientific staff was entirely dispensed with, though 
Field and Hilprecht would have been willing to accompany 
the expedition again, without a salary but with increased 
responsibility. This was a most unfortunate decision on 
the part of the director. It is true, a solid scientific basis of 
operations had been established in the first campaign, and 
consequently there was no immediate need of an architect 
and Assyriologist at the beginning of the new excavations; 
and yet it was impossible to excavate properly for any 
length of time without the constant advice of either of 
them. If, nevertheless, this expedition, sent out to inves- 
tigate the history of one of the largest, most ancient, and, 
at the same time, most ruined and complicated sites in the 
country, attempted to solve its difficult problem without 
the trained eyes and scientific knowledge of technically 
prepared men, it necessarily had to be at the expense of a 
strictly methodical exploration and at the sacrifice of half 


of the possible results, of which it deprived itself in conse- 
quence of its inability to follow up every indication on the 
ground, and to determine most of the perplexing archaeo- 
logical questions in the trenches. 

But while in the interest of scientific research we cannot 
approve of Dr. Peters' fatal course, to a certain degree we 
can explain it. He was anxious to save expenses in con- 
nection with an undertaking the original estimate of which 
he had considerably underrated ; and not fully aware of the 
fact that he damaged his own cause, for which he was work- 
ing with such an admirable patience, energy, and courage, 
he desired a greater freedom in his movements and decisions 
from the influence of specialists, who formerly had caused 
him great trouble, as they frequently diflfered with him in 
regard to the most fundamental questions. His mind being 
firmly fixed upon tangible results which by their mere num- 
ber and character would appeal to the public, he naturally 
took great pains to obtain them at the least possible outlay 
of time and money, according to the manner of Rassam 
and other earlier explorers, rather than to examine these im- 
mense ruins systematically according to the principles laid 
down by the modern school of archaeologists. We must 
bear this circumstance in mind, in order to understand and 
judge his work leniently and to appreciate his results, which, 
though one-sided and largely misunderstood by him, proved 
ultimately to be of great importance for our knowledge of 
the Cassite and Parthian periods of Babylonian history, and 
furnished welcome material for our restoration of the chro- 
nology of the second millennium. 

On the last day of 1889 the caravan left Baghdad. After 
repeated unsuccessful attempts bv the local governors of 
Hilla and Diwaniye at preventing the expedition's return 
to the ruins, the excavations were resumed on January 14, 
with about two hundred workmen from Hilla, who, in con- 
sequence of the ravages of cholera, lack of rain, and failing 


crops, had been reduced to the utmost poverty, and now 
looked eagerly for employment in the trenches of NufFar. 
They continued this time for nearly four months, and termi- 
nated peacefully on May 3, 1890. In accordance with the 
advice of the natives, and profiting from our last year's expe- 
rience, Dr. Peters and his comrades pitched their somewhat 
improved camp in the plain to the south of the western half 
of the ruins, and placed themselves under the protection of 
but a single chief, Hamid el-Birjud, shaikh of the Nozair, 
one of the six tribes which constitute the Hamza, a sub- 
division of the 'Afej. 

There could be little doubt that the Arabs of the whole 
neighborhood were glad to see the expedition once more 
established among them. All the preceding troubles seemed 
to be forgotten entirely. The Sa'id themselves had con- 
ducted Haynes and his workmen to the mounds in the 
natural expectation of receiving some kind of recognition 
for their friendly attitude, doubly remarkable, as the old 
blood-feud existing between them and the expedition had 
not yet been settled. An excellent opportunity was thus 
given to remove the only cause for much annoyance and 
anxiety on the part of the Americans, and to make friends 
and valuable supporters out of deadly enemies, by recog- 
nizing the general law of the desert and paying a small sum 
of money to the family of the man who had been killed in 
the act of robbery. Only ten Turkish liras (=^44) were 
demanded. But unfortunately, Dr. Peters, who otherwise 
entered into the life and feelings of the people most success- 
fully, mistook the acknowledgment and prompt arrange- 
ment of the whole affair for a sign of weakness, and refused 
to listen to any proposal, thereby creating a feeling of con- 
stant uneasiness and unsafety on the part of Haynes, which 
was not at all unreasonable, and as a matter of course at 
times interfered seriously with the work of the expedition. 

Like the Sa^id, who vainlv endeavored to obtain a certain 


share in our work, the ^Afej could not always be trusted. 
They all wanted to guard the rare "goose that laid the 
golden egg," and soon became jealous of the Nozair chief, 
who had pledged himself for the security of the party. 
" Fabulous stories of our immense wealth were in circu- 
lation. Everything was supposed to contain money, even 
our boxes of provisions." " The Arabs believed that we 
were digging out great treasures, and it was confidently 
asserted that we had secured the golden boat, or turrada^ 
which from time immemorial had been supposed to be con- 
tained in these mounds." The mere sight of a gold crown 
on one of Peters* teeth, which was eagerly pointed out by 
those w ho had discovered it to everv friend and newcomer, 
seemed to strengthen their conviction and excite their lust. 
The comparative ease with which in the previous year so 
much spoil had been carried off through Mukota's treach- 
erous behavior, aroused the cupidity of all the Arabs and 
their ardent desire to repeat his example. The presence of 
two hundred workmen from Hilla and Jumjuma, who could 
not always be managed to keep peace with one another, was 
regarded by the^\fej shaikhs as an affront intended to dimin- 
ish their personal income, since they were entitled to one 
sixth of the wages received hv their own tribesmen. Besides, 
murderers and other desperadoes, who had fled from various 
parts of the country to the safer districts of the Khor el-^\fej, 
were never lacking:, and were alwavs readv to join in a con- 
spiracy which would lead to stealing and burning, and thus 
raise their importance in the eves of the people. In spite 
of the friendly assurances from the Arabs, there prevailed 
a general sense of insecurity all the while around XutFar, 
which, indeed, is the atmosphere more or less character- 
istic of all modern Babylonia. 

Fortunately, however, there was one circumstance vyhich 
proved of priceless value to the members of the expedition, 

* Comp. Layard, ** Nineveh and Bahvlun,'* London, 1853, p. 557. 


The notion was spread among the *Afej and their neighbor- 
ing tribes that the foreigners were armed with great magical 
power, and that, in punishment of the firing and plundering 
of their camp, they had brought upon their enemies the 
cholera, which was not quite extinct even in the year fol- 
lowing. Several successful treatments of light ailments, and 
exceedingly bitter concoctions wisely administered to vari- 
ous healthy chiefs, who were curious to see and to taste the 
truth of all that was constantly reported, served only to 
assure and confirm this belief; and Peters, on his part, seized 
every opportunity to encourage and to develop such sen- 
timent among the credulous 'Afej. He intimated to them 
that nothing was hidden from his knowledge, and that the 
accursed money which had been stolen would find its way 
back to him ; he made mysterious threats of sore affliction 
and loss by death which would cause consternation among 
them ; and to demonstrate his superior power and to indi- 
cate some of the terrible things which might happen at any 
moment, he finally gave them a drastic exhibition of his 
cunning art, which had a tremendous effect upon all who 
saw it. We will quote the story in his own language : "Just 
before sunset, when the men were all in camp and at leisure, 
so that I was sure they would notice what we did, Noorian 
and I ascended a high point of the mound near by, he 
solemnly bearing a compass before me on an improvised 
black cushion. There, by the side of an old trench, we 
went through a complicated hocus-pocus with the compass, 
a Turkish dictionary, a spring tape-measure, and a pair of 
field glasses, the whole camp watching us in puzzled won- 
der. Immediately after our dinner, while most of the men 
were still busy eating, we stole up the hill, having left to 
Haynes the duty of preventing any one from leaving the 
camp. Our fireworks were somewhat primitive and slightly 
dangerous, so that the trench which we had chosen for our 
operations proved rather close quarters. The first rocket 


had scarcely gone off when we could hear a buzz of excited 
voices below us. When the second and third followed, the 
cry arose that we were making the stars fall from heaven. 
The women screamed and hid themselves in the huts, and 
the more timid among the men followed suit. As Roman 
candles and Bengal lights followed, the excitement grew more 
intense. At last we came to our piece de resistance^ the tomato- 
can firework. At first this fizzled and bade fair to ruin our 
whole performance. Then, just as we despaired of success, 
it exploded with a great noise, knocking us over backward 
in the trench, behind a wall in which we were hidden, and 
filling the air with fiery serpents hissing and sputtering in 
everv direction. The effect was indescribablv diabolical, and 
every man, woman, and child, guards included, fled scream- 
ing, to seek for hiding-places, overcome with terror." 

Great as the immediate impression of the fearful spectacle 
was upon the minds of the naive children of the desert, who 
firmly believed in the uncanny powers of demons or Jinnay 
this successful coup did not stop future quarrels, pilfering, 
and murderous attempts altogether, nor did it secure for the 
camp a much needed immunity from illness and the embar- 
rassing consequences of the great drought which at the outset 
was upon the waters of Babylon, or of the subsequent deluge, 
which turned the whole country into one huge puddle and 
the semi-subterranean storehouses, kitchens, and stables of 
the camp into as many cisterns. Poor Dr. Aftimus, on whose 
technical knowledge the fondest hopes had been built, was 
himself taken down with typhoid fever the very day the 
party arrived at Xuffar. Without having treated a single 
Arab he had to be sent back to Baghdad while in a state of 
delirium, but fortunately he recovered slowly in the course 
of the winter. After this rather discouraging first experience 
of medical assistance in connection with our archtxologi- 
cal explorations, we have never had courage to repeat the 
experiment. With a simple diet, some personal care, and a 



Strict observation of the ordinary sanitary laws, the expe- 
dition as a whole escaped or overcame the peculiar dangers 
of the Babylonian climate during the following campaigns. 

In spite of all the disappointments and hardships, which 
were scarcely less in the second year than they had been in 
the first, the great purpose of the expedition was not for a 
moment lost sight of. Our past excavations had been scat- 
tered over the entire surface of the mounds. Trial trenches 
had been cut in many places, to ascertain the general charac- 
ter and contents of the ruins, until work finally concentrated 
at three conspicuous points, — the temple (I), the so-called 
tablet hill (IV), and the more recent building with its fine 
court of columns near our old camp (VII) and the long 
ridge to the southeast of it. By means of written docu-* 
ments, the first expedition had adduced conclusive evidence 
that the ruins of Nuffar contained monuments of the time 
of Naram-Sin (about 3750 b. c.) and even of a period con^ 
siderably antedating it. It had discovered numerous remains 
of the third pre-Christian millennium, and clearly demon- 
strated that thousands of tablets and fragments of the ancient 
temple library still existed in the large triangular mound to 
the south of the temple complex, thereby almost determining 
the very site of this famous library. It furthermore had 
traced the history of Nippur by a few inscriptions through 
the second millennium down to the time of the Persian kings, 
and lastly shown, in connection with Parthian coins and con- 
structions, Sassanian seals, Hebrew and Mandean bowls, 
Kufic coins of the ^Abbaside caliphs, and other antiquities, 
that parts of the ruined city were inhabited as late as the 
ninth centurv of our own era. In other words, it had sub- 
mitted material enough to prove that at least five thou- 
sand years of ancient history were represented by this enor- 
mous site. It remained for the second and the following 
expeditions to fill this vast period with the necessary details, 
and, if possible, even to extend its limits by concentrated 
methodical excavations at the principal elevations. 


Among the various mounds and ridges which constitute 
the ruins of NufFar, there was none more important than 
the conical hill of Bint el-Amir with its irregular plateau of 
deMs (I), containing the stage-tower and temple of Bel. 
" This great mass of earth covered a surface of more than 
eight acres/' the careful examination of which was an ambi- 
tious problem in itself, especially as none of the large Baby- 
lonian temples had yet been excavated completely. At the 
outset the expedition had therefore decided to investigate 
this complex methodically, to determine its characteristic 
architectural features, and to trace its development through 
all the periods of Babylonian history down to its final decay. 
But owing to the large accumulations of rubbish and the 
ver\'^ limited time in the first year at our disposal, we had 
not been able to do much more than to fix the corners of 
the ancient ziggurrat and to run trenches along its peculiar 
lateral additions. As the latter were constructed of large 
crude bricks and surrounded by extensive remains of rooms 
built of the same material, and as numerous antiquities of the 
Hellenistic period and coins of the Arsacide kings (about 
250 B. C.-226 A. D.) were unearthed in connection with them, 
I had " reached the conclusion that the ruins we had found 
were those of a Parthian fortress built on the site of the 
ancient temple ; and the majority of the members of the 
expedition inclined to this opinion/*^ But soon afterwards 
Peters changed his conviction and put forth his own theory, 
according to which we " had found the ancient temple of 
Bel '* itself. For the following years it was impossible for 
me to test his statements by a personal examination of the 
trenches; and as Haynes simply adopted his predecessor's 
theorv and failed to throw any new light on this funda- 

^ Comp. Peters, ** Nippur/* vol. ii, p. 118, where he reproduce^ my view 
correctly, except that he substitutes Sassanian for Parthian, owing to his 
frequently indiscriminate use of these two words (comp. p. 129 of the same 
w ork ) . 


mental question, there remained nothing but either to ac- 
quiesce in Peters' view, which, however, ignored essential 
facts brought to light by the previous excavations, and was 
contrary to certain established laws of Babylonian archi- 
tecture, or to regard the famous sanctuary of Bel as a hope- 
less mass of crumbling walls, fragmentary platforms, broken 
drains, and numerous wells, reported by Haynes to exist 
at widely separated levels, often in very strange places and 
without any apparent connection with each other. 

What were the new features developed at this "perplex- 
ing mound " in the course of the second campaign ? By 
engaging a maximum force of four hundred Arab laborers, 
half from Hilla and Jumjuma, half from the *Afej tribes 
around Nuffar, and by placing the greater part of his men 
at the temple mounds, the director was able to attack the 
problem more vigorously and to remove such an enormous 
mass of rubbish that at the end of his work he could boast 
" that in cubic feet of earth excavated, and size and depth 
of trenches," his excavations " far surpassed any others ever 
undertaken in Babylonia," and that De Sarzec's work of 
several seasons at Tello " was probably not even the tenth 
part as large as our work of as many months." But this 
difference was due to various causes, and not the least to 
the difference of methods pursued by the two explorers, 
quite aside from the fact that the amount of rubbish ex- 
tracted from a ruin can never be used as a standard by 
which the success or failure of an archaeological mission is 
to be judged. Peters himself characterizes his manner of 
excavating as follows : " We sank small well-shafts or deep 
narrow trenches, in many cases to the depth of fifty feet or 
more, and pierced innumerable small tunnels (one of them 
1 20 feet in length) after the native method."^ In other 
words, he examined the mounds pretty much as the Arab 
peasants did at Babylon, Kl-Birs, and other places, only on 

^ Comp. Peters, /. r., vol. ii, pp. ill, fc^. 


a larger scale, — either by deep perpendicular holes or by 
"innumerable" horizontal mines, instead of peeling off the 
single layers successively and carefully. Was this scientific 
research ? The results, as indicated above, were naturally 
commensurate with the method employed. Peters did not 
procure a satisfactory plan nor the necessary details of the 
originally well-preserved vast complex of buildings which 
occupied the site of the temple of Bel " at the time of its last 
great construction ; " he failed to ascertain its character and 
purpose, and to define its precise relation to the ziggurrat; he 
was unable to determine its age, or even to fix the two extreme 
limits of the three successive periods of its occupation ; and 
he did not recognize that the line of booths situated out- 
side of the southeast fortified enclosure and yielding him 
a fine collection of inscribed Cassite monuments belonged 
to the same general epoch as the mass of crude brickwork 
covering the temple. As far as possible, his assertions have 
either been verified or corrected by the present writer's later 
investigations on the ruins. But, unfortunately, much of 
the precious material had been removed in the course of the 
second and third campaigns, or was subsequently destroyed 
by rain and other causes, so that it could no longer be used 
for the study and reconstruction of the history of the ven- 
erable sanctuary of Nippur. 

The following is Peters* ovyn view in a nutshell : There 
are about sixteen feet of ruins below a surface layer of three 
feet, which represent the last important restoration of the 
ancient temple by a monarch " not far removed from Nebu- 
chadrezzar in time,*' and living about 500 b. c. This ruler 
consequently can have been only one of the Persian kings, 
notably Darius I, or perhaps Xerxes. The sacred precincts 
were no longer " consecrated to the worship of Bel,'* but 
stood in the service of "a new religion.** The old form 
of the ziggurrat was changed by " huge buttress-like wings 
added on each of the four sides,** which gave the structure 


" a cruciform shape unlike that of any other ziggurrat yet 
discovered.** The sanctuary continued to exist in the new 
form for about three hundred to three hundred and fifty 
years, until after the Seleucidan period, somewhere about 
or before 150 b. c, when men ceased to make additions or 
repairs, and the ancient temple of Bel fell gradually into 

It is unnecessary to disprove this fantastic theory in detail. 
Peters' own excavations and our previous and later discov- 
eries make it entirely impossible. But while we cannot accept 
his inferences, which are contrary to all the evidence pro- 
duced, we recognize that he brought to light a number of 
facts and antiquities, which enable us to establish at least some 
of the more general features of this latest reconstruction. 
He showed that a considerable area around the ziggurrat 
was enclosed by two gigantic walls protected by towers. He 
ascertained their dimensions, followed their courses, and de- 
scribed the extraordinary size of their bricks. He excavated 
fourteen chambers on the top of one of the outer walls, and 
found the entire space between the inner wall and the ziggur- 
rat occupied completely by similar rooms. He arrived at the 
conclusion that the various constructions belonged together 
and formed an organic whole. A long, narrow street, however, 
which ran parallel with the southeastern line of fortifications, 
divided the houses in the interior into two distinct sections. 
Several of the chambers in the southern part were filled with 
"great masses of water-jars piled together.** They doubtless 
had served as storerooms ; others were kitchens, as indicated 
" by the fireplaces and other arrangements;'* while in some 
of the rooms " were curious closets with thin clay parti- 
tions." The rubbish of most of the chambers yielded nu- 
merous fragments of pottery of the Hellenistic and Roman 
periods, remarkable among them a fine brown enamelled 
lamp (head of Medusa), and many terra-cotta figurines, es- 
pecially heads of women frequently wearing a peculiar high 


head-dress, children, and groups of lovers. It Is a characteris- 
tic feature of these late Babylonian terra-cottas that they are 
generally hollow in the interior, while their outside is often 
covered with a chalk paste by which the artist endeavored 
to work out the delicate 
facial lines, ihecurled hair, 
the graceful foldings of 
the garments, and other 
details, with greater accu- 
racy,' and thus to pro- 
duce a better effect of the 
whole figure, which some- 
times also was colored. 
Teeth of wild boars re- 
peatedly found in this 
stratum indicate that the 
occupants of those later 
constructions were fond 
of hunting the character- 
istic animal of the swamps 
around Nippur. 

From the extraordinary 
amount of dirt and debris 
accumulated during the 
period of occupancy of 
the rooms, and from the 
different styles of art ex- 
hibited by the antiquities 
discovered in them, it be- 
came evident that these 
latest constructions must hav 

been inhabited tor several 

1 Comp. t. g., ihc cc 
onii volume, and Nos. j i a 
ion of ihe L'niversiiv of Pt 
, No.. 31 and 32. ' 

liead oi' ihe illuitratio 
id jz ofHilprci-ht, 


hundred years. A similar result was obtained by an exam- 
ination of the stage-tower. It was observed that the zig- 
gurrat of the cruciform shape above referred to, which con- 
sisted only of two stages, had two or three distinct additions, 
and that the unbaked material employed in them was iden- 
tical with that found in the rooms around it. 

In his endeavor to reach the older remains before the 
more recent strata had been investigated in the least ade- 
quately, Peters broke through the outer casing of the zig- 
gurrat built of "immense blocks of adobe," in a cavity of 
which he discovered a well-preserved goose egg, and per- 
ceived that there was an older stage-tower of quite a different 
form and much smaller dimensions enclosed within the 
other. By means of a diagonal trench cut through its centre, 
he ascertained its height and characteristic features down to 
the level of Ur-Gur, and came to the conclusion (which, 
however, did not prove correct) that the ziggurrat of this 
ancient monarch was the earliest erected at Nippur. " Wells 
and similar shafts were sunk at other points of the temple," 
especially at the northern and western corners, where he 
reached original constructions of Ashurbanapal (668-626 
B. c.) and Ur-Gur (about 2700 b. c), and discovered scat- 
tered bricks with the names of Esarhaddon (681-668 b. c. ), 
Rammanshumusur (about iioo b. c), Kadashman-Turgu 
(about 1250 b. c), Kurigalzu (about 1300 b. c), Bur-Sin 
of Nisin (about 2500 b. c), in addition to those previously 
found, " showing that many kings of many ages had hon- 
ored the temple of Bel at Nippur." At a place near the 
western corner of the ziggurrat y on the northwestern side, he 
descended through a tunnel some six feet below the plain 
level, striking a terra-cotta drain with a platform at its 
mouth and a wall of plano-convex bricks similar to those 
preceding the time of Ur-Nina at Tello, in which he un- 
earthed also a beautiful, highly polished jade axe-head and 
an inscribed pre-Sargonic clay tablet. ^ 


Immediately in front of the southeastern face of the stage- 
tower, Peters conducted a larger trench with a view of ascer- 
taining the successive strata of the whole temple plateau. 
Below the level of the Parthian castle he disclosed " a mass 
of rubble and debris containing no walls, but great quantities 
of bricks, some of them with green glazed surfaces, and 
many bearing inscriptions of Ashurbanapal." In penetrat- 
ing a few feet farther, he came upon fragments of pave- 
ments and soon afterwards upon the crude brick terrace of 
Ur-Gur. As he saw that the walls and towers of the 
Parthian fortress, which required a more solid foundation, 
descended to this deep level, he unhesitatingly pronounced 
them to have been in existence 2500 years before they 
were built, and " thought it not impossible " that at that 
ancient time two of these formidable fortification towers 
" were columns of the same general significance as the 
Jachin and Boaz which stood before the Temple of 
Yahweh [Jehovah] at Jerusalem " ! While excavating in 
the stratum immediately above Ur-Gur*s platform, he came 
accidentally upon the first three door-sockets and a brick 
stamp of Shargani-shar-ali, soon afterwards identified by me 
as Sargon I, the famous king of Agade, who according to 
Nabonidos lived about 3800 b. c, but who until then had 
been regarded generally as a half-mythical person. In the 
same layer there were found about eighty fragments of 
stone vases and other antiquities inscribed with the names 
of Manishtusu and Urumush (Alusharshid), two kings of 
Kish little known, who lived about the same time ; Lugalzag- 
gisi and Lugalkigubnidudu, two even earlier rulers of Erech, 
and Kntcmenay palesi of Lagash, familiar to us from De 
Sarzec's excavations. In spite of Haynes* very emphatic 
statement to the contrary, Peters claims to have reached 
the real level of Sargon and his predecessors at two points 
within the court of the zi^gurraty in one case descending 
almost sixteen feet below the present plain. Be this as it 


may, the building remains, which he had hitherto disclosed, 
were examined by him far too poorly and unsystematically 
to convey to us even a tolerably clear idea of the revered 
sanctuary of Bel ; and the inscriptions gathered were so 
small or fragmentary that they furnished us little more 
than the names and titles of ancient kings ^.nd patesis. But 
the material obtained sufficed to show that there were con- 
siderable ancient Babylonian ruins, and numerous though 
generally broken cuneiform inscriptions, including even an- 
tiquities contemporaneous with the earliest monuments of 
Tello, contained in the temple hill of NufFar. 

It is characteristic of Peters' work in the second year that 
it was not carried on with the purpose of excavating one or 
two layers at one or more of the principal mounds of the 
enormous site methodically, but with the intention of 
"sounding" as many places as possible, and of discovering 
inscribed objects. Consequently he dug a little here and a 
little there and disturbed many strata at the same time. No 
wonder that he opened trenches also in the southern and 
southeastern ridges of the ziggurrat. Nothing of impor- 
tance came to light in the former, but his labors were crowned 
with a remarkable success in the latter. Examining the plan 
of the ruins of NufFar on p. 305, it will be observed that 
the temple mound (I) is separated from mound IV, which 
I regarded as the probable site of the library, by a deep de- 
pression doubtless representing an old branch of the Shatt 
en-Nil. On the northeastern edge of this gully there is a 
low wall-like elevation, which rises only about thirteen feet 
above the plain. It was in this narrow ridge that Peters 
excavated more than twenty rooms resting on a terrace of 
earth and built of precisely the same material — "unbaked 
bricks of large, almost square blocks," as characterizes the 
late construction on the top of the temple of Bel. Under 
ordinary circumstances he probably would have drawn the 
obvious inference that both belong to the same period. But 


the discovery in one of these rooms of a large number of 
Cassite votive objects — the first great collection of antiqui- 
ties of this dynasty ever found — induced him to ascribe this 
whole row of booths to a time a thousand years earlier than 
it actually was. He formulated a new fantastic theory, ac- 
cording to which these cameos of agate and thin round tablets 
of lapis lazuli, with their brief votive inscriptions, were sold 
as charms to pilgrims, some of them being " a sort of masses 
said for the repose of the soul of such and such a king." 
The true facts are the following. All these interesting 
Cassite relics in agate, magnesite, feldspar, ivory, turquoise, 
malachite, lapis lazuli, and an imitation of the last-mentioned 
three stones in glass, "together with gold, amethyst, por- 
phyry and other material not yet worked," were originally 
contained in a wooden box, traces of which (carbonized frag- 
ments and copper nails) were lying around them. Most, 
if not indeed the whole, of this unique collection had been 
presented by a number of Cassite kings to various shrines 
of the temple of Bel somewhere between 1400 and 1200 
B. c. A thousand years later, when the temple was in ruins, 
an inhabitant of Nippur, and himself a dealer in precious 
stones, searched in the neighborhood of his booth for raw 
material, and discovered them, or purchased them from 
other diggers. He was about to manufacture beads for neck- 
laces and bracelets, rings, charms, and the like out of them,' 

1 A votive cylinder of Kurigalzu in agate had been cut into three beads 
without regard to its legend ; a votive inscription had been erased insuffi- 
ciently from an axe-head in lapis lazuli ; a small block of the same material 
showed a deep incision beneath the inscribed portion, just about to be cut off, 
while several other blocks in lapis lazuli and magnesite had been reduced con- 
siderably from their original weight, as could easily be established. Comp. 
Hilprecht, ** The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania," 
series A, vol. i, part I, nos. 28, ^o, 74, and plate xi, nos. 25 and 28 ; 
part 2, no. 140, and Zeitschrif} fur Jsssrio/ogit\ pp. \c)0^ scqq.y where, 
misled by Peters' reports, I gave an erroneous interpretation of the facts 
treated above. 


when another catastrophe befel Nippur. Several other 
"jeweller's shops" of the Parthian period excavated by our 
expedition at different sections of the ruins established the 
correctness of this interpretation beyond any doubt. And 
when in May, 1900, I spent a few days with the expedition 
at Babylon, Koldewey had found a similar shop in the 
mound of *0(A)mran ibn *Ali, which, besides purely Par- 
thian antiquities, contained several more ancient objects 
from various Babylonian ruins, and for this reason proved 
particularly instructive. No sooner had the German explorer 
submitted the inscribed objects of this shop to me for ex- 
amination, than I recognized and pointed out to him a 
number of Cassite objects, which, according to their mate- 
rial, forms, and inscriptions belonged originally to the temple 
at Nippur, illustrating in an excellent way how the trade in 
" useful " antiquities flourished in Babylonia even two thou- 
sand years before our own time. 

An even more far-reaching discovery, the real significance 
of which lies in its bearing upon the topography of ancient 
Nippur, but again unfortunately not recognized by Peters, 
was made a little to the northwest of these booths. This 
was a shrine of Bur-Sin I,^ the walls of which were built 
of baked brick laid in bitumen, and were still seven to four- 
teen courses high. Consisting of two rooms, it stood upon 
a platform of the same material and faced inward toward 
the entrance to the court of the ziggurrat. According to 
the legends inscribed on the bricks and on two door- 
sockets found in situ^ it had been dedicated to Bel himself 
about 2600 B. c. A pair of clasped hands from a dolerite 
statue similar to those excavated at Tello, a number of in- 
scribed fragments of bas-reliefs, and an archaic mortar dec- 

^ As Thureau-Dangin has recently shown that there was only one dynasty 
of Ur in the third pre-Christian millennium, Bur-Sin of Nisin, hitherto classi- 
fied as Bur-Sin I, must henceforth be called Bur-Sin II, while Bur-Sin of Ur 
takes the first place. 


orated with an eagle and a snake evidently fighting with 
each other were taken from the debris around it, bearing 
witness to the elaborate manner in which the ancient Baby- 
lonians embellished their temples. As we shall have to 
say a few words about the relation of this shrine to the 
ziggurrat later, when we give a summary of the principal 
results of the Philadelphia expedition, we continue at present 
to sketch Dr. Peters' explorations on the other mounds of 

To the east of our first camp we had previously discov- 
ered the remains of tapering brick columns, symmetrically 
arranged around an open square court (VII). It was nat- 
ural to suppose that this peculiar structure belonged to a 
more pretentious building with interesting architectural fea- 
tures, as the mere presence of columns indicated sufficiently. 
Though the present writer had assigned it without hesitation 
to the Seleucido-Parthian period (about 250 b. c), it was 
desirable and necessary to excavate it completely, before the 
more important Babylonian strata beneath it should be ex- 
amined. In order to execute this task, Peters began to 
remove the Jewish and early Arabic houses representing 
the latest traces of human settlements everywhere in the 
precincts of ancient Nippur, and the numerous Parthian and 
Sassanian coffins, sepulchral urns, and pottery drains imme- 
diately below them. The former were characterized by 
Kufic coins, Hebrew, Arabic, and Mandean incantation 
bowls, and other articles of domestic use, which were gen- 
erally found in low and narrow rooms made of mud-bricks. 
We had frequently noticed the outlines of their walls in 
the preceding year, as we walked over the hills in the 
early morning, when the rapidly evaporating humidity of 
the ground drew the saltpetre contained in the clay to the 
surface.^ The tombs, on the other hand, occurred in an 
indescribable confusion in all possible positions and at nearly 

^ Com p. p. 2 8 3, above. 


every depth in the layer of rubbish which filled the space 
between the uppermost settlement and the floor of the build- 
ing just mentioned to the height of six to ten feet. In no 
instance, however, were they discovered below the level of 
the court of columns, while repeatedly the burial-shafts were 
cut through the walls of the rooms grouped around it. Hence 
it follows that these interments must have taken place at a 
time when the imposing building was already in ruins, — in 
other words, at a period commencing shortly before our own 
era, and terminating about the sixth or seventh century 
A. D., if the palace in question was really of Seleucido- Parthian 
origin. This, however, was contested by Peters, who be- 
lieved to have found evidence that the structure was a thou- 
sand years earlier. His work in and around this building 
may be sketched briefly as follows : — 

The open court flanked by columns having been excavated 
completely in 1889, Peters undertook next to search for the 
rooms to which it probably gave light and access. As, in 
consequence of the slope of the hill, a considerable part of 
the ancient building had been washed away in the northeast 
and southeast directions, he concentrated his eflTorts upon an 
examination of the highest section of the mound, exploring 
especially the ruined mass southwest of the colonnade. He 
was soon able to show that, contrary to our previous theory, 
certain pieces of charred wood and small heaps of ashes dis- 
covered along the edge of the court did not belong to sub- 
sequent burials, but were remains of palm beams which ori- 
ginally rested on the columns and stretched across a narrow 
space to the walls of chambers surrounding the former on 
all four sides. We should expect that Peters, once having 
established this interesting fact, would have spared no pains 
to examine a building systematically, which, as late as 1897, 
he described as " the most interesting and ambitious struc- 
ture excavated at Nippur next to the tejnple." But judging, 
as he did, the success of his expedition mainly " by the dis- 


covery of inscribed objects or failure to discover them," ^ and 
nervously endeavoring to secure them at all hazards, he 
unfortunately adopted the injurious and antiquated methods 
of Layard and Rassam, which I have characterized above,^ 
also for the exploration of the west section of the ruins. In- 
stead of removing layer after layer of all the superincumbent 
rubbish, he excavated only portions of seven rooms with 
their adjoining corridors by digging along their walls and 
leaving the central mass untouched. And when even this pro- 
cess proved too slow and tedious, he drove tunnels into the 
mound above and below the floor of the building, which 
afterwards caved in, ruined part of the construction, and 
caused infinite trouble to himself and his successors.^ At 
the same time the excavated earth was not carried to a pre- 
viously explored place at a safe distance, but was dumped on 
the same mound, and in part on an unexplored section 
of the very ruins which he was desirous to examine, and 
whence the present writer had to remove it ten years later. 
We cannot, therefore, be surprised that the results finally 
obtained were correspondingly meagre and unsatisfactory. 
Peters ascertained that a building of considerable extent 
and importance, constructed " of unbaked brick in large 
blocks,'* was buried there ; he determined its west corner, 

^ On p. 202 of his ** Nippur,*' vol. ii, Peters makes the committee in 
Philadelphia responsible for his methods of exploration. As I was secretary 
of that committee, I should know of ** the constant demand of the home 
committee*' for inscribed objects. But there is no such ** demand *' con- 
tained anvwhere in our minutes, nor do I remember anv such order ever 
having been sent through me to Dr. Peters. The true attitude of the com- 
mittee is illustrated by the fact that it was ** favorably impressed with the 
results accomplished by the first ycar*s campaign *' (comp. Peters, /. r. , vol. 
ii, p. 5 ), and that ten years later it supported me energetically in my efforts 
to change the obnoxious methods of excavation inaugurated by Peters and 
adopted by Haynes. 

^ Comp. pp. 103, scy., 194, st'^.f 321, j/*^., 328, se^, 

^ Comp. Peters, /. c, vol. ii, pp. 179, sty/., and the plan facing p. 178. 


traced its southwestern boundary wall for 164 feet, found 
several uninscribed door-sockets in sitUy and inferred from 
the numerous remains of charred wood, burned barley, and 
large red spots seen everywhere on the walls, doubtless 
due to the effects of intense heat, that the whole complex 
must have been destroyed by fire. Thus far we can follow 
him without difficulty. But though nothing but late anti- 
quities * had been discovered within this enclosure, he arrived 
at the startling conclusion that the large structure was a Cas- 
site palace, "erected somewhere between 1450 and 1250 
B. c." How was this possible ? These are his arguments: 
On the one hand, he unearthed a nest of about three hun- 
dred fine clay tablets and many fragments dated in the 
reigns of Kurigalzu, Kadashman-Turgu and Nazi-Marut- 
tash, lying in the loose earth outside the southwest wall of 
the building in question, several yards away from it, and 
slightly below its level. On the other hand, he saw a build- 
ing with similar columns on the top of a mound otherwise 
unknown, called Abu Adhem, a little to the south ofjokha. 
As antiquities of a period preceding 2000 b. c. had been 
picked up by various travellers at Jokha and other neigh- 
boring hills, which are situated " in the sphere of influence 
ofTello,*'*- he concluded — strange to say — that the build- 
ing at Abu Adhem " belonged to the middle of the third 
millennium b. c.*'^ I confess my inability to follow this 
kind of reasoning or to appreciate his " evidence of the sur- 
rounding mounds." If, indeed, the colonnade of Abu 
Adhem were as ancient as Dr. Peters supposes it to be, and 

^ Except the fragment of a statue in dolerite (a woman holding a Iamb, 
comp. Peters, /. r., vol. ii, p. 184), which belonged to the third pre- 
Christian millennium. Being out of its original place, it was discovered in a 
Jewish house on the top of the hill. 

^ A ruin which, by the way, also has its Seleucido- Parthian palace lying 
on the top of the temple mound. 

* As to Peters*s naive arguments, comp. his ** Nippur," vol. ii, pp. 
186, se^^. 


not, rather, Parthian, as everything indicates, why did he 
not make the columns of Nippur, which are " precisely like 
them,'* precisely as old ? Apparently because the discov- 
ery of Cassite tablets outside the large complex did not 
allow this. But are we on their account justified in claim- 
ing the structure as Cassite? Certainly not. On the con- 
trary, they prove that the Cassite houses once occupying this 
site must have been in ruins at the time when the palace 
was erected, and that consequently the latter and its brick 
terrace, for the construction of which the older stratum had 
to be disturbed and levelled, cannot be contemporaneous 
with the Cassite rulers mentioned above, but must be of a 
considerably more recent date. 

The exploration of the large and important building re- 
mains grouped around the ziggurrat and " the court of col- 
umns ** had formed one of Peters' principal tasks during 
his second campaign. But his hope of discovering many 
inscribed Babylonian tablets while excavating these ruins was 
not to be realized. To find these eagerly-sought treasures 
somewhere in the vast mounds he had conducted extensive 
excavations from the beginning in several other parts of the 
ruins. Above all, he most naturally had directed his atten- 
tion to the triangular mound (IV)^ to the south of the 
temple, which had yielded almost all the tablets obtained by 
the first expedition. He now "riddled it with trenches 
everywhere"- and without difficulty secured about 2CXX5 
tablets more of the same general type as those discovered 
previously — business documents, school exercises, and nu- 
merous tablets of a strictlv scientific or literary character, 
especially astronomical, mathematical, and medical. As, 
however, Peters did not possess the necessary Assyriological 
knowledge to determine their age and contents, and as, 
moreover, these tablets were never deposited in any large 

^ Comp. the plan of the ruins on p. 305, above. 
' Comp. Peters, /.r. , vol. ii, p. 199. 


number together, but "seemed to lie loose in the earth " 
or " confused among buildings with which they did not be- 
long," ^ he came to the conclusion that this hill with its two 
principal strata, which I had declared to be the probable site 
of the temple library, was " the home of well-to-do citizens, 
rather than the site of the great public building of the city," 
and abandoned it towards the middle of March, "because 
he had ceased to find tablets in paying quantities." 

It was about the same time that the southeastern wing of 
the mounds on the other side of the canal (VI, and the 
ridge immediately to the northwest of it) began to yield 
tablets " in an extraordinary manner." The prospect of a 
more rapid increase of the coveted inscriptions being thus 
given, all the " tablet diggers " were transferred at once to 
this new promising locality. Before many weeks had elapsed, 
more than 5,000 tablets and fragments had been gathered, 
so that with regard to the mere number of clay documents 
recovered, Peters might well be pleased with the success 
which he had scored. Without troubling himself about the 
methodical examination and removal of the highest strata, 
which in the previous year had yielded contracts of the 
late Babylonian and Persian periods, he cut " sounding- 
trenches at various points in the interior, where the water 
had washed out deep gullies." In every instance he came 
upon rooms of mud brick containing " quantities of tab- 
lets," mixed with earth and grotesque clay figures of Bel and 
his consort. There was in particular one chamber, thirty- 
two feet long by sixteen feet wide, which was literally filled 
with them. So numerous were the tablets there " that it 
took thirty or forty men four days to dig them out and 
bring them into camp." For the most part they were un- 
baked, and lay in fragments on the floor. But as the 
ashes observed in connection with them clearly indicated, 
they originally " had been placed around the walls of the 

^ Comp. ibidem y pp. 200-203. 

Tfrra^uHi Inugn uf BrI and his Cunxitt 


room on wooden shelves," which broke or were burned, 
when the house was destroyed and the roof fell in. All 
the tablets discovered in these rooms and in this ridge in 
general are so-called private contracts and official records, 
such as receipts, tax-lists, statements of income and ex- 
pense written in behalf of the government and of the 
temple,^ and, as a rule,^ are dated according to the reigns 
of the last kings of Ur (about 2600 b. c), the first dynasty 
of Babylon (about 2300-2000 b. c), Rim-Sin of Larsa (a 
contemporary of Hammurabi), and especially several kings 
of the Cassite dynasty (about 1400-1200 b. c). The older 
documents are valuable chiefly for their closing lines con- 
taining brief references to the principal historical events, after 
which the single years of the monarchs were called and 
counted. The tax-lists from the latter half of the second 
millennium are of importance because of their bearing upon 
the chronology of the Cassite kings, and because they give 
us a first insight into the civil administration of Central 
Babylonia under those foreign conquerors of whom previ- 
ously we knew little more than their names, and these often 
enough only very imperfectly. 

Peters confesses frankly : " My trenches here were dug 
principally for tablets/' ^ Little attention, therefore, could be 
paid to the fundamental question, whether at the different 
periods'of its occupation this ridge was covered with "ordi- 
nary houses '* only,^ or whether the single rooms formed an 
organic whole, an annex of the temple, a large government 

^ Peters' statement, /. c, vol. ii, p. 212, is one-sided and incorrect. 

* There are only about fifty to one hundred tablets among them which are 
dated in the reigns of Assyrian, neo-Babylonian, and Persian kings. They 
were taken from the upper stratum. 

* L, c,y vol. ii, p. 212. 

* Peters' statement '* In no case did we find structures of any import- 
ance " (p. 211) is of little \'alue. His comparison of the "ordinary houses " 
discovered in this ridge with those unearthed in mound 1\' illustrates his 
curious conception of the character of Babylonian public buildings. 


building with registering offices, a kind of bazaar, or both, 
as seems to result with great probability from a study of the 
tablets and from later discoveries made in this neighborhood 
by the present writer. Indeed, it was a dark day when 
Peters decided to excavate the ruins of NufFar without the 
aid of a specialist, whether Assyriologist or architect. For- 
tunately Pognon, then French consul at Baghdad, occasion- 
ally lent a helping hand in determining the age and contents 
of some of the better preserved inscriptions from squeezes 
and photographs submitted to him,^ and Peters could con- 
gratulate himself that at the time of his greatest need a 
Hungarian engineer, in the employ of the Ottoman gov- 
ernment, Coleman d'Emey, appeared suddenly in the camp 
to hunt in the Babylonian swamps. He was easily induced 
to devote part of his time to a renewed survey of the prin- 
cipal ruins and to the preparation of plans of the excavated 
walls and rooms of the two Parthian palaces. It is true, ac- 
cording to the director's own statement, the real merits of his 
clrawings are to be judged leniently,^ but in connection with 
Peters' scanty notes they enabled us at least to form a gen- 
eral idea of the character and disposition of the latest con- 
structions on the temple mound. 

On the third day of May the excavations of the second 
campaign came to a more peaceful ending than those in the 
previous year. Before the trenches were abandoned,^ Peters 
very wisely decided to send part of his material out of the 
country, " to insure the preservation of something in case 
of disaster." For in consequence of his stubborn refusal 
to pay the often demanded blood-money to the Sa*id, the 
disappointed tribe very naturally sought to indemnify itself 
in another way. A first boat-load of antiquities had left 
NufFar safely towards the end of April. At the same time 
Haynes, who not without reason feared being waylaid and 

^ Comp. Peters, /. r., vol. ii, pp. 51 and 280. 
2 Comp. Peters, /. c, vol. ii, pp. 90, se^^. 


plundered by a ghazUy " stole away in the night," and 
" pressed through to Hilla in hot haste." To prevent an 
attack planned by the enemy upon his camp for the night 
preceding the final departure of the expedition, Peters " re- 
sorted once more to stratagem, and gave a second exhibition 
of fireworks," which again had the desired effect. The Sa'id 
then hoped to intercept him as he left the territory of the 
*Afej, and try to extort blackmail. But the American 
slipped out of their hands before they realized that he had 
gone. As soon as all the workmen from Jumjuma had been 
sent in detachments through the marshes and everything 
was packed upon the last boats, including the Turkish com- 
missioner and the zabttycy Peters and Noorian, accompanied 
by some trusted Arab laborers and a personal servant, turned 
to the village of Hajji Tarfa to examine the more promi- 
nent mounds in the south. With a door-socket of Gimil- 
Sin of Ur (about 2550 b. c.) picked up at Muqayyar, and 
with another of the same monarch and a whole box of fine 
tablets, through a fortunate accident discovered at Jokha after 
a little scratching of the surface, they returned to the north 
by way of Samawa, Nejef, and Kerbela, reaching Baghdad 
on the 7th of June, 1890. About a week later Peters 
was on his way to the Mediterranean coast, returning to 
America in November, while Havnes and Noorian left the 
country separately by different routes and at different times 
in the course of the same year. 

Third Campaign^ jSgj-jS(^6. In view of the large num- 
ber of inscribed objects unearthed by him, Peters felt greatly 
encouraged as to future explorations at Nuffar, and looked 
upon his method of excavating in a somewhat different light 
from that in which it has been viewed bv others. He was so 
much pleased with the tangible results which he had to show 
that before leaving the ruins he wrote to the committee 
urging early resumption of the work under Haynes alone 
according to the principles laid down by him. As the two 


men were in entire accord as to the feasibility of such a plan/ 
and as two members of the committee " warmly advocated 
it," • promising to work towards its realization if the Otto- 
man government should apportion a sufficient number of 
antiquities to the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Peters' 
methods of exploring soon had another chance of being 
tested with regard to their actual merits. For upon the re- 
commendation of Hamdy Bey, who had not forgotten the 
extraordinary difficulties and losses of our first expedition 
and the praiseworthy energy and perseverance displayed 
by the second, the Sultan presented to the American uni- 
versity all those tablets and archaeological objects not required 
to complete the collections of the Imperial Museum. 

As soon as the present writer had sufficiently recovered 
from a long and severe illness contracted at Nuffar, which 
had made him an invalid for almost a year, he commenced 
the study of the newly acquired cuneiform material and 
reported on its great interest and value. In the spring of 
1892 the committee decided upon another expedition, the 
details of which were arranged "at a meeting in Newport 
between Dr. Pepper, Mr. K. W. Clark, Mr. Haynes, and 
Dr. Peters."' 

The last-mentioned gentleman "drew up with Havnes the 
plan of work, and drafted general instructions for the con- 
duct of the excavations," '^ while it was left to Professor Hil- 
precht to prepare a list of all the known Babylonian kings 
and patesis in cuneiform writing with an accurate reproduc- 
tion of the palxographical peculiarities of the Nuffar inscrip- 
tions, and to write down such additional hints as might 
enable Haynes to find and to identify the names of the 
principal rulers on the different monuments. 

About the same time a committee on publications was 

^ Comp. Peters' own story, /. r. , vol. ii, pp. 342, seq. 
* Comp. Peters, /. r., vol. ii, pp. 369, scqq. 
^ Comp. Peters, /. r. , vol. ii, p. 371. 


formed with Mr. C. H. Clark as chairman, and H. V. Hil- 
precht as secretary and editor-in-chief. On the basis of a de- 
tailed plan submitted by the latter, the results of the expedi- 
tions were authorized to be published in four distinct series. 
With the aid of the American Philosophical Society the first 
volume of Series A appeared in 1893, ^^^ ^ second part 
in 1896, while two years later (1898), through the deep 
interest of a public-spirited citizen of Philadelphia, Mr. 
Eckley Coxe, Jr., the University of Pennsylvania was ena- 
bled to issue a third volume under its own name.^ As the 
most important antiquities had remained in Constantinople, 
it soon became necessary for the committee to despatch its 
editor to the Turkish capital for the examination of those 
antiquities. While engaged in this work, in 1893, ^^ was 
approached by the administration of the Imperial Ottoman 
Museum with the proposition to reorganize its Babylonian 
section during his summer vacations in the course of the 
following years. He accepted the honorable task,' but in 

* '* The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, edited 
by H. y, Hilprccht, Series A : Cuneiform Texts.*' The volumes thus far 
published are vol. i, "Old Babylonian Inscriptions, chiefly from Nippur," 
by the editor, part i, 1893, part 2, 1896; and vol. ix, "Business Docu- 
ments of Muraj^hu Sons of Nippur,** by H. V. Hilprecht and A. T. Clay, 
1898. Several other volumes are in the course of preparation. A more rapid 
publication was hitherto impos>iblc, owing to the extraordinary difficulties con- 
nected with the deciphering and restoration of the fragmentary inscriptions 
fcomp. vol. i, part 2, plates 36—49) and the faithful reproduction of all their 
pahcographical peculiarities by hand, and no less to the unusually heavy duties 
of the editor, who until i 899 was without an assistant in his manifold labors 
as academical teacher and curator of two museums, not to mention the fact 
that since 1893 he had to work almost every year in three different parts of 
the world, spending part of hi> time in America, part in Constantinople, and 
part in the interior of Asia Minor. In 1899 Dr. Clay was called as his 
assistant, and at the end of 1901 further steps were taken by the Board of 
Trustees and the Committee of the Expedition to relieve him and to secure his 
principal time for the scientific study and publication of the results obtained at 

- Comp. pp. 69 and below, under ** Turkish Gleanings at Abu Habba." 


declining the liberal remuneration offered, asked for the 
favor of this opportunity to show his personal appreciation 
of the energetic support which the Ottoman government 
had granted to the Philadelphia expeditions. With especial 
gratitude I testify here also to the extraordinary help which 
our subsequent scientific missions have received from the 
same government. Thanks to the gracious personal protec- 
tion which His Majesty the Sultan henceforth extended to 
our various labors in his domain, and to the lively and cor- 
dial interest with which his ministers and the two directors 
of the Imperial Museum accompanied the progress of the 
work in Constantinople and at Nuffar, our ways were 
smoothed everywhere in the Ottoman empire. As often as 
I needed a firman, it was readily granted, while besides. His 
Majesty, desiring to give special proof of his personal sat- 
isfaction with the confidence thus established and with the 
services rendered, most generously and repeatedly bestowed 
magnificent gifts of antiquities upon the present writer, 
which subsequently were presented to the University of 
Pennsylvania, making the scientific value of its Babylonian 
collections not only equal but in many respects superior to 
those of the British Museum. 

On August 285 1892, Haynes left America, spending the 
rest of the year in Europe. In the first week of January, 
1893, he landed at Alexandretta and travelled the ordinary 
route down the Euphrates valley to Baghdad. Towards the 
middle of March we find him at Hilla. In order to avoid 
the territory of the Sa'id and to pay a brief visit to the 
qaimmaqam of Diwaniye, he hired three large native boats 
(meshhufs) and sailed, accompanied by thirty-five skilled 
laborers and six zabtiye^ who were to remain with him, 
through the Daghara canal to Suq el-*Afej. Cordially re- 
ceived by Hajji Tarfa, to whom he presented a gold watch 
from the committee in recognition of his past services, he 
appealed again to him for protection during his subsequent 


^M ^IJ^H 


Stay at the ruins. The two principal shaikhs of the Hamza, 
'Abud el-Hamid and Hamid el-Birjiid, in whose territory 
the mounds of Nuffar are situated, were summoned to the 
guest-chamber {mudhif) of the ruler of all the 'Afej. But 
having carefully laid their own scheme, through which they 
hoped to squeeze the largest possible revenues out of the 
pockets of their old friends from beyond " the great upper 
sea in the West," they did not respond very eagerly to the 
call of the messenger. When finally they appeared in 
the course of the following day, both declared that it was 
utterly impossible to guarantee the safety of the expedition 
without a permanent guard of forty men from their own 
tribes. After much haggling the two interested parties 
agreed upon ten Arabs as a sufficient number to insure the 
welfare of Haynes and his party. Two hours later the 
explorer arrived with his boats at Berdi's old village, then 
governed temporarily by the latter's younger brother, *Asi, 
with whom he pitched his tents for a few days until he had 
selected a suitable site for his own camp at NufFar. 

After an absence of nearly three years he walked, on 
March 20, for the first time again to the ruins, a mile and 
a half from *Asi's tower and reed huts. As the third expe- 
dition was expected to remain considerably longer in the 
field than either of the two previous ones, it became neces- 
sary to erect a more solid structure than mere tents and 
sarifaSy a building which should afford coolness in the sum- 
mer, shelter during the rainstorms, and protection against 
fire and the thievish inclinations of the Arabs. In the plain 
to the south of the ruins, not very far from Peters' last 
enclosure, Haynes marked out a spot, seventy feet long 
and fifty feet wide, on which, with the aid of his men from 
Hilla, he constructed a meftul or mud house with sloping 
walls and without external windows. By the middle of 
April the primitive but comfortable quarters w^ere finished, 
combining " the features of a castle, a store-house and a 


dwelling for the members of the party." And it was " with 
a perfect delight " that they all spent the first night within 
real walls, " free from the prying crowds of curious and 
covetous idlers '* who looked upon every box of provisions 
as being filled with marvellous treasures of gold and silver. 

About the same time (April ii) the excavations were 
started in the enormous ridge which stretches along the 
southwest bank of the Shatt en-Nil (VI-VIII on the plan 
of the ruins, p. 305), not only because it was nearest to the 
house, but because a large number of tablets had been dis- 
covered there by the second expedition. In accordance with 
instructions received from Philadelphia, this time Haynes 
employed only a maximum force of fifty to sixty laborers 
whom he could control without difficulty. Under these cir- 
cumstances the work proceeded naturally much more slowly 
than under Peters. Nevertheless before fifteen weeks were 
over he had collected nearly eight thousand tablets and 
fragments from his various shafts, tunnels, and trenches. But 
toward the end of August the inscribed documents began to 
flow less abundantly, so that he regarded it best to transfer 
all his men to the temple mound, which he explored till April 
4, 1894, without any serious interruption. As we prefer to 
consider later and coherently the whole archaeological work 
of the three consecutive years which Haynes spent in Baby- 
lonia, we confine ourselves at present to a brief statement 
of the general course of the expedition and of the principal 
events which affected the life and efficiency of the party 
during its long sojourn among the ^'^fej. 

At the beginning of 1894 it seemed for a while uncertain 
whether the home committee could secure the necessary 
financial support to authorize the continuation of the Baby- 
lonian mission for another year. A special effort was there- 
fore made by several of its members, including the present 
writer, to raise new funds which should enable the expedition 
to remain in the field until a certain task had been accom- 


plished. But the telegraph wires between Constantinople and 
Mosul being broken for almost two weeks, Haynes had left 
the mounds with about fifty large cases of antiquities (half 
of them containing slipper-shaped coffins and bricks), before 
the news of the fortunate turn which things had taken in 
Philadelphia could reach him. On June 4 he was back 
again in his trenches at Nuffar. During the few intervening 
weeks which he spent at Baghdad he had met a young 
American, Joseph A. Meyer, a graduate student in the de- 
partment of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology, Boston, who held a travelling fellowship for 
two years and was on his way from India to the Mediter- 
ranean coast. Beginning to realize by this time that it would 
be impossible for him to excavate the temple complex, with 
its many complicated problems, without the constant assist- 
ance of a trained architect, Haynes readily induced Meyer 
to change his plans and to accompany him without a salary 
for a year to the ruins of NufFar. 

A second time Providence itself, unwilling to see the 
most renowned sanctuary of all Babylonia cut up and grad- 
ually ruined by tunnels and perpendicular shafts, provided 
the much needed specialist, who through Peters' unfortunate 
recommendation had been withheld so long from the expe- 
dition. Indeed, the young architect seemed eminently quali- 
fied for the peculiar duties required of him. He was deeply 
interested in the historical branch of his science; he had 
gathered considerable practical experience through his study 
of the ancient monuments in Kurope, Egypt, Turkey and 
India; he was an accurate draughtsman and enthusiastically 
devoted to his subject ; and, further than this, he proved a 
genial and faithful companion to Haynes, who after his last 
vear's isolation from all educated men naturally longed for 
a personal exchange of thoughts and the uplifting association 
with a sympathetic countryman, to whom he could speak in 
his own language. The influence of Meyer's active mind 


and technical knowledge upon the work at NufFar was felt 
immediately. Haynes' reports, previously and afterwards 
often lacking in clearness and conciseness and devoted more 
to the description of threatening dangers, illness of the ser- 
vants, and other interesting though secondary questions than 
to the exposition of archaeological facts, aimed now at set- 
ting forth the characteristic features of the work in which he 
was engaged and at illustrating the weekly progress of the 
excavations by accompanying measurements, diagrams, and 
drawings. In order to derive the greatest benefit for the 
expedition from Meyer's presence, the exploration of the 
temple mound was made the principal object of their united 
efforts, and with the exception of a few weeks in September, 
all the laborers were concentrated around the ziggurrat. The 
trenches grew deeper every day, and Ashurbanapal's lofty 
terraces rose gradually out of the encumbering mass of later 
additions. The hot and trying Babylonian summer, more 
uncomfortable and inconvenient than dangerous to health, 
passed by without any noteworthy incident. But when the 
cooler nights indicated the approaching fall and brought 
with them the usual colds and chills frequently complicated 
by dysentery and malarial poisoning of the human system, 
Meyer's weakened body proved unequal to the demands 
made upon it. 

At the end of September his physical powers of endur- 
ance gradually gave way. For seven weeks more he en- 
deavored hard to overcome the effects of the malignant 
disease and remained faithfully at his post. By the end of 
November his condition had become so critical that not- 
withstanding the extraordinary hardships of the journey, it 
became necessary to convey him by boat to Hilla and from 
there in a covered litter to Baghdad. But his case was 
beyond human aid long before he left NufFar. On De- 
cember 20, 1894, he died in the house of Dr. Sundberg, 
Haynes' successor as United States consul at Baghdad, like 


George Smith having fallen a brave soldier in the cause of 
science. He was buried in the little European cemetery 
of the city on the banks of the Tigris. In the course of time 
the sandstorms of *Iraq may efface his solitary grave. But 
what matters it ? His bones rest in classic soil, where the 
cradle of the race once stood, and the history of the resur- 
rection of ancient Babylonia will not omit his name from 
its pages. 

The reaction of this sudden and serious loss upon the 
mind and activity of Haynes was soon apparent. He was 
alone once more on the vast ruins of an inhospitable region, 
directing his workmen in the trenches by day and develop- 
ing negatives or packing antiquities at his " castle " in the 
evening. Feeling his inability to continue the exploration 
of the temple mound without technical advice and assistance, 
he wisely transferred his entire force to the southeastern 
extremity of the previously mentioned ridge on the other 
side of the canal (VI) and undertook to unearth a sufficient 
quantity of tablets to meet Peters' growing demands for 
inscribed material. He was successful again beyond expec- 
tation. At the beginning of January, 1895, ^^ ^^^ gathered 
several thousand tablets and fragments and had obtained a 
fair collection of potter}', seal cylinders, domestic imple- 
ments, and personal ornaments mostly found in the loose 
earth or taken from graves in which the upper twenty feet 
of rubbish abound everywhere at NufFar. But unfortunately 
his methods of excavating and his weekly reports began to 
show the same deficiencies which characterized them before 
Meyer's timely arrival. We learn from them little beyond 

• • • 

the fact that a larger or smaller " lot of tablets," enough to 
fill so and so many " cases of the usual size," had been dis- 
covered. Here and there an especially interesting antiquity 
or the number of tombs opened and the coffins prepared for 
transport are mentioned. Occasionally we even meet with 
some such statement as : "In nearly all of the trenches crude 


bricks, eleven inches square and four inches thick, occur. 
They are finely modelled bricks, and are firm and solid, as 
they are taken from their walls. They are the prettiest 
crude bricks I have anywhere seen." But we look in vain 
for ^n attempt to describe these remarkable walls, to trace 
their course, to measure their dimensions, to draw their 
ground plan, or to ascertain the prominent features and ori- 
ginal purpose of the rooms and houses which he was clear- 
ing all the while of their contents. 

It was the depressive and enervating effect of the solitude 
of the Babylonian desert and marshes which began seriously 
to tell upon Haynes. The rapidly growing fear of con- 
stant danger from " greedy " and revengeful Arabs, which 
was the natural outcome of the former, took hold of him in 
an alarming manner. " The great strain of maintaining 
security of life and property is a weariness to the flesh." 
" The atmosphere is thickening with danger, and I have 
been compelled to appeal to the governor general of Bagh- 
dad for protection." " I am getting worn out with the very 
intensity of the increasing strain and struggle." " I have 
never seen the time at Nuflfar when the danger was so great 
as it is in these wearisome days of intrigue and fanaticism, 
of murder and robbing." These are only a few of the sen- 
tences which I quote from as many diff^erent letters written 
in February and March, 1895. Three years later Haynes 
viewed the conditions around NufFar more calmly and in 
a more objective light, for he did not hesitate for a moment 
to take his wife among the same Arabs. And it is a remark- 
able fact, deserving special notice, that in all the ten years 
during which the expedition has owned its house {meftul) 
at the edge of the Babylonian swamps, no attempt has ever 
been made to open its door, to cut a hole into its walls, or 
to steal its furniture and stores, whether the building was 
occupied or left to the care of the neighboring tribes. 

There can be no doubt that excavations carried on in the 


territory of the warlike 'Afej or in other remote districts of 
Mraq el-*Arabi are even to-day beset with certain dangers, 
for the greater part unknown to explorers of ruins like 
Babylon, Abu Habba, Tello, and others which are situated 
near the caravan road or larger towns protected by a strong 
garrison. The experience gathered by the first two Phila- 
delphia expeditions, and the stories told by different travel- 
lers who visited Nuffar prove it sufficiently. But conditions 
have considerably changed from what they previously were, 
and every year the feeling of the Arabs has grown more 
friendly towards us. In 1894 Haynes could state with 
great satisfaction that the entire community from shaikh to 
the humblest individual openly rejoiced over his speedy 
return, ascribing the copious rains, the abundant crops, and 
all other blessings to his presence among them. Besides 
Hajji Tarfa himself, the powerful and renowned chief of all 
the *Afej, had guaranteed the safety of the new expedition. 
And further than this, the two principal shaikhs of the 
Hamza had furnished the necessary guards, while the Otto- 
man government had stationed six zabtiye at the mounds, 
ready to increase their number at any time. The only real 
cause for anxiety was our blood-feud with the SaMd, but a 
pair of boots and a bright-colored garment which soon after 
his arrival in 1893 Haynes had sent as a present to their 
shaikh Sigab (generally pronounced Sugub), had been favor- 
ably received by him, and seem to have reconciled his tribes- 
men temporarily, for the explorer was never molested by 
them during his long stay at Nuffar. 

And yet in further explanation of Haynes' extraordinary 
state of nervousness, it must not be forgotten that the pe- 
culiar climate and the frequent unforeseen disturbances of 
the country where conditions and persons sometimes change 
kaleidoscopically, require the full attention of every foreigner 
at all times, especially when he is alone, as Haynes generally 
was during the third campaign. In the first summer of his 


long Stay he was greatly hampered in his movements through 
the repeated illness of his servants, while at the same time 
cholera was reported to be advancing from Nasriye and 
Hilla. It really never reached the camp, but the mere an- 
ticipation of a possible outbreak of the dreaded disease 
weighed heavily upon him. Moreover, the Arabs were fre- 
quently on the war path. Sometimes the whole region 
around Daghara and Suq ePAfej was in a state of great un- 
rest and excitement, no less than fifteen or sixteen petty wars 
being carried on between the various tribes within one year. 
One day the * Afej quarrelled with the Elbuder, who lived to 
the south of the swamps, about disputed lands. Another time 
the Hamza were at loggerheads with Hajji Tarfa over re- 
venues from certain rice fields. Then again the former fought 
with the Behahtha on some other matter. And at the be- 
ginning of December, 1893, when the capital of the sanjak 
was transferred from Hilla to Diwaniye, to protect the newly 
acquired crown property of the Sultan near Daghara and 
Suq el-*Afej, and to reduce the rebellious *Afej to submis- 
sion, an unusually hot battle took place between the latter 
and the Behahtha, in which seventy-one warriors were slain. 
Though the sound of firing could often be heard in the 
trenches of NufFar, these turmoils never threatened the 
safety of the expedition in a serious way, and they afl^ected 
its efficiency directly only in so far as it became sometimes 
difficult to find a neutral messenger to carry the weekly mail 
through the infested territory, or to obtain suitable substi- 
tutes for native basket men, who in obedience to the sum- 
mons of their shaikhs would suddenly throw down their 
peaceful implements, seize their clubs and antiquated match- 
locks, improvise a war-song, and with loud yells run away to 
the assistance of their fighting comrades. 

It unfortunately happened also that in the years 1894 and 
1895 the *Afej swamps, always a favorite place of refuge, 
a regular land of Nod (Gen. 4: 16), for dissatisfied ele- 


ments and the doubtful characters of modern Babylonia, 
harbored a famous Kurdish outlaw and bold robber, Captain 
( yiiS'bashi) Ahmed Bey, a deserter from the Turkish army, 
who during eighteen months terrorized all travellers between 
Hilla and Baghdad and extended his unlawful excursions 
even to the districts of Kud(t) el-*Amara on the banks of 
the Tigris, until after many futile efforts on the part of the 
government he was finally captured and killed by an Arab. 
In order to prevent any combined action against himself by 
the consuls, he had been very careful never to attack any 
foreigner. It is therefore reasonably certain to assume that 
he would not have dared to molest an American who, more- 
over, was the especial protege and guest of the same tribes 
with whom he generally hid himself and his plunder. But 
troubled in mind as Haynes was in those days by the weight 
of responsibility and by numerous other causes, the tempo- 
rary- presence of the Kurd in the neighborhood of Nuffar 
increased his nervous condition and sleeplessness to such a 
degree that he smelled danger and complots against his 
life everywhere, and, to quote his own words, looked upon 
" every bush as concealing a waiting robber." What won- 
der that under these circumstances the daily petty annoy- 
ances from the good-natured and hard-working but undis- 
plined laborers, who frequently behaved more like a crowd 
of frolicsome and naughty children than like real men, 
began to worry him bevond measure ; that their occasional 
small pilferings of seal cylinders; a short-lived and almost 
ridiculous strike of the native basketmen misled by a dis- 
loyal overseer from Jumjuma ; the broken leg of a foreman 
injured by falling bricks, or the more serious sudden cave- 
in of a deep undermined trench and the subsequent death 
of another workman — occurrences familiar to him from the 
previous expeditions — should in his mind assume an im- 
portance entirely out of proportion to their real signifi- 


The committee at home was not slow in recognizing the 
real cause of this growing melancholy on the part of its 
delegate at NufFar, and the detrimental influence which 
it began to exercise upon the work of the archaeological 
mission entrusted to him. At first favorably impressed 
with the contents of the reports and the character of the 
drawings received during the six months of Haynes* and 
Meyer's common activity on the ruins, it had authorized 
the two explorers to continue their excavations till Febru- 
ary, 1896, a decision which was in entire accord with the 
former's frequently expressed personal desire. But at the 
end of March, 1895, when it became fully aware of all 
the details which threatened to undermine the health of its 
representative, it advised him by cable to return at once 
to America for rest, and to resume his work later. How- 
ever, the encouragement drawn from the committee's sym- 
pathetic letters, the brief visit of an Englishman returning 
from India to London by way of NufFar, and the approach- 
ing spring with its new life and tonic air seem to have re- 
vived Haynes' depressed spirits so completely that he now 
viewed the danger as practically over, and immediately asked 
permission to remain a year longer among the *Afej, at the 
same time earnestly pleading for a postponement of the an- 
nounced despatch of an architect until another expedition 
should be organized. This last-mentioned recommendation, 
well meant as it doubtless was, could not be received favorablv 
in Philadelphia, where every member of the board of the 
expedition by that time understood the need of having spe- 
cialists in the field to assist Haynes. Mr. E. W. Clark began 
to take matters into his own hands, and a sub-committee 
consisting of himself and the present writer, later increased 
by the addition of the treasurer, Mr. John Sparhawk, Jr., 
was appointed to engage the services of an experienced 
architect, and to devise such other means as should lead 
to more eflicient and scientific exploration of the ruins and 


to the complete success of the expedition. This committee 
has been in session at stated times until the present day. 

In the meanwhile Haynes continued to deepen his 
trenches and to extend his tunnels in the long ridge on 
the west side of the ancient canal as fast as he could, en- 
deavoring to exhaust the supply of tablets in this section 
sufficiently to create the general impression at the time of 
his departure that no more tablets were to be found at 
NufFar. For the constant rumors of whole donkey loads 
of tablets passing through Suq el-*Afej ^ on their way from 
Tello, and the great eagerness with which, in many places, 
Arabs had abandoned their flocks and cultivation for the 
more profitable secret diggings at De Sarzec's inexhaust- 
ible ruin, where the business archives of the temple had 
been found almost intact, foreshadowed the fate of every 
other Babylonian ruin upon which the antiquity dealers of 
Hilla and Baghdad might cast their covetous eyes. By 
the middle of July the proper moment seemed to have 
come to withdraw all the workmen from those attractive 
mounds which had been Haynes' great tablet mine in 
the past, yielding him nearly nineteen thousand inscrip- 
tions in the course of the third expedition. About the 
sixth part of these documents represents complete tablets, 
while the other fifteen thousand are more or less damaged 
and mutilated, including many fragments of ver\' small size. 

The last half year of the period set apart for the explora- 
tion of NufFar commenced. It was devoted almost exclu- 

^ Before the Arabs understood the full value of these treasures, thev sold 
them at ridiculously low prices to the dealers, who sometimes made 5,000 
per cent., and even considerably more, on them. According to exaggerated 
rumors, a woman was doing the marketing for her tribesmen, selling the 
tablets at the uniform rate of a ^uf^j (a round boat) full for one Persian kran, 
then worth about two and a half Turkish piastres, or eleven cents in United 
States currencv. This clandestine business continued at Tello, until at Hamdv 
Bey's representation the government ordered the ** tablet mine " to be 
closed, and even placed a temporary guard over it. 


sively to an examination of the southeastern part of Bint el- 
Amir (I). Only for a fortnight in the middle of the summer 
Haynes transferred his entire force in the morning hours 
regularly to the narrow ridge of mounds (II-III) which 
confine the large open space to the northwest of the zig- 
gurraly in order to determine the foundations of the great 
wall wherein he and Meyer in the previous year had dis- 
covered crude bricks with the name of Naram-Sin. Owing 
to the relative height of the stage-tower and the enormous 
mass of Parthian ruins grouped around it, and no less owing 
to Haynes' peculiar method of excavating the lowest strata 
of the open court beneath them, it became more and more 
wearisome for the basketmen to climb the rude steps and 
steep roads leading from the interior of the hollowed 
mound to the dumping places on the top of the neighbor- 
ing ruins. The photographs of the indefatigable explorer 
illustrated his remarkable progress in clearing the lower 
temple court of more than sixty thousand cubic feet of 
earth, but they also revealed the alarming growth of import- 
ant unexplored sections of the adjoining mounds. These 
were high enough in themselves, but they were raised fifty 
to eighty feet higher by the rubbish deposited on them, so 
that their future excavation threatened to become a serious 
problem (comp. the frontispiece). 

After many fruitless endeavors the committee had sue- 
ceeded in despatching two young Englishmen to Babylonia 
at the beginning of October. They had served for a little 
while under Flinders Petrie in Egypt, and seemed to be 
fairly well prepared for the more difficult labors awaiting 
them at Nuffar. They had received instructions to work 
several weeks under Haynes, until they were generally ac- 
quainted with the mounds, the history of our past excavations, 
the country and the manners of the Arabs, upon whose good 
will the success of the expedition largely depended. At the 
same time our representative at the ruins was requested to 


initiate his assistants properly into their various duties, 
and then to leave them in charge of the field, and to return 
for a vacation to America, until the time should have 
come for his resumption of the work in company with the 
two Englishmen and such other assistants as the committee 
might deem necessary to send out with him. In consequence 
of quarantine and other delays, the two substitutes unfortu- 
nately did not arrive at Nuffar before February, 1896, about 
the same time when he whom they were expected to relieve 
had planned to depart from the country. Much to our 
astonishment and regret, Haynes did not find it advisable 
to execute the instructions of his committee, but induced 
the two young men, after they had spent a few days at the 
ruins, to return with him to Europe, as he regarded it 
" both unwise and emphatically unsafe to commit the 
property and work to the care of any young man who has 
not had a long experience in this place, and with this 
self-same defiant, covetous, treacherous^ and bloody throng 
about us." 

In examining Haynes' three years' labors with regard to his 
methods, discoveries and views on the latter, as they are laid 
down in his weekly reports to the committee and illustrated 
by numerous photographs and Meyer's drawings, we must 
not forget that, like Peters, he was no expert in architec- 
ture. Assy riology, or archaeology, and, therefore, could furnish 
only raw material for the use of the specialist. He will always 
deserve great credit for having demonstrated for the first time, 
by his own example, that it is possible to excavate a Babylo- 
nian ruin even during the hottest part of the vear without 
any serious danger to the life of the explorer. With an inter- 
ruption of but two months, and most of the time alone, he 
spent three consecutive years " near the insect-breeding and 
pestiferous 'Afej swamps, where the temperature in per- 
fect shade rises to the enormous height of 120° Fahrenheit, 
and the stifling sand-storms from the desert often parch the 


human skin with the heat of a furnace, while the ever-present 
insects bite and sting and buzz through day and night." 
Surrounded by turbulent tribes and fugitive criminals, he 
worked steadfastly and patiently towards a noble aim; he 
even clung to his post with remarkable tenacity and great 
self-denial when his lonely life and a morbid fear of real 
and imagined dangers threatened to impair his health and 
obscured his judgment. But on the other hand, he also 
illustrated anew by his example that even the most enthu- 
siastic explorer, cautious in his course of proceeding, accus- 
tomed to climate, and familiar with the life and manners of 
the natives, as he may be, is plainly unable to excavate a 
Babylonian ruin satisfactorily without the necessary techni- 
cal knowledge and the constant advice of an architect and 
Assyriologist. Haynes' principal mistake lies in the fact 
that, in accordance with Peters' unfortunate proposition, he 
consented to imitate the latter's example with regard to the 
methods of excavation, and to dwell and to dig at Nuffar 
alone without educated technical assistance ; and furthermore 
that when the committee as a whole, realizing the impos- 
sibility of such an undertaking, called him home or proposed 
to send him assistance, he preferred to remain in the field 
and declined the latter. 

According to the manner of Rassam and Peters, Haynes 
gathered an exceedingly large number of valuable antiqui- 
ties, he removed an enormous mass of rubbish, he made us 
acquainted with a great many details of the interior of the 
mounds, he worked diligently in exposing walls, following 
drains and uncovering platforms. But these discoveries re- 
mained isolated and incoherent. It was frequently impos- 
sible to combine them and to obtain even a moderately 
accurate picture of the temple of Bel by medns of his reports 
in the form in which they were written.^ Often unable to 

1 At the time these reports were received, it was naturally understood that 
they were only preliminary letters written under peculiarly trying circum- 


distinguish between essentials and secondary matters, or 
failing to recognize the significance of certain small traces 
occurring in the loose debris or represented by fragmentary 
walls which are of paramount importance to the archae- 
ologist, he wouFd remove them without attempting to give 
their accurate location and description, and occasionally 
allow his imagination to become an inadequate substitute 
for sober facts and simple measurements by feet and inches. 
In consequence of these peculiarities his reports frequently 
enough present almost as many puzzles as Nuffar itself, and 
require their own excavation, through which the original de- 
tails furnished by the trenches scarcely improve. What with 
Meyer's aid he submitted concerning the ziggurrat of Ash- 
urbanapal,^ its dimensions, conduits, etc., was on the whole 
correct and in many ways excellent. It showed what Haynes 
might have accomplished in addition to the unearthing of 
the numerous tablets, sarcophagi, drains, and walls which we 
owe to his untiring efforts, had he been assisted properly. 
We must keep this in mind in order to explain, and to a 
certain degree excuse his methods and subsequent one-sided 
results, but also to understand, in part at least, why the pic- 
ture of the temple of Bel, which I drew in 1896 on the basis 

stances, and that all the scientific details required to complete them would be 
found in the hooks of cntrv, exhaustive diaries and manv other note-books, as 
thev are usually kept by every expedition. It became apparent, however, in 
1900, that no such books existed, and that these weekly or fortnightly letters 
represented all the written information which Haynes had to give on his long 
work of three years. I am still inclined to explain this strange fact to a certain 
degree bv his mental depression referred to above, though, to my sincere 
regret, the words of praise as to the character of his work, so liberally ex- 
pressed in my introduction to ** The Bab. Exp. of the Univ. of Pa.," series 
A, vol. i, part 2 (Philadelphia, 1896), pp. 16, //-ff., wiU have to be mod- 
ified considerablv. 

* Not of Ur-Gur, as on the basis of Haynes' reports was stated in my 
first tentative sketch of the ziggurrat, **The Bab. Exp. of the Univ. of 
Pa.," series A, vol. i, part 2, pp. 16, seqq. 


of his reports, is inaccurate and differs considerably from 
what I have to present below after my personal visit to the 
ruins in 1900, when I had an opportunity to study the 
architectural remains as far as they w^ere still preserved, and 
to submit all the tunnels and trenches of my predecessors 
to a critical examination. 

As indicated above, Haynes excavated chieflv at two 
places during his long stay at Nuffar, devoting about 
eighteen months to Bint el-Amir (I), which represents the 
ancient ziggurrat^ and twelve to the long furrowed ridge 
situated on the southwest side of the canal and defined 
by the numbers VI and VIII respectively on the plan 
of the ruins (comp. p. 305), while two to three months 
were allowed for the exploration of several other sections, 
including a search for the original bed of the Shatt en- 
Nil. In order to enable the reader to follow his work 
on the stage-tower with greater facility, I shall classify 
and consider it in the following order : a^ His examina- 
tion of a part of the latest constructions ; by his clearing of 
the stage-tower of Ashurbanapal ; f, his excavation of three 
sections on the southeast court of the ziggurrat down to the 
water level. 

^. In continuing Peters' work on the temple mound, 
Haynes committed the same grave error, to start wMth, as 
the first director of the expedition. He descended to the 
successive Babylonian strata bv means of deep shafts, and 
cleared important sections even down to the virgin soil, 
before the uppermost imposing structure had been exca- 
vated completely and methodically. This is the more re- 
markable as Haynes, like his predecessor, regarded this 
gigantic settlement around the remodelled ziggurrat not as 
an entirely new Parthian creation, as the present writer 
did, but as the latest historical development of the famous 
sanctuary of Bel at the time of " the second Babylo- 
nian empire,*' or about the period 600-550 B. c, — reason 


enough to treat it with special reverence and to examine 
it with the greatest care. In consequence of his strange 
procedure he could not help destroying essential details 
of all the different strata which later were missing, and 
at the same time to report other discoveries inaccurately and 
incoherently. It became, therefore, exceedingly difficult, 
and in many cases impossible, for me to determine and to 
arrange the defective results of all these perpendicular cut- 
tings, with their eight to ten different strata, in a satisfactory 
manner, the more so as thev often had been obtained at 
long intervals, and as a rule were unaccompanied by even 
the poorest kind of sketch or ground plan, while the port- 
able antiquities had never been numbered to allow of their 
identification with certainty afterwards. 

In spite of the plainly un-Babylonian character of the 
large crude bricks which constitute the bulk of the latest 
fortified walls around the ziggurraty Haynes regarded them 
with Peters as the work of Ur-Gur, differing, however, 
from him in one important point, by declaring at least a 
large part of the southeast enclosing wall as the work " of 
the first rebuilder of the ziggurrat in cruciform style [about 
600 B. c.]." He removed a number of rooms in the east 
corner of this settlement, and as Meyer fortunately was 
on the ground a few months later, we have a well executed 
plan of these chambers in addition to a few sketches and a 
general description of their principal features and contents 
by Haynes. The two explorers came to the interesting 
conclusion, confirmed later by my inspection of the few re- 
mains of their trenches, that three different periods are clearly 
to be distinguished with regard to their occupancy. They 
also make us acquainted with the exact dimensions of these 
rooms and their mutual relation to each other, with the 
average thickness and height of their ruined walls, with certain 
important details of their doors, with their drainage and venti- 
lation and several fireplaces discovered in them. Apart from 


a few stray Babylonian antiquities which later may have been 
used again, all the typical objects gathered in these rooms 
are decidedly later than 300 b. c, as I convinced myself by a 
careful investigation. iVmong the objects betraying an un- 
doubtedly Greek influence I only mention several fragments 
of a cornice in limestone representing the vine-branch, well 
known from the so-called sarcophagus of Alexander the 
Great, and the stamped handle of a Rhodian amphora bear- 
ing the inscription EHI 0EAIAHTOT BATPOMIOT, /. ^., 
" [this amphora was made or gauged] under [the eponv- 
mous magistrate] Theaidetos in [the month of] Badro- 
mios."^ According to Professor Furtwangler of Munich, 
to whom I submitted a photograph of the last mentioned 
antiquity, this magistrate is known from other similar 
handles found on the isle of Rhodes itself," and must have 
lived in the second or first century preceding our era. The 
same scholar confirmed my conclusions with regard to the 
age of the characteristic terra-cotta figurines previously 
described (comp. pp. 330, seq.)y which I had unhesitatingly 
assigned to the Parthian, /'. ^., the Hellenistic and Roman 

The removal of the enormous mass of crude bricks with 
which the builders of this latest settlement had covered, 
changed, and enlarged the old stage-tower of Bel was a 
slow and tedious task. But it was not without interesting 
results. Babylonian antiquities of the Cassite, and even 
much earlier times, were repeatedly discovered inside these 
bricks. Their comparatively fine state of preservation, their 
frequent occurrence, and, in a few cases, their large size, 
proved sufficiently that they had not gotten accidentally 
into these walls, while the long period of about two thousand 

^ The T in the name of the month as offered by the inscription is a mistake 
of the scribe, as Furtwangler informs me. 

2 Comp. Hillcr de Gaertringen, Inscriptinnes Graca insularum Rhodiy etc., 
1895, No. 1 135. 


years represented by them, their character and their inscrip- 
tions, indicated in some manner how and where they had 
been obtained. Most of them came from the temple com- 
plex, where they had been found when the ground was lev- 
elled and important early structures destroyed to furnish 
welcome building material for the later descendants of the 
ancient population. All the objects unearthed had been 
gathered scrupulously, for they were no less valued in those 
days than they are to-day by the modern inhabitants of the 
country. They were either sold as raw material to engravers 
and jewellers (comp. p. 335), or worn as personal orna- 
ments, or converted into useful household implements, 
or used as talismans which protected the living and the 
dead alike against the evil influence of demons. We 
found inscribed tablets, seal cylinders, and other Babylonian 
antiquities of the most different periods very commonly in 
and around the Parthian and Sassanian urns, coffins and 
tombs of Nuffar. These discoveries ofttimes led Peters 
and Haynes astray in their efforts to prove the Babylonian 
character of these burials and to support their startling theo- 
ries concerning the age and the different types of ancient pot- 
tery. But they also occur in platforms, under thresholds, in 
the foundations of houses, inside numerous bricks, as stated 
above, and for very simple reasons, especially frequently in 
the mortar uniting the latter. No wonder that Haynes dis- 
covered them in considerable quantities in the clay mortar 
of the fortified palace which rests on the ruins of the ancient 
temple, thereby unconsciously establishing an exact parallel 
to De Sarzec's results in the upper strata of the temple 
mound at Tello (comp. pp. ii6^seqq.y particularly pp. 232, 
seq.)yZX\d at the same time providing further evidence against 
his own personal view of the signification of these antiquities. 
In addition to their talismanic character many of the ob- 
jects deposited seem to have carried with them the idea of a 
sacrifice or an act of devotion on the part of their donors to 


secure greater stability for this public building, to express 
gratitude for an unknown successful transaction, or to obtain 
the favor of the gods for the fulfilment of a certain desire. 
In the light of such votive offerings I view a collection of 
antiquities discovered together in the foundation of the latest 
southeast enclosing wall and comprising a Persian seal, 
a Babylonian seal cylinder, a pair of silver earrings, eleven 
pieces of corroded silver, about forty silver beads and three 
hundred odd stone beads, which apparently represent the 
gift of a woman ; or the goose-egg with its undeveloped 
germ of life to be sacrificed (comp. p. 33i)y^ and, above all, 
a surprising find which was made on the northwestern side of 
the ziggurrat. Imbedded in the mortar of clay and straw 
that filled a large space between Ashurbanapal's stage-tower 
and its later addition Haynes uncovered three human skulls 
placed on the same level at nearly equal distances from each 
other. There can be no doubt that we here have an authen- 
tic example of the practice of bloody sacrifices offered in 
connection with the construction of important new buildings, 
— a practice widely existing in the ancient world and pre- 
vailing even to-day in several parts of the Orient.* 

b. The labor that would have been required to clear the 
original Babylonian stage-tower entirely of the later addi^ 
tions will be easily understood by considering that more 
than one hundred thousand cubic feet of tenacious Ub{e)n^ 
or mud bricks, and other accumulated rubbish had to be 
removed before only one of the four huge arms which pro- 
ceeded from the centres of the four sides of the ancient 
ziggurrat far into the court had disappeared, — a fact suffi- 
ciently illustrating the remarkable power and energy of these 

^ Peters, failing to recognize the meaning of this class of antiquities^ comes 
to the remarkable conclusion (/. r., vol. ii., p. 123), that "some humorous 
or mischievous workman had walled it in two thousand years or so ago." 

^ Comp. H. Clay Trumbull, '* The Blood Covenant," 2d edition, Phila- 
delphia, 1893, and ** The Threshold Covenant," New York, 1896. 


Parthian rulers, who were able to erect similar castles on the 
top of most of the large temple ruins in the country. In 
view of the great difficulties in his way, Haynes confined 
himself to a complete removal of the southeastern wing, cut- 
ting away only so much of the other three arms as was ab- 
solutely necessary to disengage the earlier building from its 
surrounding brickwork by means of narrow perpendicular 
trenches. Applied to the huge massive lateral arms alone, 
this method was doubtless correct, as it saved considerable 
time and expense, and did not deprive us of any essential 
knowledge for the time being. But as soon as it was 
carried further than this it became incompatible with a sys- 
tematic investigation of the entire mound. These dimly 
lighted narrow corridors prevented the photographing of 
important details of the lowest story of the stage-tower, 
while at the same time they gave cause for Haynes' further 
descent into the depth, before the rest of the sacred enclo- 
sure had received proper attention. Consequently it was 
impossible until very recently to determine the precise rela- 
tion of the ziggurrat to the temple with which it formed an 
organic whole, or even to find out what the entire court 
around the former looked like at any given period of its 
long and varied historv. As a matter of fact, the following 
picture presented itself to me upon my arrival at Nuifar in 
1900. The crumbling remains of x\\q ziggurrat had been 
exposed to the level of the period of Kadashman-Turgu, 
large sections in its neighborhood were explored only to 
the level of the Parthian fortress, others had not been 
touched at all, again others were cleared to the platform of 
Ur-Gur, still others down to the upper Pre-Sar^onic re- 
mains, while by far the greater part of the larg^c place in 
front of the stage-tower, which contained a number of brick 
pavements, serving as an excellent means for dating the dif- 
ferent strata of the whole enclosure, had been excavated 
down to the virgin soil (comp. frontispiece). At one time 


Haynes himself very keenly felt the unsatisfactory manner 
in which he was proceeding. For in one of his reports of 
1894, written during Meyer's presence at the ruins, we read 
the significant passage : " I should like to see systematic 
excavations undertaken on this temple enclosure, not to be 
excavated section by section, but carried down as a whole, 
to distinguish the different epochs of its history, each well 
defined level to be thoroughly explored, sketched, photo- 
graphed, and described, before the excavation of any part 
should be carried to a lower level. This method would 
be more satisfactory and less likely to lead to confusion 
of strata and levels." We naturally ask in amazement : 
Though knowing the better method, why did he never 
adopt it at a time when he was in complete charge of the 
expedition in the field, and the committee at home ready 
to support him with all the necessary technical assistance ? 
In tracing the upper stages of the ziggurrat^ Haynes dis- 
covered the fragment of a barrel cylinder inscribed with the 
cuneiform signs characteristic of the period of the last great 
Assyrian kings (722-626 b. c). It belonged to Sargon or 
Ashurbanapal, both of whom took part in restoring the 
temple of Bel. Small as it was, it proved that documents 
of this kind once existed at Nuffar, as thev did in other 
Babylonian stage-towers. But in order to determine the 
number and size of the upper stories, which no longer had 
facing walls of baked brick, the explorer had to proceed 
from the better-preserved lowest one. For the later occu- 
pants of the temple mound, while utilizing all the other 
baked material of the older building for their own pur- 
poses, had evidently been obliged to leave the panelled 
walls of baked bricks in the lowest story standing in order 
to prevent the gradual collapse of the heavy mass above 
it. More than this, they had trimmed its corners and re- 
paired other defective places, as could easily be recognized 
from the bricks there employed and their use of clay mortar 


instead of bitumen, the common binding material of all the 
baked bricks of the ziggurrat found still in situ. This cir- 
cumstance explains why even the lowest stage of the tower 
yielded us no building records, though Haynes continued 
to search for them. 

Most of the stamped bricks taken from this story bore 
the Old Babylonian inscription : " To Bel, the king of the 
lands, his king, Ashurbanapal, his favorite shepherd, the 
powerful king, king of the four quarters of the earth, built 
Ekur, his beloved temple, with baked bricks." Inter- 
mingled with them were bricks of Kadashman-Turgu (about 
1300 B. c.) and Ur-Gur (about 2700 b. c), the latter's name 
occurring in the lowest courses frequently to the exclusion 
of all others. It was therefore clear that ^ach subsequent 
restorer of the tower had made extensive use of the material 
of his predecessors, thereby enabling us to fix at least the 
principal periods of this monumental structure. But some 
of the roval builders had not been satisfied with a mere re- 
pairing of cracks and replacing of walls; they at the same 
time had enlarged the original size of the tower. This fact 
was disclosed by a trench cut into the northeast face of the 
ziggurrat^ where Haynes discovered the fragmentary re- 
mains of Ur-Gur's casing wall six feet behind the outside 
of Ashurbanapal's. The southeast facade alone seems to 
have remained unchanged for more than two thousand 
years ; for all the inscribed bricks removed from this neigh- 
borhood exhibited the name of the ancient king of Ur on 
their lower faces, a sure indication that they were still in their 
original position. What is the reason for the unique pre- 
servation of this particular side during such a long period ? 
Two almost parallel walls, constructed by the same mon- 
arch and running at right angles from the southeast face 
of the ziggurrat into the large open court, acted as a kind 
of buttress and prevented an uneven settling of the pon- 
derous mass behind and above it. But this was not their 


original and chief purpose. Certain projections of the sec- 
ond stage over this so-called causeway,* which are absent 
from the other three sides of the pyramid, prove conclu- 
sively that here we have the last remains of the ancient ap- 
proach to the top of the ziggurrat. A door-socket in dolerite 
inscribed with the ordinary votive legend of Ur-Gur was 
found at the foot of this stairway, while a stray soapstonc 
tablet of the same king came from a room of the Parthian 
fortress considerably above it. 

The excavation of the southwest and northeast 6si9ades 
were no less important for our knowledge of the architectu- 
ral details of the ziggurrat. Both contained deep and well- 
built conduits in their centres, designed to carry the profuse 
water of the Babylonian autumn and winter rains from the 
higher stories over the foundations of the lowest encasement 
walls into a gutter which surrounded all but the front sides 
of the high-towering building. Loftus' so-called "but- 
tresses " of the Buweriye at Warka, " erected on the centre 
of each side for the purpose of supporting the main edi- 
fice " (comp. p. 146, above), are evidently nothing but such 
w-ater conduits, misunderstood by him, and the remains of 
an entrance to the top of the tower. If we can rely upon 
Havnes' examination, the southwest conduit was the ex- 
clusive work of Ur-(jur, except at the bottom, where it had 
repeatedly been filled and paved to discharge the water at a 
higher level in accordance with the gradual rising of the 
court below. Hie northeast conduit, on the other hand, 
goes back only to Ashurbanapal, who repaired the conduit 
of Kadashman-Turgu, placed over the older one of Ur- 

^ Hayncs did not recognize the significance of these projections for the 
whole question of the original ascent, hut, substituting his lively fantasy agun 
for an accurate dc>cripiion, imagines that ** a sacred shrine or altar may have 
stood at the far end of the causeway," or ** that the officiating priest may at 
times have harangued the people in the great court below him from that 
height.'* \\'hat a conception of a Babylonian temple ! 


It is Haynes* view, as reproduced by me in 1896, that, 
with the exception of the lowest front face and the two con- 
duits, Ur-Gur*s ziggurrai was built entirely of crude bricks, 
and that even at the time of the Cassite and Assyrian occu- 
pations the upper stories had no casing walls of baked 
bricks. This theory seems to me untenable. For there 
are many indications which necessarily lead to the conclu- 
sion that the whole pyramid, from the time of Ur-Gur down 
to Ashurbanapal, was properly protected. I cannot go into 
details here. To mention only one circumstance, it would be 
impossible to explain the presence of so many stamped 
bricks of Ur-Gur, found out of their original position every- 
where in the ruins of Nuffar, except on the assumption 
of a casing wall for every stage of the ziggurrat. It was 
onlv natural that the bricks of the earlier builders should 
be removed by the later monarchs before they repaired and 
enlarged the temple. But the very fact that the material 
of Ashurbanapal's casing walls of the lowest story con- 
sists largely of bricks of Ur-Gur and Kadashman-Turgu, 
and that the construction of the Seleucido-Parthian rulers 
contained a great number of stamped and unstamped bricks 
of all the three Babylonian kings mentioned, is alone suffi- 
cient evidence to demonstrate that the entire outside of the 
ziggurrat must have been built of baked bricks. 

While working towards the second stage from the upper 
edge of the lowest story, Haynes discovered the open- 
ing of a large well in the centre of its northeast facade and 
partly overlapping the ancient conduit. It was built of 
baked bricks, and descended through the crude mass of the 
stage-tower down to the water level. Though unable to 
determine its age and special purpose at this remarkable 
place, Haynes was inclined to ascribe it to Ashurbanapal. 
But this is impossible. In connection with my subsequent 
visit to the ruins, I could prove conclusively that this well 
did not belong to the ziggurrat proper, but was constructed 


of Kadashman-Turgu's and Ashurbanapal's material by the 
Seleucido-Parthian princes, who selected this peculiar place 
in order to obtain the coolest water possible and to secure 
its supply for the highest part of their castle, even in case 
the lower palace should have been taken by an enemy. 

A word remains to be said about the interior and the 
upper stages of the ziggurrat. The large body of the high* 
towering building consisted of crude bricks nine by six by 
three inches in size. They represent the standard dimen- 
sion of Ur-Gur's material, but they were already in use 
before his time. For bricks of the same size and form, but 
different in color (the latter being yellowish, the former 
gray), were discovered in the lower courses of the interior 
of the ziggurrai} 

Apart from the unusually large adobes employed by the 
Parthian builders and completely covering and embedding 
the ancient stage-tower, there is only one other kind of 
crude bricks traceable in its upper part, which may belong 
to one of the Cassite rulers or to Ashurbanapal. This fact 
will scarcely surprise us, since little is left of the higher 
stages of the ziggurrat. We can state with certainty only 
that Haynes found considerable remains of a sloping second 
terrace, largely ruined in the centre of its southwest and 
northeast facades, where apparently water conduits, similar 
to those of the first story, previously existed, and that he 
believes himself to have discovered faint traces of a third 
story. The amount of rubbish accumulated on the top of 
the second stage is comparatively small. But this circum- 
stance does not constitute an argument against the assump- 
tion of more than three stages. It only testifies to the rapid 
disintegration of crude bricks after they had been exposed 
to the combined action of heavy rains and extraordinarv heat, 
and to the remarkable changes which the ziggurrat under- 

^ Comp. what is said below, p. 390, in connection with the two treasury 
vaults opening into the pavements of" Ur-Gur and Naram-Sin. 


went at the hands of the occupants of the latest castle, who 
practically turned the Babylonian ruin into a huge cruciform 
terrace with an additional central elevation or watch-tower. 

f. The excavation of the southeast court of the ziggurrat 
forms the most interesting though the most pernicious part 
of Haynes' work on the temple of Bel. He accomplished 
it in his own manner during the last half year of his stay at 
the ruins by dividing the whole space into four sections 
and clearing three of them by as many large perpendicular 
shafts from the walls of the Parthian rooms down to the 
virgin soil. The fourth had been excavated only to the 
brick pavement of Ashurbanapal, when he departed from 
Nuffar on February 19, 1896. Whatever seemed impor- 
tant enough at the different altitudes, he left standing, 
supporting the uncovered remains of the past by solid pil- 
lars of earth, or by artificial arches cut out of the rubbish 
below them. In consequence of this unique method of 
operation, the southeast section of the temple court, as seen 
in the frontispiece, looks as picturesque and attractive as 
possible, while in reality it presents a picture of utter con- 
fusion and devastation to the archaeologist. In sketching 
Haynes' work, therefore, I can only attempt to set forth 
certain striking features of the different strata which I have 
been able to develop out of his incoherent and frequently 
contradictory reports, and to give a brief description of some 
of the more important antiquities discovered by him. For 
the sake of greater clearness we take a pavement of Sargon 
and Naram-Sin, which extends through a considerable part 
of the mound, as a dividing line, and examine the ruins 
which lie above it first, and afterwards those which were 
hidden below it. 

I. Post-Sargonic Ruins. The rubbish which filled the 
court between the platform just mentioned and the bot- 
tom of the stratum of well-packed earth, prepared by the 
Seleucido- Parthian princes as a foundation for their fortified 


palace, was about sixteen to seventeen feet high, or a little 
less than the remains of buildings above the latter, which 
represent the post-Babylonian history of Nippur. This 
mass of debris accumulated within a period of more than 
three thousand years (3800-350 b. c), was graduated to a 
certain degree, if I may use this graphic expression. For 
a number of pavements, running almost parallel with that 
of Naram-Sin, divided it into as many horizontal layers 
of different depth and importance. At the time of ex- 
cavation none of these pavements were complete, for the 
very simple reason that every king who levelled the court 
with its ruined constructions and laid a new pavement, 
saved as many of his predecessor's bricks as he could 
extract from the rubbish without difficultv. The fact that 
from the time of Ur-Gur practically the same mould (eleven 
to twelve inches square), was adopted for the ordinary 
baked bricks by all the Babylonian monarchs who repaired 
the renowned sanctuary at Nippur, encouraged their liberal 
employment of the old material, the more so as proper fuel 
was always scarce and expensive in the valleys of the lower 
Euphrates and Tigris. 

The topmost of these pavements extended from the 
" causeway " of the ziggurraty a distance of sixty-three 
feet towards the southeast, and was covered with debris 
one foot to one and a half high. Though none of its 
bricks was stamped, I have no doubt that it goes back 
to Ashurbanapal, whose inscribed bricks, sometimes green 
(originally blue) enamelled on the edges, were repeatedly 
found near its upper surface. As Haynes reports to have seen 
no trace of buildings of any sort resting upon the pave- 
ment, this section of the court seems to have been a large 
open place at the time of the last great Assyrian king (sev- 
enth century b. c). 

Several photographs clearly show that originally there was 
another pavement about two feet to two and a half below 











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the first. If ever it covered the entire court/ only frac- 
tional parts of it had been preserved, so that the illustration 
facing this page does not even indicate its former existence. 
The layer of earth enclosed between the upper and the 
lower pavements was " so firmly stratified that it seemed 
to have been formed gradually by the agency of water," 
which was incessantly washing away the unprotected parts 
of the ziggurrat. But Haynes' observation is not quite 
accurate ; for a band of " mingled bitumen, charcoal, and 
wood ashes, varying in thickness from two to four inches," 
and running nearly through the middle of this stratum, in- 
dicates sufficiently that some kind of light structures must 
have existed on this part of the court at some time during 
the second millennium, to which I ascribe the second pave- 
ment. In all probability it was laid by a Cassite ruler, pre- 
sumably Kadashman-Turgu, who not only restored but en- 
larged the ziggurrat and provided it with new casing walls. 
If I interpret correctly Haynes* somewhat confused reports 
of the different sections of the court excavated by him, 
and adjust his results properly with one another, this pave- 
ment must be regarded as a continuation of the lower course 
of a border pavement, which surrounded the four sides of 
Kadashman-Turgu's stage-tower, being ten feet wide in 
front of the latter and somewhat narrower on its other three 
sides, where it terminated in a gutter. This border pave- 
ment consisted of two courses of bricks laid in bitumen^ and 
served as a basis for a sloping bed of bitumen designed to 
protect the foundations of the pyramid from falling rain. 
None of the bricks were inscribed except one, which con- 
tained the name of Ur-Ninib on its upper face, thereby in- 
dicating that it was out of its original position and belonged 

* It seems as if the pavement of baked bricks was confined to the imme- 
diate environments of the xiggurrat and continued by a pavement of crude 
bricks f 1 1 ^4 by \\\-2 by 4'^ inches), repeatedly referred to by Haynes at 
about the same level. 


to much older material used again. An interesting discovery 
made at the same level, on the back side of the ziggurrat 
near its west corner, confirms my theory expressed above 
that the whole court around it was studded with smaller 
buildings at the time of the Cassite dominion. For while 
clearing the noj-thwest face of the stage-tower Haynes came 
upon a room resting on the brick pavement now under con- 
sideration, and containing six whole cuneiform tablets, a 
little over a hundred small fragments of others, and an un- 
polished marble weight in the shape of a duck, which was 
nearly a foot long. 

At an average depth of a foot and a half below the second 
pavement was a third, much better preserved. It was laid 
by Ur-Ninib, one of the kings of the dynasty of (N)isin, 
which occupied the throne of Babylonia about the middle 
of the third pre-Christian millenium. Out of a section of 
143 bricks, taken up by Haynes, 135 bore the inscription: 
"Ur-Ninib, the glorious shepherd of Nippur, the shepherd 
of Ur, he who delivers the commands of Eridu, the gracious 
lord of Erech, king of (N)isin, king of Shumer and Akkad, 
the beloved consort of Ishtar." One was stamped with 
Ur-Gur's well-known legend, and six were uninscribed. 
From the reports before us we receive no information as 
to any walls or noteworthy antiquities having been discov- 
ered in the layer of rubbish once covering the pavement. 

The most important of all the strata above the level of 
Naram-Sin is that which lies between the pavement of Ur- 
Ninib and the next one below. As the former was not 
always exactly parallel to the latter, it is in some places 
almost three feet deep, though its average thickness is 
scarcely more than two. It rests upon a " platform " of 
clay and unbaked bricks, which, in size, color, and texture 
are identical with the mass of crude bricks forming the 
body of the ziggurrats of NufFar and Warka, and there- 
fore may be safely ascribed to Ur-Gur, king of Ur (about 


2700 B. c). The layer of rubbish and earth which cov- 
ered the pavement deserves our special attention, as it 
yielded more inscribed' antiquities than any other part of 
the temple enclosure hitherto examined. Over six hundred 
fragments of vases, statues, slabs, brick-stamps, and a num- 
ber of doorsockets were gathered by the different expedi- 
tions in this remarkable stratum, doubly remarkable as most 
of the objects obtained from it did not belong to Ur-Gur 
and his successors, as at first might be expected, but to 
kings and high officials whom, on the basis of strong palaso- 
graphic evidence and for various other reasons, I was forced 
to ascribe to the earliest phase of Babylonian history ante- 
dating Sargon I (about 3800 b. c.) by several centuries. 
As practically nothing but heavy door-sockets in dolerite 
and some shapeless blocks of veined marble (technically 
known as calcite stalagmite) were found whole ; as most of 
the fragments were extraordinarily small in size, and as, 
moreover, portions of the same vases repeatedly were dis- 
covered at places widely distant from each other, we cannot 
avoid the conclusion that these precious antiquities had 
been broken and scattered on purpose ; in other words, that 
these numerous inscribed vases and more than fifty brick- 
stamps with the names of Sargon and Naram-Sin upon 
them, which had been scrupulously preserved and handed 
down from generation to generation, must have been stored 
somewhere within the precincts of the court of the ziggurraty 
until thev were rudelv destroyed bv somebody who lived 
between the reigns of Ur-Gur of Ur, and Ur-Ninib of 
(N)isin. Apart from a brick of Ur-Ninib, the latest in- 
scribed monument recovered from this well-defined stratum 
is a door-socket of Bur-Sin of Ur, or rather an inscribed 
block of dolerite, presented to Bel by Lugalkigubnidudu, a 
very ancient king of Ur and Erech, and afterwards turned 
into a door-socket and rededicated to the temple of Nip- 
pur by Bur-Sin. Hence it follows that the last-mentioned 


monarch must have lived before Ur-Ninib, and is more 
closely connected with Ur-Gur than has generally been 
asserted, a fact fully corroborated by the recent investiga- 
tions of Thureau-Dangin, who has shown that there was only 
one dynasty of Ur in the third pre-Christian millennium. 
But we draw another important conclusion. It is entirely 
impossible to assume that a native Babylonian usurper of 
the throne, however ill-disposed toward an ancient cult and 
however unscrupulous in the means taken to suppress it, 
should have committed such an outrage against the sacred 
property of the great national sanctuary of the country. 
The breaking and scattering of the vases not only indi- 
cates a period of great political disturbance in Babylonia, 
but points unmistakably to a foreign invasion. Whence 
did it come ? 

We know on the one hand, from the chronological lists 
of dates and the last lines of thousands of business tablets of 
the third millennium, that the powerful kings of Ur had led 
their armies victoriously to Elam, conquered even Susa, 
and established a Babylonian hegemony over the subdued 
cities and districts of their ancient enemies. And we know 
on the other hand, from numerous references in Babylonian 
and Assyrian inscriptions, remarkably confirmed by De 
Morgan's excavations in Susa, that towards 2300 b. c. the 
Elamites were for a while in the complete possession of 
the lower country of the Euphrates and Tigris, even estab- 
lishing an Klamitic dynasty at Larsa after they had devas- 
tated and ransacked all the renowned temples of Shumer 
and Akkad. Between these two historical events, which 
reversed the political relations between Babylonia and 
Elam completely, we must place the native dynasties of 
(N)isin and Larsa, preceded by a first Elamitic invasion, 
which occurred about two hundred years before the second 
one. It was this first Elamitic invasion which caused the 
destruction of the temple property at Nippur, brought 


about the downfall of the dynasty of Ur, and apparently 
led to the fise of the dynasty of (N)isin, to which Ur- 
Nlnib belongs, whose pavement covered the layer of debris 
with the numerous broken vases. If the text of a votive 
inscription of Enannatuma, son of Ishme-Dagan, king of 
(N)isin, king of Shumer and Akkad, published many years 
ago by Rawlinson/ is entirely correct, the last representa- 
tive of the dynasty of Ur would have been Gungunu, 
since he no longer has the proud title of his immediate 
predecessors,^ " king of the four quarters of the earth," nor 
the less significant one borne by his first two ancestors,^ 
but is styled only " king of Ur." In this case Ishme- 
Dagan should have been the founder of the new dynasty, 
who allowed Gungunu to lead the life of the shadow of a 
king until his death,* under the control of one of his own 
sons, whom he invested with the highest religious office 
in the temple of Sin at Ur. If, however, Gungunu, " king 

1 Comp. i R, 2, no. vi, i, and 36, no. 2. 

^ Bur-Sin I, Gimil-Sin, Inc-Sin. 

• Ur-Gur and Dungi. The latter was the first to adopt the more compre- 
hensive title in connection with his successful wars some time between the 
X + 2 1 St and x + 29th years of his long government. Comp. Thureau- 
Dangin in Comptes Rendus^ 1902, pp. 84, seqq, 

"• Comp. the date of a tablet mentioned by Scheil in Maspcro's Recucil^ 
vol. xxi (1899), p. 125: mu Cu-un-gu-nu ba-tii, "the year when G. 
died." If the former view, set forth above, be correct, this tablet would be- 
long to the government of Ishme-Dagan or his successor, and its j>eculiar date 
would thus find an easy explanation. In the other case the date would ap- 
pear somewhat strange, as it was not customary to call a year after the death 
o\ an actual ruler, but rather after his successor's accession to the throne. 
There exist a few other tablets which are dated according to the reigns of 
kings of the dynasty of (N)isin. Among the results of the third Philadelphia 
expedition I remember distinctly to have seen one dated in the reign of Ur- 
Ninib, and Scheil (in Recueil^ vol. xxiii, 1901, pp. 93, icq.) mentions an- 
other from Sippara which bears the name of King Damiq-ilishu, a second mem- 
ber of the same dynasty (comp. next page below), whom Scheil, however, 
wrongly identified with his namesake of the second dynasty of Babylon. 


of Ur," mentioned in Enannatuma's inscription should 
prove to be a mistake for Gungunu, " king of Larsa,'* a ruler 
whose existence was recently^ communicated to me by Thu- 
reau-Dangin, Ishme-Dagan would be the last and Ishbigirra 
(succeeded by Ur-Ninib ?) probably the first representative 
of the dynasty of (N)isin. In this case Gungunu must 
have been the founder of the native dynasty of Larsa, which 
would have followed immediately upon that of (N)isin, con- 
tinuing to reign (Nur-Ramman and Sin-idinnam), until it 
was overthrown in connection with the second Elamitic in- 
vasion, about 2300 B. c. However this may be, whether 
we have to distinguish two kings by the name of Gun- 
gunu — the one king of Ur, the other king of Larsa (as we 
have two rulers, Bur-Sin, the one king of Ur, the other king 
of (N)isin), — or whether there was only one Gungunu, 
namely, the king of Larsa, this much can be regarded as 
certain, that the dynasties of Ur, (N)isin and Larsa suc- 
ceeded each other in the order just quoted, and that for at 
least one hundred and fifty to two hundred years ^ the city 

• • • 

of (N)isin appeared as the champion of Babylonian inde- 

^ In a personal letter of July 29, 1902, in which, on the basis of a new 
brick fragment recently acquired by the Ix)uvre, Thureau-Dangin is inclined 
to doubt the existence of a Gungunu, king of Ur. The fact that in both of 
his inscriptions Enannatuma has the title s/i/ig Uruma, which (along with 
u-a Vruma) the Babylonian kings of Larsa place at the head of their titles, 
speaks decidedly in favor of an identity of Gungunu of Ur with Gungunu 
of Larsa. For evidentlv the rise of the dvnastv of Larsa was connected 

• • • 

as closely with the possession of the sanctuary of Sin at Ur as the rise of the 
dynasty of (N)isin with that of the temple of Bel at Nippur (comp. the fact 
that all the members of this dynasty place iilf (ti-a or sag-ush) Nippur before 
all their other titles). 

- It comprised at least seven kings, Ishbigirra, Ur-Ninib, Libit-Ishtar, 
Bur-Sin 11, Damiq-ilishu, Idin-Dagan, and Ishme-Dagan, all but the first 
and the sixth kings being represented by inscriptions from Nippur. The 
question arises now, whether kings like Bel-bani, Rim-Anum, etc., generally 
classified with the kings of the first dynasty of Babylon, must not be regarded 
rather as members of the dynasty of (^N)isin. 


pendence, until its leading position was contested by Baby- 
lon under Sin-muballit in the North. But how important 
a role to the very last (N)isin must have played in resisting 
the imperialistic ideas of the Elamitic invaders, whose ulti- 
mate aim was the establishing of a kingdom of Shumer and 
Akkad under the sceptre of an Elamitic prince, becomes 
evident from the mere fact, that Rim-Sin, son of Kudur- 
Mabuk, who supplanted the native kings of Larsa and 
realized the Elamitic dream for about twenty-five to thirty 
years, introduced a new era by dating the single years of 
his government after the fall of (N)isin. 

As remarked above, with but few exceptions all the ob- 
jects rescued by Haynes from the stratum beneath Ur- 
Ninib's platform were in a most lamentable condition. Yet, 
after infinite toil, I succeeded in dividing them in groups 
according to certain palaeographic peculiarities exhibited by 
them, and ultimately restored a number of inscriptions 
almost completely, notably the famous text of Lugalzaggisi, 
"king of Erech, king of the world," with its 132 lines of 
writing obtained from eighty-eight often exasperatingly small 
fragments of sixty-four diflferent vases. The new material 
proved of fundamental importance for our knowledge of 
the early history of Babylonia in the fifth and fourth pre- 
Christian millenniums. In connection with the inscriptions 
from Tello these texts enabled us to follow the general trend 
of the political and religious development of the country. 
We see how a number of petty states, sometimes consisting 
of nothing more than a walled city grouped around a 
well-known sanctuary, are constantly quarrelling with one 
another about the hegemony, victorious to-day, defeated to- 
morrow. The more prominent princes present votive oflfer- 
ings to Bel of Nippur, which stands out as the great reli- 
gious centre of Babylonia at the earliest period of its history. 
For the first time we meet with the names of Utug, patesij 



and Urzag(?)uddu ^ and En-Bildar,^ kings of Kish, En- 
shaglcushanna, " lord of Kengi, king of the world," Lugal- 
kigubnidudu and Lugalkisalsi, kings of Erech and Ur, 
Urumush, " king of I^ish/* and others, or we gather fur- 
ther details concerning monarchs previously known, as, e. g.y 
Entemena of Lagash, Manishtusu of Kish, Sargon and 
Naram-Sin of Agade. Above all, we get acquainted with 
the great " hero," Lugalzaggisi, " who was favorably 
looked upon by the faithful eye of Bel, ... to whom 
intelligence was given by Ea . . ., and who was nour- 
ished with the milk of life by the goddess Ningarsag." 
Indeed a great conqueror he must have been, one of the 
mightiest monarchs of the ancient East thus far known, a 
king who, long before Sargon I was born, could boast of 
an empire extending from the Persian Gulf to the shores 
of the Mediterranean Sea. 

In addition to the many broken vases with their interest- 
ing forms and inscriptions equally important for archaeology, 
history, and palaeography, this unique stratum also yielded a 
few fragments of statues, reliefs, and other antiquities simi- 
lar to those of Tello. They illustrate again that the Baby- 
lonian artist was as ready to glorify Bel of Nippur as he 
was to place his talents in the service of Ningirsu and Bau 
of Lagash. And they indicate at the same time that in all 
probability great surprises will await the future explorer of 
Nuffar who will turn his attention from the ziggurrat to the 
temple proper, which to the present day has scarcely been 
touched, as both Peters and Haynes regarded the temple 
t)f Bel and its stage-tower practically as the same thing, 
and, unconscious of what they were doing, covered the 

^ The second sign is doubtful. Possibly my former reading Ur-Dun (Shul) 
pauddu is correct. 

^ The name means ** Bildar (a well-known star-god) is lord." This 
reading of Hommel is preferable to Thureau-Dangin's Enbi-lshtar or my 
former provisional reading Enne- JJgun* 


neighboring ruins with fifty to seventy feet of rubbish, ex- 
cavated by them in the court of the ziggurrat. Among the 
objects of art from beneath the pavement of Ur-Ninib which 
claim our special attention, I only mention a straight nose 
in basalt originally belonging to a statue in life size ; the tol- 
erably well-preserved shaved head of a small white marble 
statue of the period of Ur-Nina ; and the torso of a lat^e 

statue in polished dolerite, about two-thirds of life size. 
The material and certain details of the statue remind us of 
the famous sculptures of Gudea (comp. p. 237, above). The 
attitude of the whole body, the peculiar position of the 
arms with the clasped hands, the swelling of the muscles of 
the right arm, the delicately carved nails of the fingers, and 
the fine shawl with its graceful folds passing over the right 


breast and loosely thrown over the left arm are equally 
characteristic of the statue of Nippur and of those from 
Tello. But on the other hand the torso under considera- 
tion presents distinctive features of its own. It has a long 
and flowing beard already curled and twisted in that con- 
ventional style with which we are familiar from the Assyrian 
monuments of Nineveh and Khorsabad.^ A richly embroi- 
dered band, one inch and a third wide, passes over the left 
shoulder, and seems to be fastened to the shawl, which it 
holds in place. Each wrist is encircled with a bracelet of 
precious stones, and the neck is adorned with a necklace 
of large beads strung on a skein of finely spun wool, and 
in its whole appearance not unlike the ^ ugal mth which the 
modern Arab shaikhs of Babvlonia fasten their silken head- 


dress {keffiye). A short legend with the names of Bel and 
the donor of the monument was originally engraved on the 
back of the statue between its two shoulders. But the bar- 
barous and revengeful Elamites who broke so many fine 
votive gifts of the temple at Nippur cut the inscription away 
with the exception of the last line, " he made it.*' In all 
probability the statue was erected by one of the kings of the 
dynasty of Ur (between 2700 and 2600 b. c). 

The storage room where all the antiquities referred to had 
originally been kept was discovered by Haynes in his exca- 
vations along the southeast wall of the fortified enclosure. 
It was a well-planned cellar, 36 feet long, 1 1 5^ feet wide, 
and %]/2 feet deep, built entirely into this wall, evidentlv by 
Ur-Gur himself." Descending as far down as the level of 
the pavement of Naram-Sin, it had, some two and a half 
feet above the floor of stamped earth, a ledge of crude bricks 
I ^2 feet wide, which was capped by a layer of baked bricks 

^ Comp. the terra-cotta head from Nippur published by me in «« The Bab. 
Exp. of the U. of Pa.,'* series A, vol. ix, pi. xii, no. 22. 

* Comp. my treatment of the whole question in " The Bab. Exp. of the 
U. of Pa.," vol. i, series A, part i, pp. 28, seqq. 


and extended completely around the four walls of the room. 
A discovery made in connection with the next pavement be- 
low proved that it had served as a shelf for the safe keeping 
of treasures, sacrificial gifts, and documents.* A construction 
of baked bricks, which we notice in the illustration facing 
p. 377 (No. 3), seems also to have been built first by one 
of the kings of the dynasty of Ur, possibly by Ur-Gur 
himself. But as Haynes did not extend his excavations of 
the third campaign to the northeast section of the court, 
we leave it for the present out of consideration. 

A word must be said about Peters* and Havnes' so- 
called " platform of Ur-Gur," which was covered with the 
layer of debris containing the precious vase fragments and 
the door-sockets of Sargon I. Some portions were made 
of crude bricks, but by far the greater part of it consisted 
of large lumps of kneaded clay, which " in a moist condi- 
tion, had been laid up en masse in two thick layers," each 
one about four feet thick. This " platform," however, did 
not constitute a large terrace, raised to support the zig- 
gurrat itself, and consequently did not run through the 
whole mound, as I formerly assumed in accordance with 
the erroneous views of my predecessors; but, like all the 
pavements lying above it, it was only an especially thick 
pavement laid by Ur-Gur as a solid floor for his open court 
around the stage-tower, and naturally also bore the weight 
of his additions to the latter. As soon as Haynes com- 
menced to remove it, he made an interesting discovery, 
which illustrates the great antiquity of a custom previously 
observed in connection with the Parthian fortress (comp. pp. 
366, seqq.). At different places between its layers of clay he 
found a number of valuable antiquities. 1 hese evidently 
had been, taken from the rubbish below at the time when 
Ur-Gur levelled the court, to be placed as talismans in 
the new foundation. Among the objects thus obtained, we 

* Comp. pp. 247, seqq., above. 


mention several well-formed copper nails and fragments 
of copper vessels, a fine brick stamp of Sargon I., the 
fragment of a pre-Sargonic mace-head, two slightly con- 
cave seal cylinders in white shell and stone, about twenty 
well-preserved unbaked clay tablets antedating the period 
of Sargon, a great quantity of large but badly broken frag- 
ments of similar tablets, and, above all, an important stone 
tablet 7 inches long, 55^ inches wide, and a little over 2 
inches thick, completely covered on all its six faces with 
the most archaic cuneiform writing known from the monu- 
ments of NufFar and Tello. 

Ur-Gur's clay pavement was separated from the next one 
below, /*. e.y the fifth one from the top, by a layer of earth 
generally only a few inches deep, — a circumstance that can- 
not surprise us, as that ruler very evidently removed a con- 
siderable mass of debris in order to secure a solid basis for 
his own unusually thick pavement. Having cut through 
this thin layer, Haynes, in truth, could exclaim with King 
Nabonidos : What for ages no king among the kings had 
seen, the old foundation of Naram-Sin, son of Sargon, that 
saw I. More than this, he saw the inscribed bricks of both 
of these ancient rulers, whose very existence until then had 
been seriouslv doubted by different scholars. The extraor- 
dinary value of this pavement for Babylonian archaeology 
lies in the fact that it supplied the first irrefutable proof of 
the historical character of this ancient Semitic kingdom, 
that it enabled us more clearly to comprehend the chrono- 
logical order of the rulers of Tello and Sargon I, and that 
it enabled us to establish new and indubitable criteria to 
distinguish between pre-Sargonic and post-Sargonic con- 
structions and antiquities. It is, therefore, a matter of 
the utmost regret that Haynes, not fully realizing the 
unique importance of what he had been so fortunate to 
discover, removed this precious pavement almost com- 
pletely. It consisted of two courses of baked bricks. The 


upper one was composed of enormous bricks of uniform 
size and mould, 15^ to 165^ inches square and 3^ inches 
thick. Several of them were stamped with the brief legend : 
" Shargani-shar-ali (the original fuller name of Sargon ^), king 
of Agade, builder of (at) the temple of Bel ; " others bore 
the words : " Naram-Sin, builder of (at) the temple of Bel," 
while still others were without any inscription. The bricks 
of Naram-Sin were more numerous than those of his father, 
the ratio between them being about three to one. Haynes 
adds the interesting observation that some of these bricks 
were colored red when he found them, but that their color 
faded slowly whenever they were exposed to the air and 
the sunlight. The lower course contained only imperfect 
bricks of both Sargon and his son and many plano-convex 
bricks with a thumb-mark on their upper (convex) side. 
It became evident at once that these peculiar plano-convex 
bricks, 11 by 7 by 2 inches in size, represent an earlier 
(pre-Sargonic) period, and that the pavement itself was 
originally laid by Sargon and relaid by Naram-Sin, both 
of them utilizing older material in connection with their 
own bricks. 

The same intermingling of earlier bricks with those of the 
Sargon dynasty was noticed in connection with several frag- 
ments of narrow watercourses, which Havnes found at the 
level of Naram-Sin*s pavement, but, as it seems, discon- 
nected with it. His notes at our disposal are very meagre, 
and refer onlv to one of these conduits, which came from 
the middle of the open court and ver\^ perceptibly sloped 
down towards the angle formed by the front face of the 
ziggurrat and the two parallel walls representing part of 
its entrance. This meandering section, which was traced 
for twenty-five feet, consisted of nine joints of trough- 

> Comp. my discussion on this question in **Thc Bah. Exp. of the U. 
of Pa.,** scries A, vol. i, part I (1893), pp. 16, .'Y^f., and part 2 (1896), 

pp. 19, Sf(j. 


shaped tiles, 15^^ feet in aggregate length, with an average 
depth of 2 inches and an average breadth of 3 J^ inches^ 
and continued on either side by peculiarly arranged bricks 
laid in a clay cement (comp. frontispiece). 

As Ur-Gur's pavement rested in some places almost 
directly upon that of his predecessor, no remains of other 
buildings were noticed by Haynes in the thin layer between 
them. However, beneath the storeroom referred to above^ 
but separated from its floor by two feet of rubbish, was 
found an earlier cellar of the same form, yet slightly smaller 
in its dimensions.^ It was also provided with a ledge, upon 
which a circular tablet, two small rectangular ones, and 
the fragments of five others were still lying. Four brick 
stamps of Sargon, with broken handles, which, together 
with the tablets just mentioned, seem to have been left 
intentionally or bv mistake when Ur-Gur removed the con- 
tents of this earlier vault into his own cellar, were recovered 
from the debris which filled it, while a fifth one was found 
immediately underneath its eastern corner. The partly 
ruined walls of this lower structure were only 3 feet hi^i^ 
but originally they must have measured between 5 and 6 
feet. About one foot below their top was a deep bowl of 
yellow pottery, decorated with a rope-pattern ornament 
on its outside, and set in a rim of thumb-marked bricks* 
Its use could no longer be determined. The building 
material of both storerooms was identical in form and 
size, though somewhat different in color and texture. It 
follows, therefore, that the small mould employed by Ur- 
Gur for his crude flat bricks originated at a much earlier 
period, a result which is in entire accord with what we 
learned from our study of the interior mass of the zig^ 
gurrat (p. 374, above). The important new fact derived 
from an examination of this lower cellar is that these small 
crude bricks (9 by 6 by 3 inches) can be traced to about the 

* It was 32 feet long by 7 feet wide. 


time of Sargon and Naram-Sin, who in all probability were 
the original builders of the southeast enclosing wall. 

2. Pre-Sargonic Ruins, According to the date furnished 
by Nabonidos (comp. p. 273), from which we have no rea- 
son to deviate, the pavement of Sargon and Naram-Sin 
marks the period of about 3800-3750 b. c. in the history 
of Bel's sanctuary at Nippur. As we saw previously, the 
accumulation of debris above this pavement during the 
subsequent 3500 years amounted to 16 or 17 feet, includ- 
ing the clay pavement of Ur-Gur — which alone was 8 feet 
thick — or 8 to 9 feet, disregarding the latter. This is com- 
paratively little for such a long period, considering the ra- 
pidity with which ordinary mud buildings, such as doubtless 
occupied the temple court at different times, generally 
crumble and collapse. However, we must not forget that 
every ruler who laid a new pavement razed the ruined 
buildings of his predecessors and levelled the ground for 
his own constructions. But a real surprise was to await us 
in the lowest strata. In descending into the pre-Sargonic 
period below Naram-Sin's pavement, which itself lies six to 
eight feet above the present level of the desert, Haynes 
penetrated through more than thirty feet of ruins before he 
reached the virgin soil, or thirty-five feet before he was at 
the water level/ 

What do these ruins contain ? To what period of human 
history do they lead us? How was this great accumulation 
beneath the level of the desert possible ? What geological 
changes have taken place since to explain this remarkable 
phenomenon ? Such and other similar questions may have 
come to many thoughtful students when they first read these 
extraordinary facts. Naturally enough, they also occupied 
the mind of the present writer seriously for the last six 

* These measurements are quoted from the results of an accurate survey 
of" the remains at the southeast court of the xiggurrat by Geere and Fisher in 
1 900, when I was personally in charge of the excavations. 


or seven years. I will try to give an answer later in con- 
nection with our fourth campaign, when I had the much 
desired opportunity to study personally the few remains left 
by my predecessors in the southeast court of the ziggur- 
raly and to compare them with the results of my own exca- 
vations in the same temple complex. With the mere reports 
of Peters and Haynes to guide us, I am afraid we would 
never have suspected the real nature of these pre-Sargonic 
ruins. For though the numerous brick and pipe construc- 
tions laid bare in the lower strata belonged to the most 
characteristic and best preserved antiquities unearthed by 
the Philadelphia expeditions, the work of the two explorers 
in the debris around them is, perhaps, the least satisfactory 
part of all their excavations at NufFar. In consequence of 
their destructive methods and their superficial work in the 
upper strata, not being sufficiently prepared for the much 
more difficult task in the lower ones, they found them- 
selves, with their untrained eyes, suddenly surrounded by 
the little known remains of Babylonia's earliest civiliza- 
tion, — small bits of mud walls crushed and half dissolved, 
indistinct beds of ashes, and thousands and thousands of 
fragments of terra-cotta vases generally not only broken, but 
forced out of their original shape and position by the enor- 
mous weight of earth lying above them. What wonder that 
they were unable to recognize the essential features of this 
to/iu wabohu themselves, or to communicate what they saw 
in such a manner as to make it intelligible to others who 
might feel inclined to try to untangle the problem for 

Haynes' task in the lower strata of the temple court was 

^ What after hard work and with an unbiassed mind I could put together 
from Haynes* reports was published in "The Bab. Exp. of the Univ. of 
Pa./' series A, vol. i, part 2, pp. 23, seqg. It is natural that the picture 
had to be defective, as the premises communicated on which it was draws 
turned out to be largely incorrect. 


as clearly defined as that in the upper strata. He had to 
determine (^) the earliest form of Bel's sanctuary beneath 
the ziggurraiy as far as this could safely be done by means 
of tunnels and without a complete removal of the whole 
ponderous mass above it; [B) the character and contents of 
the court adjoining the latter on the southeast. The proper 
way to proceed would have been to descend gradually and 
equally on the whole section to be excavated. But Haynes, 
repeating his former mistake, attempted to carry out the two 
parts of his task consecutively, thereby lessening our chances 
of comprehending the sanctuary as a whole and depriving 
us of an opportunity of controlling and checking his results 
at every step. He accordingly descended first by two shafts 
along the southeast face of the ziggurrat^ and excavated 
what was left of the court afterwards.^ Much against my 
will, I am obliged to observe his arrangement and to pre- 
sent his work in the manner in which he executed it. He 
again made several interesting and important discoveries, 
but he totallv failed to ascertain the character of the sane- 
tuary and the real contents of its surroundings, and was 
often unsuccessful in understanding the single antiquities 
excavated and their mutual relation to each other. 

A. Haynes was doubtless most eager to find out what 
was lying beneath the ziggurrat. In the course of his ex- 
cavations he disclosed four constructions either beneath the 
tower or in its immediate neighborhood, which deserve our 
special attention. They stood apparently in direct connec- 
tion with the earliest sanctuary, or even formed part of it. 

I. About three and a half feet below Naram-Sin\s pave- 
ment he came upon the top of a narrow strip of burned 
brickwork (No. 6). It was about twelve feet distant from 
the front face of the stage-tower, with which it ran roughly 
parallel, continuing its course equally to the southwest 

* Comp. the illustration facing p. 453, which enables the reader to un- 
derstand the method by which Haynes proceeded. 



under the entrance walls of Ur-Gur and to the northeast of 
the court-yard, in the rubbish of which it disappeared. This 
peculiar curb seemed to define an earlier sanctuary towards 
the southeast. It was 18 inches high, and consisted of 
seven courses of plano-convex bricks (8^ by 5^ by 25^ 

Dnigncd hy H. V. Hilprcil 
/. Sumiiau JhfaJc buili hy Ur-Gur. j. fi,. 
J. Nirikcaa io'^duii iuili h Ur-Gur, rrp^ 
Pai'l<Kl«,lfU'-Gur. J. F^-lr„n,«/N. 
arutmrt. S. Tie ,<.-c^ 

i«n by C. S. Fisher. 
,.f the rnira^it -walk hudi hf tit u,m,. 
h K^J,i<»man-Turgu and AAurbiitapal. 4, 
-Sin. 1". Pri-Sargwic curb. 7. TitL-iipftJ 

inches and evidently forming the basis for Ur-Gur's stand- 
ard size of flat bricks). They were curiously creased 
lengthwise, and their convex surface, without exception, 
was placed upward in the wall. 

1. I nside this enclosure, directly below the pavement (No. 
4) of Ur-Gur's ziggurral (No. i) and practically leaning 


against the latter, if we imagine its front face continued 
farther down, stood another interesting structure (No. 8). 
Its top was three feet below Naram-Sin's pavement, and 
accordingly two feet higher than the base of the curb, 
from which it was distant about four feet. It was 13 feet 
long, 8 feet wide, and constructed of unbaked bricks laid 
in bitumen. The upper hollowed surface of this massive 
concern was surrounded by a rim of bitumen, 7 inches high, 
and was covered with a layer of white ashes 2l4 inches 
in depth, which contained evident remains of bones. To 
the southwest of it Haynes discovered a kind of bin also 
built of crude bricks and likewise filled with (black and 
white) ashes about a foot deep. He arrived at the con- 
clusion, therefore, that this was an altar, " the ancient place 
where the sacrificial victims were burned." This expla- 
nation is possible, but not probable. In fact, the enor- 
mous size of the structure and the rim of bitumen, which 
necessarily would have been consumed at every large sacri- 
fice, speak decidedly against his theory. Besides, an Old- 
Babylonian altar has an entirely different form on the 
numerous seal cylinders where it is depicted. My own 
explanation of this structure will be found in connection 
with the results of the fourth expedition. 

], Directly below the east corner of Ur-Gur's ziggurrat^ 
and parallel with its northeast and southeast faces, was an- 
other building, exhibiting th^ peculiar ground-plot of an 
I. (No. 7), but with regard to its original purpose even 
more puzzling than either of the two structures just de- 
scribed. Its top was on a level with Naram-Sin's pave- 
ment, while its foundation was laid eleven feet below it. 
This solid tower-like edifice, disconnected with any other 
structure in its neighborhood, " had an equal outside length 
and breadth of 23 feet*' (northeast and southeast sides), and 
was about 12 feet thick. " Its splendid walls, which show 
no trace of a door or opening of any kind, were built of large 


crude bricks" (on an average i6 inches square and 3J^ 
inches thick), made of " tenacious clay thoroughly mixed 
with finely cut straw and well kneaded." They are "of 
good mould, and in proportions, size, and texture closely 
resemble the stamped crude bricks of Naram-Sin." Though 
Haynes devoted much time to their identification, he could 
determine neither the design of the building nor " the era 
of its construction." Yet he felt sure that it was " the lowest 
and most ancient edifice " thus far discovered in the temple 
enclosure of Nippur, and that its bricks are "the prototype 
of those of Naram-Sin, which they doubtless preceded by at 
least several centuries." To my regret, I must differ again 
with these conclusions after having studied the history of 
the ziggurrat in connection with a second personal visit to 
the ruins in 1900. 

While examining the surroundings of this interesting edi- 
fice, Haynes came first upon the same gray or black ashes 
as are found everywhere in the court of the ziggurrat imme- 
diately below Naram-Sin's pavement, next upon " lumps of 
kneaded clay," then upon several stray bits of lime mortar. 
All these traces of human activity were imbedded in the 
debris characteristic of the lower strata, which largely con- 
sist of earth, ashes, and innumerable potsherds. When he 

had reached a depth of nine feet from the 
top of the solid structure, — in other words, 
had descended about four feet below the 
bottom of the ancient curb on the southeast 
side of the stage-tower, — he found a large 
quantity ^ of fragments of terra-cotta water 
T-Pipe Joint pipes of the form here shown. Though 

the reports before me offer no satisfactor\* 
clue as to their precise use, there can be little doubt that 
they belong to the real pre-Sargonic period. I will try to 

* ** Several hundred of these objects were found within a radius of five 


explain their purpose later, Haynes' interpretation being 
better passed over in silence. 

4. The explorer's curiosity was aroused at once, and 
having sunk his shaft a few feet deeper at the spot where 
the greatest number of these terra-cotta pipes were lying, 
he made one of the most far-reaching single discoveries 
in the lower strata of Nippur. After a brief search he 
came upon a very remarkable drain (No. 9), reminding 
us of the advanced system of canalization, as e. g. we find 
it in Paris at the present time. It ran obliquely under the 
rectangular building described above, starting, as I believe, 
at a corner of the early sanctuary, but evidently having 
fallen into disuse long before the L-shaped building was 
erected. It could still be traced for about six feet into the 
interior of the ruins underlying the ziggurrat. But its 
principal remains were disclosed in the open court, into 
which it extended double that length, so that its tolerably 
preserved mouth lay directly below the ancient curb, — 
a fact of the utmost importance. For it constitutes a new 
argument in favor of the theory previously expressed that 
this curb marked the line of the earliest southeast enclosure 
of the ziggurraty or whatever formerly may have taken the 
place of the latter. But it also follows that a gutter of 
some kind, which carried the water to a safe distance, must 
have existed in this neighborhood outside the curb. 

No sooner had Haynes commenced removing the debris 
from the ruined aqueduct than he found, to his great aston- 
ishment, that it terminated in a vaulted section 3 feet long 
and was built in the form of a true elliptical arch, — the 
oldest one thus far discovered, l^he often ventilated ques- 
tion as to the place and time of origin of the arch was 
thereby decided in favor of ancient Babylonia.^ The bot- 
tom of this reliable witness of pre-Sargonic civilization lies 

^ A similar arch, though not quite as old, was soon afterwards unearthed 
in Tcllo. Comp. pp. 251, seq. , above. 


fifteen feet below Naram-Sin's pavement, or ten feet below 
the base of the curb, which it probably antedates by a cen- 
tury or two. We may safely assign it, therefore, to the 
end of the fifth pre-Christian millennium. It presented a 
number of interesting peculiarities. Being 2 feet i inch 
high (inside measurement), and having a span of i foot 8 
inches and a rise of i foot i inch, it was constructed of well 
baked plano-convex bricks laid on the principle of radiating 
voussoirs. These bricks measured 12 by 6 by 2I4 inches, 
were light yellow in color, and bore certain marks on their 
upper or convex surface, which had been made either by 
pressing the thumb and index finger deeply into the clay in 
the middle of the brick, or by drawing one or more fingers 
lengthwise over it. Primitive as they doubtless are, they 
do not (as Haynes inferred) " represent the earliest t\'pe 
of bricks found at Nippur or elsewhere in Babylonia," — 
which are rather smaller and sometimes a little thicker, — 
though for a considerable while both kinds were used along- 
side each other and often in the same building.^ The curve 
of the arch was effected " by wedge-shaped joints of the 
simple clay mortar used to cement the bricks." " On the 
top of its crown was a crushed terra-cotta pipe about 3 or 
3^^ inches in diameter," the meaning of which Havnes de- 
clares unknown. I cannot help thinking that it served a 
purpose similar to the holes provided at regular intervals 
in our modern casing walls of terraces, etc. ; in other words, 
that the pipe was intended to give exit to the rain water 

^ Thus, e. j[^. , in a drain discovered by the fourth expedition in the cast sec- 
tion of the temple court at the lo^ve^t level of any of the baked brick con- 
structions hitherto excavated at Nuffar. It contained bricks of the size 1 2 bv 57^ 
by 2'.^ inches, and others measuring only SSq by 4//^ by 2 inches, while at 
the foundation of the northeast city gate of Nippur the two kinds of bricb 
marked two pre-Sargonic periods succeeding each other precisely as in the 
two lowest buildings of Mound B at Tcllo (comp. p. 24 1, above). Comp. 
also p. 251, above. He who built the drain in part doubtless used older 


percolating the soil behind and above it, and in this way to 
prevent the softening of the clay cement between the bricks 
of the arch, and the caving-in of the whole vault which 
would result from it. This explanation being accepted, it 
necessarily follows that the floor of the court surrounding 
the earliest sanctuary was not paved with burned bricks, an 
inference entirely confirmed by the excavations. 

There is much to be said in favor of the theory that this 
skilfully planned tunnel was arched over originally along its 
entire length. Like its vault, the lower part of the aque- 
duct presented several most surprising features. " Just be- 
neath the level of the pavement and in the middle of the 
water channel were two parallel terra-cotta tiles, 8 inches in 
diameter, with a 6-inch flanged mouth." Haynes, regard- 
ing this tunnel as a drain rather than the protecting struc- 
ture for a drain, was at a loss to explain their presence and 
significance. They were laid in clay mortar and consisted 
of single joints or sections, each 2 feet long, cemented 
together by the same material. We may raise the question : 
Why are there two small pipes instead of one large one? 
Evidently because they carried the water from two diflfer- 
ent directions to a point inside the sacred enclosure, where 
they met and passed through the arched tunnel together. 
They surely testify to a most highly developed system of 
drainage in the very earliest period of Babylonian history. 
I have, therefore, no doubt that the so-called " water- 
cocks " previously mentioned served some purpose in con- 
nection with this complicated system of canalization, and 
that in all probability they are to be regarded as specially 
prepared joints intended to unite terra-cotta pipes meeting 
each other at a right angle. 

The mouth of the tunnel was provided with a T-shaped 
construction of plano-convex bricks, which Haynes is in- 
clined to consider as " the means employed for centring 
the arch," or as " a device to exclude domestic animals, 


like sheep, from seeking shelter within it against the piti- 
less sun's rays in midsummer," while the present writer 
rather sees in it a strengthening pillar erected to protect 
the most exposed part of the tunnel at the point where 
the arching proper begins and the side walls are most 
liable to yield to the unequal pressure from the surround- 
ing mass of earth. That the last-mentioned view is the 
more plausible and the explanation of the single pipe placed 
over the arch as given above is reasonable, follows from 
what happened in the course of the excavations. A few 
months after Havnes had removed the brick structure with 
its two arms, he reported suddenly that the arch had been 
** forced out of its shape, probably from the unequal pres- 
sure of the settling mass above it, which had been drenched 
with rain water." Truly the original purpose of these sim- 
ple means, which had secured the preservation of the arch 
for six thousand vears, could not have been demonstrated 
more forcibly. At the same time, Haynes, who never 
thought of this occurrence as having any bearing upon the 
whole question, could not have paid a higher compliment 
to the inventive genius and the extraordinary forethought 
of the ancient Babylonian architects. 

Like all other parts, the long side walls of this unique 
tunnel were built with remarkable care. They consisted of 

eleven courses of bricks laid in clay mortar — a sure in- 


dication that the tunnel itself was not intended to carrv 


water.^ The six lowest courses, the eighth, the tenth, and 
eleventh, were placed flatwise with their long edge pre- 
sented to view, while the seventh and ninth courses were 
arranged on their long edges like books on a shelf with 
their small edge visible. Considering all the details of this 

^ In the earliest days of Babylonian architecture, bitumen is the regular 
cement used for important baked brick walls constantly washed by water. 
Comp. p. 252, above. Small gutters and similar conduits carrying water 
over open places, etc., show clay mortar occasionally. 


excellent system of canalization in the fifth pre-Christian 
millennium, which not long ago was regarded as a prehis- 
toric period, we may be pardoned for asking the question : 
Wherein lies the often proclaimed progress in draining the 
capitals of Europe and America in the twentieth century of 
our own era? It would rather seem as if the methods 
of to-day are little different from what they were in ancient 
Nippur or Calneh, one of the four cities of the kingdom of 
" Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord " (Gen. lo : 9, 
j^y.),at theso-called 
" dawn of civiliza- 
tion," — a some- 
what humiliating 
discovery for the 
fast advancing spirit 
of the modern age ! 
How many un- 
counted centuries of 
human develop- 
ment may lie be- 
yond that niarvel- 
I o u s age repre- 
sented bv the 
vaulted tunnel with 
the two terra-cotta 
pipes imbedded in 
cement at its l>ot- 
tom, four feet be- 
low the former 
plain level of " the 
land of Shinar " ! 

B. The results 
obtained by Havnes in excavating the space between 
the ancient curb and the later enclosing wall of the 
ziggurral cannot be considered separately, as they are 


not only less conspicuous than those just described, but 
have been reported in such a manner as to defy all efforts 
to comprehend them from any point of view. At different 
levels and apparently belonging to different epochs, he found 
perpendicular drains almost everywhere in the court. They 
were constructed of single terra-cotta rings, sometimes with 
perforations in their sides, placed above each other, and oc- 
casionally provided with a bell-shaped top-piece, in one case ' 
even bounded by a terra-cotta floor, with a rim around it 
and made in four sections. The level at which the opening 
of the lowest perpendicular drain seems to occur lies ten 
and a quarter to eleven feet below Naram-Sin's pavement, 
according to my own measurements of the remains of 
Haynes' excavated antiquities. It is about identical with 
that which I ascertained from later researches at the ruins 
as the original plain level. Here and there Haynes struck 
a small piece of pavement, which he explained as a fire- 
place, because of the ashes seen near and upon it. At 
some places he unearthed fragments of gently sloping water 
conduits, at others wells built of plano-convex bricks laid in 
herring-bone fashion,^ at still others low walls, remains of 
rooms, too nearly ruined, according to his statements, to 
allow of a restoration of their ground plan. But above all, 
he discovered many large terra-cotta jars in various forms 
and sizes, and without any order, standing in the rubbish 
around and below them. Wherever he dug he came upon 
" a multitude of potsherds scattered profusely through the 
vast accumulation of debris, earth, decomposed refuse matter 
and ashes." The lowest vase of this large type found 
whole by him stood about twenty feet below Naram-Sin's 

^ This special drain, shown in the illustration on p. 401, descended six and 
a half feet and had an average diameter of 2 3^ feet. 

^ Comp. the illustration below (** Section of a Pre- Sargonic Well, Bricks 
laid in Herring-bone Fashion**) in the chapter "On the Topography of 
Ancient Nippur.** 


pavement. Haynes' idea is that all these vases — and he 
excavated no less than fifteen at one place within a compar- 
atively small radius — served "for the ablutions of the pil- 
grims," while some of the drains he regards as urinals and 
the like. To what inferences are we driven by his reports! 
The entire sacred precinct of the earliest ziggurral of Bel 
one huge lavatory and water-closet situated from nine to 
twenty feet below the ancient level of the plain ! 

A few additional facts which I have been able to gather 
after much toil from his reports and descriptions of photo- 
graphs may follow as an attempt on my part to complete 
the strange picture of these lowest excavations. They have 
been arranged according to the levels given by Haynes. Yet 
be it understood expressly that the present writer cannot 
always be held responsible for the correctness of the recorded 
observations, A little below the pavement of Naram-Sin 
there seems to have 
been " a very large 
bed of black [and 
gray] ashes of un- 
known extent, vary- 
ing in depth from i 
to 154 feet." The 
next objects below 
this which attracted 
Haynes'attention are 
"a fragment of un- 
baked clay bearing 
the impression of a 
large seal cylinder, 
and a large vase, a feet 
8 inches in height, 
which contained the skeleton of a child, several animal 
bones, and small vases," The importance of this unique 
find as the first sure example of a prc-Sargonic burial is 


apparent. We therefore look naturally for further details. 
But our search is unsuccessful. The notes before us con- 
tain nothing beyond what I have stated and the remark 
that " the skeleton is by no means complete ; even parts 
of the skull have decayed." 

At about the same level (" two feet below the pavefnent " 
mentioned), but evidently at another locality, Haynes 
reached another " bed of mingled light gray ashes and earth 
not less than 9 feet in diameter and perhaps 8 inches in 
extreme depth." It contained two seal cylinders,^ one gold 
bead, one badly corroded silver bead, two hundred stone 
beads, " chiefly of a dull gray slate color, quite in contrast 
to the more highly colored beads of agate, jasper, etc., gen- 
erally found in these mounds," and six finger-rings made 
of several silver wires each about ^ of an inch in diam- 

Our interest is roused again by a label accompanying a 
photograph. It reads : "A large covered jar set in a dais 
of brick-work. Its top is four feet below the level of 
Naram-Sin's pavement." We ask at once : Was there any- 
thing in it to show its purpose — ashes, earth, deposits of 
some kind ? The veil drops ; we hear nothing more about 
it. From the same stratum we have " a perfect and well 
wrought copper nail, i3^ inches long," and the fragment 
of a copper knife [or sword?], 4.^ inches long and 
1 5/16 inches wide. "Five archaic tablets" are also re- 
ported to have been found " not less than four feet be- 
low the level of the same pavement." They are " rudely 
fashioned, and appear to be inscribed with numbers only rep- 
resented by straight and curved lines in groups of two, three, 
nine, and ten. In one instance a column of nine curved 
marks made by the thumb nail is flanked on either side by a 

^ One in bone. ** It is deeply and rather rudely engraved with two large 
birds standing upright with outstretched wings.'* ** Between the birds is an 
unicnown animal form.** 


column of ten straight lines, made by the use of some other 
instrument than the stylus. One tablet has a single group 
of nine marks on 
one side of the tab- 
let, and on the op- 
posite side are two 
groups of two lines 
or marks each." 
This description of 
the first pre-Sar- 
go n i c cuneiform 
tablets found in situ 
at Nippur is brief 
and lacks essential 
details, but for the time being it sufficed, as the present writer 
was expected to examine the originals later in Constantinople, 
and therefore had an opportunity to verify and supplement 
the reports sent from the field. He found them to be 
the school exercises of a Babylonian child living in the 
fifth pre-Christian millennium. But the case unfortunately 
was different with regard to the many large pre-Sargonic 
vases unearthed in the lower strata of the court of the z/^- 
gurral. Precious as these witnesses of a hoary antiquity 
appear to us as welcome links in the history of archjeology, 
thev do not seem to have been viewed by Havnes in the 
same light. He took photographs of a few of the jars and 
caldrons, but he saved none of the originals, though quite a 
number of them were discovered whole or only slightly 
broken, and others, which were dug out in fragments, could 
have been restored without difficulty. If, indeed, any was 
packed and forwarded with the other excavated antiquities, 
it surely was not accompanied by a label, and consequently 
has not been identified. 

The lack of accurate information is especially felt in con- 
nection with the following two specimens of early Babylo- 


nian pottery which are reported to have been found in a 
room the walls of which were 1 1 feet high and lay entirely 
below Naram-Sin's pavement. How large this room wis, 
whether it had any door, and other necessary details are not 
stated. It contained two open vases about fourteen feet 
distant from each other.^ They stood in their original po- 
sitions at two different levels, the one being placed aboat 
two and a half feet higher than the other. We notice re- 
markable differences also with regard to their forms and 
sizes. One was bell-shaped, and had a flat bottom about 
twice as large in diameter as its mouth. The other was a 
little over two feet high, measured one foot nine inches acrosi 
the top, and was decorated with a rope pattern.* 

In descending a little farther and reaching a level of fif* 
teen feet below the often mentioned pavement, Haynes 
picked up " a fragment of red lacquered pottery " so much 
superior in quality to " anything unearthed in the stxaia 
subsequent to the time of Ur-Gur," that heat first doubopjl 
whether it really belonged to that ancient period. But softit 
afterwards he obtained a:nother red piece twenty-three Stmt 
below the line of demarcation given above, and a snisil 
fragment of a black cup of the same -high degree of work-- 
manship three feet below that. It is a well known fact to- 
day that similar vases occur also in the lowest strata of Susa 
in Persia and in the earliest Egyptian ruins. 

We cannot close this brief resume of Haynes' activity in 
the lowest strata of the temple mound without mentioning 
briefly that he found " a fragment of black ^ clay bearing 
several human forms in relief upon its curved surface,*' also 
twenty-three feet below Naram-Sin's pavement, and another 

1 According to my estimate, the accuracy of which I cannot guarantee. 

^ Comp., also, the illustration published in Hilprecht, ** The Bab. Exp. of 
the U. of Pa.,*' series A, vol. i, part 2, plate xxvii. It appears to have 
been found in a fine state of preservation according to the photograph, but 
according to Haynes' report it was •* too much broken to be removed." 

^ This seems to have been blackened bv fire. 


larger piece two feet deeper; and fiirthermore, that Ke took 

a small gray terra-cotta vase, which he fortunately saved, 

from the layer between these two 

objects and described by him as 

being " literally filled with pot- 
sherds of small size, and generally 

brick red in color." He concludes 

his observations by stating that 

" the lowest strata show a large 

proportion of black ashes and 

fine charcoal mingled with the 

earth," but contain " potsherds 

in only moderate quantities ; ' 

and that " the very earliest traces 

of civilization at Nippur " — 

thirty feet below Naram-Sin's 

pavement ! — " are ashes where 

fires were built on the level plain." 

But Haynes' "level plain" lies wppur 

rather eighteen to nineteen feet 

below where it actually was. He will, therefore, pardon us 

for looking for a more reasonable explanation of these re- 
markable ashes and potsherds dis- 
covered — as the Babylonian 
scribes would say — in " the 
breast of the earth," around the 
sanctuary of Bel, instead of ac- 
cepting his own, according to 
which " thev mark the level of 
the alluvial plain where the first 
inhabitants grazed their flocks and 
made their primitive abodes." 

In view of the prominent posi- 
tion which the temple of Bel, as 

the oldest and most renowned sanctuary of all Babylonia, 


occupied in the political and civil life of its population^ 
it has been necessary to lay before the reader all the princi- 
pal facts which I could extricate from the often obscure re- 
ports at my disposal, in order to enable him to comprehend 
the condition and characteristic features of the ruins and to 
acquaint himself with the history and methods of their 
exploration. My review of Haynes' work on the western 
side of the Shatt en-Nil will have to be briefer, as he, like 
Peters, never attempted to explore those mounds systemat- 
ically, but, on the whole, was satisfied with recovering all 
the tablets and other antiquities from the numerous unbaked 
brick buildings which they contained. Most of the twenty 
thousand cuneiform records and fragments excavated be- 
tween 1893 ^"d 1896 in the long ridge limited by the 
numbers VI and VIII on the plan of the ruins (p. 305) are 
lists (and a few contracts) dated in the reigns of Cassite 
rulers (about 1 500-1 250 b. c), several of which show ex- 
ceedinglv interesting and peculiar seal impressions. Some 
two or three thousand belong to the third pre-Christian 
millennium. They include many so-called contracts (and 
receipts) from the time of the kings of the dynasties of Ur, 
(N)isin, Larsa, and Babylon.* Inhere are a few letters and 
literary tablets among them, which may originally have 
formed part of the temple library situated on the opposite 
bank (iV) of the canal. The neo- Assyrian, Chaldean and 
Persian dynasties are represented by about twelve hundred 
contract tablets. 

More than seven hundred of these are of especial im- 
portance. At the end of May, 1893, ^'^^Y were discovered 
in one of the rooms of a ruined building at a depth of 
twenty feet below the surface (V^iil on the plan of the 

^ I remember, e. g., a tablet dated in the government of Ur-Ninib of 
(N)isin, about five hundred to eight hundred dated according to Rim-Sin's 
new era (fall of (N)isin), several dated in the reign of a king Bel-bani, and 
a few dated in the reigns of other kings previously not known. Comp. p. 382. 



ruins, p. 305). The great care with which they had been 
made, the exceptionally pure and soft clay chosen, and the 
large number of fine seal impressions exhibited by many of 
them attracted my attention at once. Upon closer examina- 
tion they proved to belong to the business archives of a great 
Babylonian firm, Murashii Sons, bankers and brokers at 
Nippur, who lived in the time of Artaxerxes I. (464-424 
B. c.) and Darius II. (423-405 b. c), in whose reigns the 
documents are dated. According to a system better known 

from the later Roman Knipire, this banking-house acted also 
as an agent for the Persian kings, from whom it had rented 
the taxes levied upon their Babvlonian subjects at Nippur 
and neighboring districts. The contents of these 730 tab- 
lets accordingly had an unusual interest. The active life 
and motion which pulsated in the streets of the famous " city 
of Bel," in the fore-courts of its temple, and in the fields on 
the palm and corn-laden banks of " the great canal " at the 


time when Kzra and Nehemiah led the descendants of Nebu- 
chadrezzar's exiled Jews from these very plains to Palestine, 
were unfolded vividly before our eyes. We were enabled to 
confirm and supplement what the Greeks tell us about the 
large number of Persians settled in the various provinces of 
the vast empire. We became acquainted with the names and 
titles of the different officers — among them the databariy 
known from Daniel 3 : 2, seq. — who were stationed all over 
the fertile country between the lower Euphrates and Tigris, 
to look after the interests of their government. 

From early days Babylonia was a land of many tongues, 
but at no other period of its varied history are we so im- 
pressed with the great proportion of the foreign element in 
this rich alluvial plain as during the centuries following the 
fall of Babylon, 538 b. c. The population of Babylonia at 
the time of Artaxerxes I and Darius II appears about as 
thoroughly mixed as that of the United States in our own 
time. And as the emigrants from Europe and Asia brought 
their customs and religions, their languages and the local 
and personal names of their native lands to their new settle- 
ments in the New World, so Persians and Medians, Ara- 
means and Sabeans, Judeans and F.domites, etc., transplanted 
those of their former abodes, from which they often had 
been carried away bv the vicissitudes of war, to ancient 
Babylonia. Very numerous are Persian and Aramean per- 
sonal proper names in these documents. Unusually large 
is the number of Jewish names known from the Old Testa- 
ment, especially from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. 
There can be no doubt that a considerable number of the 
Jewish prisoners carried away by Nebuchadrezzar were set- 
tled in Nippur and its neighborhood, where many of their 
descendants continued to live as long as the city existed 
(about 900 A. I).), to judge from the many inscribed He- 
brew bowls excavated everywhere in the upper strata of 
its ruins. The Talmudic tradition which identifies Nippur 


with the Biblical Calneh gains new force in the light of 
these facts, strengthened by the argument that the earliest 
and most important Babylonian city, which occupies the first 
place in the Sumerian story of the creation, could not well 
have been omitted bv the writer of Genesis lo: lo. And 
we feel we tread on sacred ground, considering that even 
F^zekiel himself, while among the captives of his people at 
Tel-Abib,* while admonishing and comforting the scattered 
inhabitants of Judah's depopulated cities, and while seeing 
his famous visions of the cherubims on the banks of " the 
river Chebar in the land of the Chaldeans " (Ezek. 1:1,3; 

^ Since the publication of Tiele, BabyL-Ass^r. Geschichte^ p. 427, the 
modern commentators have begun to change the Hebrew ;}^3H \t\ ( ^'^^- 
Abtbf ** Mound of the ear of corn *' ) with good reason into the Babylonian 
2^2S bi1> Til-Ahuby "Mound of the storm-flood,*' a name by which the 
Babylonians used to denote the large sand-hills scattered over their plain even 
in those early days. Comp. especially the late Richard Kraetzschmar's Das 
Buck Ezechiel, Gottingen, 1900, pp. 5, seq., 34. To-day such enormous 
sand-hills are found in several districts of 'Iraq, notably in the neighborhood of 
Jokha, Warka (comp. pp. 144 and 152, above), Tell-Ibrahim (= Cuthah, 
comp. p. 277, above), and Nufl^ar. Those of Nufl^r are very extensive, but 
not very high. They rise about ten to thirty feet above the desert, three to 
four miles to the north of the ruins. I regard them as identical with the 7/7- 
Abi(u)b of Ezekiel chiefly for the following four considerations: 1. The 
archives of Murashu Sons proved that many Jewish exiles actually must have 
been settled in the districts around Nippur. 2. All these Babylonian sand- 
hills, while constantly changing their aspect within the area covered by them 
owing to certain whirlwinds, and gradually extending even farther into the 
fertile plain, on the whole have remained stationary, as we can infer from a 
comparison of the reports of early travellers with our own obser\'ations. 3. 
The remarkably large number of Hebrew bowls found everywhere in the 
smaller mounds within a radius of five to ten miles to the east and north 
of Nufl^ar testifv to a great Jewish settlement in these regions as late as the 
seventh century of our own era. 4. The extensive sand-hill, or til-abuh, 
of Nufl^ar lies about a mile or more to the east of the ancient bed of the 
Shatt en-Nil, a fact which agrees most remarkably with a statement in Ezek. 
3:15, according to which the prophet went from the Chebar to Tel-abi(Li)b, 
so that this Jewish colony cannot have been situated in the immediate fertile 
neighborhood of ** the great canal." 


3 : 1 5 ; lo : 1 5), stood in the veVy shadow of Babylonia's na- 
tional sanctuary, the crumbling walls of the great temple of 
Bel. For soon after the business archives of Murashu Sons 
had been cleaned and catalogued by the present writer, he 
was fortunate enough to discover the river Chebar, for 
which hitherto we had searched the cuneiform literature in 
vain, in the n^r Kabari^ one of the three or four large navi- 
gable canals of ancient Nippur. 

The question arose at once, which one of these canals 
still to be traced without difficulty by their lofty embank- 
ment walls represents " the river " under consideration. It 
seemed natural to identify " the Chebar,'* or n&r Kabari. 
meaning literally " the great canal," with the now dry bed of 
the Shatt en-Nil, which passes through the ruined city. But 
while having even so expressed myself in my lectures, I pre- 
ferred to withhold this theory from my introduction to vol. 
ix of our official publication until I could examine the 
topography of the entire region once more personally and 
search the inscriptions for additional material. I am now 
prepared to furnish the required proof and to state the re- 
sults of my later investigations briefly as follows: i. The 
largest of all the canals once watering the fields of Nippur 
is often written ideographically as " the Euphrates of Nip- 
pur," a name occurring even in the old- Babylonian inscrip- 
tion% of the third millennium/ It is evident that onlv the 
canal on which Nippur itself was situated, /. <f., the Shatt 
en-Nil of the Arabs, which divides the mounds into two 
approximately even halves, could have been designated in 
this manner, a. An examination of all the inscriptions at 
my disposal revealed the fact that nar Kabari is the phonetic 
pronunciation of the ideographic writing "The Euphrates 
of Nippur," and therefore also the former Babylonian name 

^ For the present comp. the passages quoted by me in ** The Bab. Exp. 
of the U. of Pa./* series A, vol. ix, p. 76, and the cone inscription of 

Samsu-iluna translated below (Fourth Campaign). 


of the Shatt en-Nil. Hence it follows that " the river Che- 
bar in the land of the Chaldeans " was the greatest canal of 
Babylonia proper, " the great canal " par excellence, which 
branched off from the Euphrates somewhere above Babylon 
and ran through almost the whole interior of the country 
from north to south. It was the great artery which brought 
life and fertility to the otherwise barren alluvial plain en- 
closed by the Euphrates and the Tigris and turned the 
whole interior into one luxuriant garden. The nar Kabari 
had the same significance for Nippur, the most ancient and 
renowned city of the country, as the Euphrates for Sippara 
and Babylon, or the Nile for Egypt, and therefore was 
called most appropriately " the Euphrates of Nippur " by 
the Sumerians, " the great canal" by the Semitic Babylo- 
nians, and the "river Nile" by the Arabic population of 
later times. In some parts of Southern Babylonia the bed 
of the canal was wider than that of the present Euphrates 
below Hilla, while its average depth at Nippur measured 
from fifteen to twenty feet. 

Wherever Haynes drove his tunnels into the real Baby- 
lonian strata of the long ridge on the west bank of the Shatt 
en-Nil, he came upon extensive remains of mud buildings, 
broken tablets, scattered weights and seal cylinders. My 

examination of all the portable antiquities excavated there 
led in every case to the same result, that this long-stretched 
mound represents the business quarter of ancient Nippur, 



and conceals the large mercantile houses, the shops of han- 
dicraftsmen, — the bazaars of the city, which occupied this 
site at least from the time ofUr-Gur, and probably even 
from the days of Sargon I, The contents of the archives 
of the firm of Murashu Sons ; the strictly businesslike char- 
acter of ail the neo-Babvlonian tablets obtained from there ; 
the eighteen thousand administrative lists and books of entry 
of the Cassite period ; the thousands of case tablets of the 
third pre-Christian millennium; the large number of trian- 
gular ciav labels — and more espe- 
cially fifty-six of ellipsoidal form 
found together in one room — all of 
which bear a short legend or a seal 
impression, or both at the same rime, 
and without exception are provided 
with holes tor the thread by which 
thev were tied to sacks, baskets, 
mngub,uw(..on.L.,,,i,. ^^^ merchandise of everv de- 

thi Shephnd Uii-ilu ] ' 

scription;' the many oblong^ and 
duck-shaped weights in stone, one 
(fragmentary) even sculptured in the 
form of a resting lamb inscribed with 
seven lines of carlv Babylonian writ- 
ing, and the much more numerous ones 
in clay, sometimes evidentiv belonging 
to a series ; the excepdonallv large num- 

1 (■ J ■ 1 , J ^'^^ ""'' ^'' Imp^on 

ber or seal cylinders, as a rule cracked, Mi,:>< 2100 b. c. 

broken, badly effaced or otherwise dam- 
aged by fire, which for the greater part were gathered in 
the accumulated debris of the ravines or in the loose earth 

a pardonable mistake, as ht 

' Hayiies regarded them ai amuleis or 

.Id not read their inscriptions- 

' Among ihem the fine insirihed hcmaiiic weight with the inscripiio 

en shekels, gold standard, the ,/,(m*,7r," published in Hilprccht, " Tl 

1. Exp. of the U. of Pa.," series A, vol. i, part i, no. 13:. 


on the slopes of the mounds, — these and many other facts 
and considerations which cannot be set forth here in detail 
afford positive proof for the correctness of my theorv. 

Some of the houses seem to have covered a considerable 
area. Haynes calls them palace-like buildings. It is, there- 
fore, the more to be regretted that the unscientific method of 
excavating introduced by Peters and continued by Haynes 
especially in this section, where confessedly they endeavored 
to secure the largest possible amount of inscribed material 
at the least possible outlay of time and money, has thus far 
deprived me of the possibility of restoring the ground plan 
and describing the inner arrangement of even a single real 
Babylonian business house. In several instances "the ar- 
chives were found in the very position in which they had 
been left when the building was destroyed." The tablets 
were " placed on their edges 
reclining against each other like 
a shelf of leaning books in an 
ill-kept librar>' of to-day." As 
a rule, however, they lay 
broken and in great confusion 
on the ground, or they were 
buried between the layers of 
rubbish which covered the 
floor. Some of the tablets, particularly those of the 
Cassite period, must have been of an enormous size. 
Restored on the basis of excavated fragments, the largest un- 
baked tablet was lo bv 14 bv 3 inches and the largest baked, 
16 by 12 bv ^'2 inches. As most of the tablets discovered 
were unbaked or baked insufficiently, thev not onlv are 
badly broken and chipped off everywhere, but thev have 
suffered exceedingly from the humidity of the soil in which 
they lay. In many cases the salts of nitre contained in the 
clay had crystallized and caused the gradual disintegration 
of complete documents, or at least, the flaking off of the 



inscribed surfaces. Frequently they crumbled to dust 
imtnediatelv after their discovery or soon afterwards, on 
their way from Nutfar to Constantinople. The often 
advised baking of such tablets was not only useless, but 
proved repeatedly even most damaging, as it accelerated 
the process of dissolution and hardened the dirt, filling the 
cuneiform characters to such a degree that it could not be 
removed later. 1 hus far, none of the means gen'endljr 
recommended has proved an effective preservative for tab- 
lets doomed to destruction long before they are discovered. 
While the large mass of documents obtained from this 
ridge (VII-VIII) has to do with transactions of privste 
individuals, there are 
others which evidently 
have reference to gov- 
ernment affairs and to 
the business adminis- 
tration of the temple. 
This is especially the 
case with a number of 
tablets excavated in the 
southeast section (VI), 
situated opposite the 
priests' quarters and the 
temple library (IV). 
c^»iK Accuunt niiM About 1400 ■. c. It secms, therefore, 

not unlikely that the 
temple owned some property on the west side of the canal 
also, and that a large government building once occupied 
part of this mound. The fragments of several barrel cyl- 
inders of Sargon of Assyria (722-705 b. c.) discovered at VI 
bv the first (comp. pp. 3 1 2, jeq., above) and third expeditions 
point in this direction. It cannot be denied, on the other 
hand, that a number of the objects coming from these hills 
most assuredly were out of their original places, and very 


probably were carried at different times from the temple 
quarters to the west part of the city. I count among these 
antiquities a terra-cotta dog with a brief neo-Baby Ionian 
legend ; several stray lapis lazuli discs from the upper strata 
with votive inscriptions of Kurigalzu, Nazi-Maruttash and 

Kadashman-Turgu (about 1400 b. c.|; a fine inscribed 
terra-cotta vase, about 3 inches high, of the third pre- 
Christian millennium, originally filled " with the choicest 
oil " and presented as " a bridal gift " to some deitv , the 
flat round ends of two inscribed terra-cotta cones found in 


1893 and 1895 respectively, at places and levels widely 
apart from each other, and containing identical inscrip- 
tions of Damiqilishu, a little-known " powerful king, king of 
(N)isin, King of Shumer and Akkad,"^ who " restored the 
great wall of (N)isin and called its nam^ Damiqi lis hu-migir- 
Ninif (" D. is the favorite of the god Ninib"); three in- 
scribed unbaked clay prisms of the same period ; a soap- 
stone tablet of Dungi of Ur recording his constructing a 
temple to the goddess Damgalnunna in Nippur;* the 
very ancient exquisite stele of Ur-Enlil, a high officer in 
the service of Bel,^ and several other valuable votive ob- 
jects, sculptured and inscribed. Most of them were gath- 
ered in the loose earth, or in the rubbish which had accu- 
mulated at the foot of the mounds and along the ancient 
bed of the Shatt en-Nil. Havnes discovered even a brick 
stamp of Naram-Sin and fragments of others, and one red- 
colored stamped brick of the same great ruler, of which he 
speaks himself as not having been found in situ. 

From the material before us it becomes certain that this 
whole ridge must have been occupied from the earliest 
times to the Christian period. The numerous slipper- 
shaped coffins with their ordinary contents, a good many 
Kufic and Arsacide coins, Hebrew bowls, the fragments of 
an egg-shell inscribed with Hebrew letters in black ink, and 
other antiquities taken by Havnes from rooms just beneath 
the crest of the long-stretched hill belonged to the latest 
inhabitants of Nippur in the first millennium of our era. 
The last three thousand vears of Babvlonian historv are 
represented by dated business documents found in crude 
brick structures lying one above another. The age of these 
houses can frequently be determined also from the different 
sizes of bricks employed in them, which are familiar to us 

^ Comp. p. 382, note 2. 

- Comp. Hilprccht, /. r., vol. i, part 2, no. 123. 

* Comp. the illustration on the previous page (417). 


from the study of the successive strata in the southeast court 
of the ziggurrat. The deepest trenches and tunnels cut by 
Haynes into different parts of this ridge revealed abundant 
plano-convex bricks, crude and baked, with the well-known 
finger impressions which characterize the pre-Sargonic set- 
tlements everywhere in Babylonian ruins. 

In connection with the last statement it is interesting and 
important to know that not far from the place which indi- 
cates the business house of Murashu Sons on our plan of 
the ruins (p. 305, above), Haynes sank a shaft, 4 [?] feet 
square, through nearly ninety-eight feet of debris, the last 
eighteen or nineteen feet of which lie below the present level 
of the desert. Only the lowest thirty feet of these ancient 
remains of human civilization thus examined deserve our 
attention, as the shaft was by far too narrow to determine 
details and differences in the higher strata which could claim 
a scientific value. Here, as at the temple mound, the low- 
est thirty feet consist principally of ashes, potsherds, and 
lumps of clay worked by the hand. " Numerous traces of 
fire abound everywhere." ..." The fire or ash-pits are 
still clearlv shown.** . . . "The ashes are often three or 
more inches in depth.*' ..." Occasionally a decayed bone 
is met with.** ..." Bits of charcoal and unconsumed 
brands charred ** are mixed with ashes and earth. In view 
of Haynes* theory concerning the lowest strata of the court 
of the ziggurraty it cannot surprise us to find that he con- 
nects all these traces with the daily life of the earliest in- 
habitants, and interprets them as " marking the places where 
the evening camp-fires were built by the first semi-migratory 
dwellers on this spot.** 

The lowest real brick structure observed by the excava- 
tor was about thirty feet above the undisturbed soil ; in 
other words, at about the level of Naram-Sin*s pavement in 
the temple mound. We are led to this period also by an 
examination of the crude bricks, which measured 17 inches 



square and about 4 inches thick. What was the nature of 
this ancient structure? " It was a. long, narrow cell, 5 feet 
9 inches long, i foot 7 inches wide, and i foot i inch high," 
— a grave covered by a gable roof made of similar bricks, 
which rested on the sides ot the low wall and met in an 
imaginary ridge-pole like the letter A." The tomb con- 
tained nothing but 
the crumbling re- 
mains " of a me- 
dium-sized adult 
and a broken vessel 
of coarse pottery." 

A corbelled arch 
of crude bricks and 
" a vaulted cellar of 
Inirned bricks," the 
lattt-T about 12 bv 
S tcct in length and 
breadth, were dis- 
covered somewhere 
at *' a low level " in' 
the same moundc 
corbciicii A-ch or Crude Bncks Ftom general indi- 

.i/«^f ^jo.- B. C. . , . ,. 

cations, t should as* 
cribe them to about 2500 b. c. They give evidence to the 
fact that arches and vaults were by no means uncommoQ 
in ancient Nippur, but as accurate details have not been 
given bv the excavator, we must be satisfied with this simple 

In August, i8gt, Havnes began a search for the original 
bed and embankment of the Chebar. He accordingly cut 
a long trench into the narrowest part of the depression 
marked V on the plan of the ruins (p. J05), and directed 
it from the middle of this open area to its northeast boun- 
dary and along the latter. At a depth of twenty and a 


half feet below the surface, which is somewhat higher than 
the present level of the desert, he reports to have found the 
ancient bed " In the middle of the stream." The north- 
eastern embankment of the canal proved to be " a sloping 
bank of reddish clay," so that the natural inference would 
be " that there was no well-built quay at this point " of 
the watercourse. While excavating the rubbish accumu- 
lated in the bed of the canal, Haynes unearthed three 
large fragments of a round terra-cotta fountain originally 
from 1 14 to 2 feet in diameter, and on its outer face 
showing a group of birds in high relief coarsely executed. 

One of the fragments exhibits a richlv dressed person stand- 
ing on the backs of two of these creatures, through the 
open mouths of which the water passed. The antiquity 
belongs to a period prior to 2000 b, c. 

It is unnecessary to follow Haynes through all the trial 


trenches which at various times he opened in the mounds 
around the temple complex. Among the Parthian and 
Sassanian graves in which the upper strata abound every- 
where, I mention particularly one containing " a very 

Htadofa Pinhiui Cnmii. 

high bath-tuh coffin " and three jars placed around the 
head. 'I"he latter were filled with as many beautiful small 
alabaster bottles, a large number of decayed pearls, precious 
stones, necklaces, earrings, nose-rings, finger-rings, one in- 
ribed seal cylinder in red jasper still retaining its bronze 
mounting, and sixteen uninscribed ones, several scarabiei, a 
pair of iron tweezers, and remains of linen and woolen 
stuffs showing the structure and fibre of the fabrics, and 
the white and dark-brown colors of the threads. Haynes 
opened altogether six hundred graves in the different parts 
of Nuffar, some of them very elaborate, most of them, 
however, being slipper- and bath-tub-shaped coflins in 
terra-cotta. Others were crude brick boxes ; many con- 
sisted only of one or two urns greatly varying tn size and 


form ; a few were made of wood, which generally had crum- 
bled to dust. Nearly fifty representative urns and coffins 
were saved and sent to Constantinople. One gray slipper- 
shaped coffin was decorated with " a male figure with sword 
and short tunic over a long shirt, four times repeated in as 
many panels." Another richly ornamented and blue enam- 
elled but fragmentary sarcophagus of the same type showed 
" six human-headed bulls in two long, narrow panels." By 
far the greatest number of the enamelled slipper-shaped 

t EnarrcUcil Slippcr-Shiped Collin with Coi 

coffins were decorated with a conventional female figure, a 
pattern seemingly reserved for the burial of women. 

The northwest mound of the eastern half of the ruins 
yielded a few unbaked tablets of the neo-Babylonian and 
Assyrian periods, a stray stamped brick of Dungi, and the 
largest uninscribed baked brick hitherto discovered at Nuf- 
far, measuring no less than- 20 inches square. In the upper 
strata of the low mounds which lie about midway between 
the temple of Bel and the Shatt en-Nil, Haynes unearthed 
a peculiar building originally covered with a dome, " in the 
style of the ziarets or holy tombs of India, Persia, and 
Turkey." Its ruined walls, which formed a square ;;2 feet 


long, were constructed of specially made soft yellow baked 
bricks (iili inches square by 3 inches thick) laid in lime 
mortar. They were 6 feet 9 inches thick, and still stood 
7 feet 8 inches high. In the sides, which run parallel with 
the four faces of the ziggurraty were openings 7 feet 10 
inches wide. The one towards the southeast was partly 
occupied by an altar, which stood upon a raised platform 
and consisted of three receding stages. Within the building 
and exactly in front of the altar was a raised block of crude 
bricks " smoothly plastered with lime mortar," like the sides 
of the latter and the walls of the edifice. " Upon and around 
the altar to a considerable distance from it were wood ashes 
6 inches in depth, an accumulation that could not have been 
accounted for by an occasional fire." It doubtless repre- 
sents a sanctuary of the late Parthian period. 

The most important discovery reported from the trenches 
in the western section of the same mounds, where they slope 
gradually towards the Shatt en-Nil, is the quadrangular terra- 
cotta lid of a coffin ornamented with the rude bas-relief of a 
lion. It belongs to the same age as the building just men- 
tioned. For a few days excavations were carried on also in 
the great elevation to the east of the temple. They revealed 
the existence of unbaked cuneiform tablets of a very large size 
in a part of the ruins scarcely yet touched by the expedition. 
The large triangular mound to the south of the temple (in 
1889 designated by the present writer as the probable site 
of the temple library) was not examined by the explorer 
during the three years which he passed almost without 
interruption at NufFar. 

It was stated above (p. 360) that in the summer of 1895 
Haynes spent the morning hours of two weeks at the long, 
narrow ridge (II-llI) to the north of the temple, in order 
to ascertain the foundations and dimensions of the ancient 
city wall, where in 1894 he and Meyer had discovered 
stamped crude bricks of Naram-Sin immediately below 



■ '' 




m^ 1 





.;-•! ■ 




Ur-Gur's material. He unearthed great numbers of terra- 
cotta cones, sometimes colored red or black at their round 
bases, and fragments of water spouts " in the debris that 
had gathered at the bottom of the wall." The former 
were either small and solid or large and hollow, and evi- 
dently had been used for decorating^ its parapet; the 
latter had served for draining the upper surface of the 
structure. As Haynes accidentally had laid his trench di- 
agonally through a bastion of the wall,*^ as was determined 
by the architects of the fourth expedition, his measure- 
ments obtained at that time ^ proved by far too great, 
and consequently may be disregarded at present, while his 
theory connected with the occupation of" the spacious and 
airy summit " of the wall by rooms for the pilgrims is 
based upon the plan of modern khans or caravansaries rather 
than upon a correct conception of an early Babylonian tem- 
ple, and therefore has no real merit. We close this sketch 
of his work at the city wall by mentioning that he reports to 
have discovered " a bubbling spring" — he probably means 
an open well — on the northeastern side of the great open 
court confined by this rampart, and " the brick platforms 
and curbs where the water-pots rested " on either side of the 
" spring." The bricks were those in use at the time of 
Naram-Sin and his immediate successors. 

Fourth Campaign^ iSgS-i()00. The first three American 
expeditions to Nuffar had been sent out by the trustees of 
the Babylonian Kxploration Fund of Philadelphia in aflilia- 
tion with the University of Pennsylvania; the fourth stood 
under the direct control of the University of Pennsylvania. 
A large new museum building had been erected principally 

* Comp. p. 148, above. 

* Comp. the zinctypc of a section of this wall below (Fourth Campaign, 
Temple Mound, Section 6). 

* As reproduced in Hilprechi, "The Bab. Exp. of the U. of Pa.," 
series A, vol. i, part 2, pp. 20, seq. 


by private subscriptions/ and a reorganization of the Archaeo- 
logical Department of the University had taken place under 
Provost Harrison. The late Dr. Pepper, who had worked 
so energetically for the development of archaeological inter- 
ests in his city, became its first president. The property of 
the Exploration Fund was transferred to the university, and 
the expedition committee henceforth discharged its duties in 
immediate connection with and as one of the most effective 
bodies of the new department. The beginning of actual 
American excavations in Babvlonia will forever remain con- 
nected inseparably with the name of K. W. Clark, of Phila- 
delphia, who was faithfully assisted by Mr. W. W. Frazier. 
It was at the initiative of the former's brother, Mr, C. 
H. Clark, the well-deserving chairman of the Babylonian 
Publication Committee, that the fourth expedition was called 
into existence. A small but distinguished group of gener- 
ous Philadelphia citizens, whose names have become reg- 
ular household words in the archaeological circles of the 
United States, was ready again to support the scientific 
undertaking. In May, 1898, the present writer left New 
York, in order to secure the necessary firman for the new 
expedition. As His Majesty the Sultan continued his gra- 
cious attitude towards the University's representative, and as 
the Ottoman government and the directors of the Imperial 
Museum facilitated his work in every way, the important 
document was granted so speedily that a fortnight after his 
arrival in Constantinople he was enabled to cable the wel- 
come news to Philadelphia and to advise the formal appoint- 
ment of the new expedition staff, the details of which had 
been arranged previously. Soon afterwards Dr. Pepper died 
suddenly in California, from heart-failure. His loss was 
seriously felt; but Mr. E. W. Clark, as chairman of the 

^ The fine large pavilion erected for an exhibit of antiquities obtained chiefly 
from the temple of Bel was the magnificent gift of Mr. Daniel Baugh, of 
Philadelphia, whose name it very appropriately bears. 


Expedition Committee, assisted by Mr. John Sparhawk, Jr., 
as treasurer, carried on the great work with unabated energy. 
The Babylonian Committee of the Department of Archae- 
ology, considering the serious disadvantages which had ac- 
crued to science from the unsatisfactory equipment and the 
one-sided methods of exploration pursued by the second and 
third expeditions at NufFar, was determined to profit from 
its past experience, and to relieve Haynes, who had offered 
his services again to the University of Pennsylvania, of that 
extraordinary nervous stress under which he had been labor- 
ing most of the time during the previous years. It was 
decided to imitate the example set by the British Museum 
at the first period of Assyrian exploration, when the respon- 
sibility of the work in the field was divided successfully 
between Sir Henrv Rawlinson, as scientific director of all 
the English excavations carried on in Assyria, Babylonia, 
and Susiana, and Hormuzd Rassam, as chief practical exca- 
vator (comp. pp. iiijSeq.). The present writer accordingly 
was appointed Scientific Director, and Haynes, as Field 
Director, was entrusted with the practical management of the 
work at the ruins. H. Valentine Geere, of Southampton, 
England, one of the two gentlemen who had been sent in 
1895 to the assistance of Haynes (comp. pp. 360, j^y.), and 
Clarence S. Fisher of the Department of Architecture at the 
University of Pennsylvania — the latter going without a sal- 
ary — were chosen as the two architects of the new expedi- 
tion. At Haynes* special request his wife was allowed to ac- 
company the party as a guest of the committee, which most 
generously defrayed all her travelling and living expenses. 
It should be stated at the very outset that the remarkable 
comfort which the members of the fourth expedition enjoyed, 
in comparison with the numerous deprivations experienced 
by the previous ones, was in no small measure due to Mrs. 
Haynes' active interest in their personal welfare. She not 
only assisted her husband as his private secretary in his 


manifold duties, but she took complete charge of the house- 
hold of the expedition in such an admirable manner that 
the members of our camp at NufFar breathed a true home- 
like atmosphere thoroughly appreciated by our several visi- 
tors from Susa, Babylon, Baghdad, and Basra. This changed 
condition appeared so strange to the present writer, who 
had retained such a vivid recollection of the primitive style 
in which we lived in 1889, that, though our windows con- 
sisted only of spoiled photographic negatives, he at times 
could almost imagine himself transplanted to one of the 
watering-places of the Arab caliphs in the desert/ 

On September 22, 1898, the formal contract was executed 
with Haynes, and the resumption of the excavations at Nuf- 
far authorized for a period of two years, including the time 
consumed by travel, at an expense of ^30,000, the work in 
the field to be carried on with an average force of 180 Arab 
laborers. Two days later Haynes left New York for Eng- 
land, where he was to meet his architects and to complete 
the necessary outfit, to which a number of prominent Amer- 
ican firms most liberally had contributed general supplies, 
foods, and medicine." Soon afterwards a final meeting 
was held by the present writer with the members of the 
expedition at the harbor of Southampton, in which the plans 
of operation and other details were discussed once more, 

^ Comp. Alois Musil, i^seir ^ Amra una andere Schlosser ostlich von 
Moaby part i, in Sitxuugsberichu dcr JViener Akademie der Wissenschaften^ 
phil.'hist. CLy cxliv, vol. 7, pp. 1-5 1 (1902). 

'^ In behalf of the committee and the members of the expedition, I take this 
opportunity to express the University's warm appreciation of the public spirit 
displayed by the representatives of these firms in the interest of science, and 
append their names in alphabetical order : The Adams & Westlake Co., 
Chicago, 111.; Z. & W. M. Crane, Dalton, Mass.; Eric Preserving Co., 
Buffalo, N. y. ; Genesee Pure Food Co., Leroy, N. Y. ; H. J. Heinz & 
Co., Pittsburg, Pa.; C. I. Hood, Lowell, Mass.; Horlick Food Co., Ra- 
cine, Wis.; Libby, McNeill & Libby, Chicago, 111.; Richardson & Rob- 
bins, Dover, Del.; Rumford Chemical Works, Providence, R. I.; Edward 
G. Stevens, New York ; Trommer Extract of Malt Co., Fremont, Ohio. 


whereupon the former returned to Philadelphia in the hope 
of joining the party at NufFar in the course of the following 
year, as soon as the organization of the University Mu- 
seum should have been completed. Mr. Haynes, with his 
wife and the two architects, proceeded to Marseilles, whence 
they sailed to Baghdad by way of Port Said, Aden, and 
Basra, arriving in the city of Harun ar-Raschid on Decem- 
ber 1 8 in the same year. 

The sub-committee created in 1895 (comp. pp. 358, seq.)y 
and consisting of Messrs. E. W. Clark, John Sparhawk, Jr., 
and the Scientific Director, acted again as an advisory board 
to those in the field. The plan which 1 had outlined as a basis 
for the work of the fourth campaign was, if possible, to deter- 
mine the following points : 1. The precise character of the 
temple of Bel at the principal periods of its long history, 
and especially before the time of King Ur-Gur (about 2700 
B. c), whom Haynes regarded as the probable monarch who 
at Nippur had introduced the stage-tower, the most impor- 
tant part of all the large Babylonian temples.* 2. The gen- 
eral dimensions of pre-Sargonic Nippur ; that is, to ascertain 
whether outside of the temple of Bel and the ashes and 
potsherds, etc., previously disclosed by Haynes' tunnels 
and shafts in the ridge to the west of the Shatt en-Nil, trails 
could be found which would allow us to draw more positive 
conclusions with regard to the size and nature of the earliest 
settlements. 3. The length and the course of the city walls, 
so far as they were not discernible above ground, and the 
location of one or more of the three or four large city gates 
of Nippur, so frequently mentioned in the later Babylonian 
inscriptions which had been unearthed by the first three 
expeditions. 4. The exact position, extent, and character 
of the temple library, which, since my first ride over the 
mounds of NuflFar, I had consistentlv declared was buried in 

Comp. Hilprecht, ''The Bab. Exp. of the U. of Pa./* series A, vol. 
i, part 2, p. 17. 


the most southern group of mounds on the eastern side of 
the Shatt en-Nil (IV). 5. The distinguishing features in 
the modes of burials practised at ancient Nippur, and the 
various types and forms of pottery once used, by means of 
well-defined strata, dated documents, and accurate labels, 
in order to obtain satisfactory rules for dating the numer- 
ous vases which, so far, we had been unable to assign to any 
period of Babylonian history with a reasonable degree of 
certainty. 6. To these important problems, at Mr. E. W. 
Clark's special request, was added the task of excavating 
completely the large building with its colonnade on the 
west side of the Shatt en-Nil (VII), which had been dis- 
covered and partly explored by the first expedition (comp. 
pp. 308, 313), and which received some attention also 
during the second campaign by Dr. Peters (comp. pp. 337, 
seqq.)y who assigned it to the Cassite period (about 13CX) 
B. c), while the present writer had declared it to be Parthian 
(about 250 B. c). 

In order not to influence Haynes unduly in his own judg- 
ment, and to secure for him a necessary amount of liberty 
of action in the field within the bounds of a clearly defined 
course, it was decided not to communicate to him the reasons 
for our plans nor the hopes we expected to realize by their 
proper execution. Accordingly we confined ourselves to 
positive instructions with regard to the use of photography, 
the manner in which his note-books were to be kept, the pre- 
serving and packing of the antiquities desired for transport, 
and impressed upon him the following rules as a basis for 
his operations: i. lo devote only one third to one fourth 
of his force to the methodical exploration of the temple 
mound ; to select the east section of the court of the zig- 
gurrat and the enclosing wall of the latter as the object 
of his mission ; and to pay greater attention to the peculiari- 
ties of the diflferent layers than had been the case in the 
past. 2. While recommending " the whole of the mounds " 


to his care, to concentrate his efforts principally upon 
two of the other mounds, namely, the so-called " l"ab- 
let Hill " (IV, the probable site of the temple librarv), 
which he had not touched at all during the third cam- 
paign, and which, above all, needed a methodical explora- 
tion ; and the mound represented by the so-called " Court 
of Columns" (Vil) at the north end of the ridge to the 
west of the Shatt en-Nil. 3. To make the settling of the 
numerous topographical questions one of the most essen- 
tial tasks of this expedition, and to regard the location of 
one or more of the ancient city gates, particularlv of the 
eastern and southern gates, in all probability represented 
bv the abulia rabu (" the large gate "), and the abullu Shibi 

Uriiku of the inscriptions, as " one of the necessary points 
to be determined during this campaign." The critical ex- 
amination of the exposed structures and antiquities, the 


determination of their age, character, or contents, and their 
topographical and historical bearing upon our knowledge of 
ancient Nippur, and the acquiring of all such other details 
as should enable us to carry the plan, as outlined above, to 
a successful issue, had naturally to constitute the Scientific 
Director's principal share in the work of the fourth expedi- 

How far did the proceedings of the party in the field jus- 
tify the committee's hopes and expectations ? Towards the 
end of January, 1899, the expedition left Baghdad, accom- 
panied by a caravan of sixty-two camels and several mules, 
which carried its equipment and stores to Hilla, Hert 
they were transferred to six large native sailing-boats, used 
also for conveying the staff and the Ottoman commissioner, 
half-a-dozen servants, about 1 50 of our former workmen 
from the vicinity of Babylon with their families and sup- 
plies, and six zabtiye furnished by the government as a 
guard, down the Euphrates, through the Daghara canal 
and the Khor el-^Afej to NufFar. Unfortunately by that 
time the active staff had been reduced temporarily to 
Haynes alone. A few weeks after the expedition's arrival 
at Baghdad, Geere fell violently ill with pneumonia and 
dysentery, which gradually developed into typhoid fever and 
excluded him for a long while from the field. And scarcely 
had he recovered sufficiently from the two maladies when he 
was attacked by six date-boils at the same time. Trulv this 
beginning was anything but encouraging ; and to make mat- 
ters worse, the English physician was then absent from the 
city, and an " intelligent English-speaking trained nurse" 
could not be had, so that Fisher's very natural proposal, to 
remain with his sick comrade until together they could join 
the party in the field, was accepted by Haynes. 

On February 4, the six boats reached Nuffar. Welcomed 
by a special messenger from Hajji Tarfa and by a large 
crowd of the Hamza, who did not conceal their pleasure at 


seeing the expedition again among them, well knowing that 
the presence of the foreigners " meant to them a seastm 
of prosperity," the party established itself at once in its old 
quarters. The seals attached to the meft&l were found un- 
broken, and the three Arab guards, to whom the property 

Thi 'Aft] raamft 

had been entrusted, had remained " faithful to their charge 
under very great discouragement," waiting year after year 
patiently for Haynes' return and for the expected reward of 
their doubtless conspicuous services. They had lived near 
the house, and also watered the garden regularly, so that 
many date trees had sprung up spontaneously from the 
stones which our former workmen had thrown away 
thoughtlessly. The little plants, scarcely visible when 
Haynes departed from the ruins in 1896, had become 
waving palm trees. Some of them even bore fruit after 
a growth of only three and four years,' thus vividly illus- 

' The ordinary time required for a dale-palm (o bear fniil b five yean at 
Baira, and eight years in the less tropical gardens ot Baghdad, according to 


trating the proverbial fertility of ancient Babylonia, and 
through their flourishing state demonstrating more forcibly 
than many arguments could do, what might be made again 
of the treeless desert and pasture grounds of modern *Iraq 
through well-directed human labor and proper irrigation. 

The first task for Haynes was to put the wells in order, 
as the procuring of suitable drinking-water had gradually be- 
come a vital question for the expedition. During the first 
and second campaigns, which lasted only a few months, we 
had troubled ourselves very little about the quality of the 
water. We drank it as the Arab women brought it from 
the marshes, without boiling it and with an occasional joke 
as to the animal life which we observed in our jars and cups. 
But in 1893, when Haynes went to NuflFar with the under- 
standing that he was to remain there through summer and 
winter for several years, he had to take greater care of his 
health and to face the problem, how to obtain the neces- 
sary supply of water during the hottest months of the year, 
when the marshes usually recede from the ruins. At first 
he had adopted the Arab method, and conducted the water 
to his " castle " by digging a small but sufficiently deep 
canal to one of the principal streams in the midst of the 
K/ior. But after the neighboring tribes, for the sake of 
gain, repeatedly had closed his canal, he decided in 1894 
to make his camp independent of the interferences of the 
Arabs by digging wells around his house. This experi- 
ment led to a very unique result. The water obtained 
from three of them, dug at a distance of only forty to forty- 
five feet from each other, was as different as it possibly could 
be. That of the first well was " very bitter," that of the 
second " absolutely undrinkable for men and animals," that 
of the third, which subsequently was lined with bricks and 
provided with a pump, was " drinkable, slightly impreg- 

the information which I received directly from the Arab gardeners at both 


nated with various salts, and yet scarcely rendered unpalata- 
ble thereby." In the latter part of the fourth campaign a 
still purer and, in fact, most excellent water, was procured 
from a new fourth well, which afterwards was vaulted over 
entirely to prevent its pollution by the Arabs, while the 
precious liquid was conducted by subterranean pipes into 
the court of the meftiil^ so that in case of a siege we should 
never suffer from lack of water. 

For almost three years the building of the expedition had 
remained unoccupied and had been exposed to the heavy 
rains of the winter and the equally damaging effect of the 
hot rays of the sun. But though consisting only of clay 
laid up en massCy it was found in better condition than could 
reasonably have been anticipated. As the fast days of Ra- 
madhan were drawing to their close, Haynes, in true Arab 
style, had it announced by heralds in the camps and villages 
of the ^Afej that no native workman would be engaged be- 
fore the approaching festival of Bairam was over. At the 
same time he divided his large body of Hilla men into 
three groups, ordering the one section to prepare the tools 
for work in the trenches and to re-open the excavations ; 
the second to dig roots and gather thorn bushes as fuel 
for the kitchen ; the third to build reed huts for the 
families of the laborers and to repair the "castle." In 
consequence of the increased staff of the expedition, the 
meftid proved by far too small. Arrangements had, there- 
fore, to be made at once to accommodate the larger party by 
adding another story to the old structure. As a number of 
Arabs, well versed in the art of primitive house-building, 
were at Haynes' disposal, the difficulty was soon removed, 
and all his time could be devoted to the principal task of 
the expedition. 

A word remains to be said about the attitude of the 
^A.fej, Hamza, SaMd and other neighboring tribes. With- 
out exception, they remained friendly towards us during the 


whole campaign. Hajji Tarfa proved the same staunch 
supporter of our plans as he always had been. Though less 
elastic in his movements than when we met him the first 
time, and slightly bent by the burden of years, the " Moltke 
of the 'Afej," as he was styled very appropriately by the 
wali of Baghdad, had understood how to retain and even to 
increase his influence among his shiftless but refractory sub- 
jects, and hold the younger shaikhs in discipline, who often 
were eager to win their own laurels and to strengthen their 
position at the expense of the venerable patriarch. The 
Turkish government, realizing how valuable his services 
in controlling the most troublesome province of the 
whole vilayet, was ready to assist him in his efforts to keep 
peace, and repeatedly gave him visible proofs of the high 
esteem in which he was held throughout the country. At 

his earliest opportunity Haynes hurried over to the great 
chieftain's meftui, about six mites distant, to pay him an 


official visit. In the presence of his warriors he put around 
his neck a long chain of gold (for the watch previously 
given to him), and threw over his shoulder a fine cloak 
(^ab^)^ woven with silver thread, presents from the com- 
mittee, to which, a year later, the present writer added a 
Whitman saddle, for which Hajji Tarfa had expressed a 
genuine admiration. 

The care for the safety of the expedition through proper 
guards was entrusted by the shaikh of all the *Afej to the 
same two Hamza leaders who in former years had been re- 
sponsible to him. They kept their pledges honorably to 
the end of the campaign. All the tribes inhabiting the 
borders of the marshes intermingled freely with our men and 
looked upon us with a certain feeling of pride, almost as 
upon members of their own clans, who from time to time 
appeared on their territory, for a while sharing their pasture 
grounds and leaving behind them untold blessings when 
they departed. A great change had taken place on these 
barren plains since I had seen them last. It was the natural 
result of the transfer of the capital to Diwaniye, and in no 
small measure due to the tactful but energetic treatment of 
the 'Afej tribes on the part of the Ottoman government. A 
sacred calm lay in the air, — not the calm preceding a disas- 
trous storm, but that divine calm which announces a new 
era of happiness to the people. Kvery flower and reed, 
every shepherd and bird seemed to be conscious of it and 
to realize that Isaiah's and Jeremiah's curse of two thousand 
years was about to lift from the country. The dry bones 
of Babylonia's vast graveyard began to rise and to be clad 
again with sinews and flesh under Jehovah's life-breathing 
spirit that blew softly through the land of Bel (Ezek. 37). 
There can be no doubt that Babylonia stands at the dawn 
of a general resurrection. Unmistakable signs of a new 
and more peaceful development of the many natural re- 
sources of Shumer and Akkad are visible everywhere. A 


great movement and expectation has taken possession of the 
tribes of the interior, partly brought about in consequence 
of the acquisition and cultivation of large tracts of land along 
the canals for the Sultan, and partly inspired by the various 
scientific missions from Europe and iVmerica. Through 
their continued exploration of the ruins these foreign exca- 
vators have introduced new ideas into the country, made the 
people acquainted with important inventions, and, above 
all, taught them the value of time and work, thus prepiaring 
the way for the planned German railroad, of which even the 
*Afej speak with great anticipation, and which surely will 
plav the chief missionary role throughout the country. 

When, after a long absence, 1 stood again on the airy top 
of Bint el-Amir, as far as my eye could scan the horizon I 
saw nothing but immense flocks of sheep and goats, don- 
keys and cows and bufl^aloes pastured by cheerful boys and 
men, Arab villages and encampments scattered over the 
plain, and small green patches of cultivated ground on the 
edges of the inundated districts; the camel herds and black 
tents of the Sa'id in the distance, and far away beyond the 
Tigris towards the east, only now and then visible, the snow- 
capped mountains ^ of Luristan. At my first meeting with 
the Hamza shaikhs and their retinues, they were somewhat 
disappointed because they did not recognize me. In order 
to establish mv identity, they submitted me to a cross-exam- 
ination, inquiring whether I remembered the burning of 
our camp. But scarcely had I begun to recount the details 
of the disaster, the destruction of my fine horse, Marduk, 
and the fortunate escape of another, y/^« khams (" father of 
five,*' namely, Turkish liras), as I had named it, with due 
regard to its low price — a joke thoroughly appreciated bv 
the Arabs, — and to refer to the principal persons connected 
with the catastrophe, asking on my part for the ill-fated 

^ The Assyrian word for **cast'* is shaJii, ** mountain," as the He- 
brew one for ** west ** is y/5///, ** ocean.** 


Mukota's little son and Berdi's tall brother, who restored 
my saddle-bags, when their eyes sparkled with excitement. 
They exclaimed, " ^^//^A [by God], he is ^^fi dhaq{a)n 
[father (/. ^., owner) of a beard]," the name by which I 
used to be known among them ; and drawing closer upon 
me, they lighted their cigarettes, drank their coffee, re- 
hearsed old jokes, chatted like children, and asked hun- 
dreds of questions about Harper and Field, the new rail- 
road, the speed of its trains, their prospect of exporting 
sheep and butter and rice, etc. " Oh, AbH dhaq(a)ny how 
times have changed. Once we wanted to rob you, and now 
you are our brother, whom may Allah bless." Of course 
the petty quarrels did not cease altogether among the various 
tribes ; and murderers and other desperadoes took refuge in 
the Khor el-*Afej then, as they did before, but they never 
molested us. The most exciting scene that occurred while we 
were at NufFar, was the settling of a very old case of blood- 
feud, under the very walls of our meftuly and the cowardly 
and atrocious manner in which, on this occasion, the life of 
a perfectly innocent Arab was taken. 

Excavations were commenced at the extreme southeastern 
end of the west ridge (VI) on February 6, 1899, with all 
the available workmen from Hilla. In order to strike any 
possible remains of the ancient city wall, if ever it should 
have existed in this section of Nippur, Haynes opened a 
trench at a little distance from the ruins and descended 
gradually below the level of the plain in the direction of the 
mounds. But, strange to say, still convinced that his chief 
task consisted in a " successful tablet-hunting " rather than 
in a strictly scientific exploration of NufFar, as had been im- 
pressed so emphatically upon him, he also set to work at 
once to clean a large old trench abandoned three years 
before, and endeavored " to push the excavations forward 
into the mounds towards the points where great quantities 
of tablets had been found '* previously. 

440 EXPLORATJoys ly bible LAyns 

Three days after the resumption of the work he came 
upon "a wall of burned bricks crossing the line of the [first 
mentioned] trench transversely, but lying at a lower level." 
Our expectations were raised exceedingly when this report 
reached Philadelphia. But three weeks later, long before 
the first weekly letter was in our hands, Haynes abandoned 
it on his own responsibility, having followed its course for 
489 feet "without finding either end of it " or discovering 
" any trace of door or window *' in it. We were disap> 
pointed. Spring and summer were spent in a well-meant, 
nervous search for tablets and other portable antiquities 
by carrying a trench 155 feet wide with an extreme depth 
of 36 feet a distance of 75 feet into the mound, and by 
opening smaller trenches and tunnels at other points in 
the same general locality. In this manner about five thou- 
sand cuneiform tablets, mostly fragmentary contracts and 
lists of the third pre-Christian millennium, about thirty seal 
cylinders, as a rule much worn off or otherwise damaged, 
about a dozen interesting clay reliefs, and a few other anti- 
quities were gathered from the lower levels of the ridge in 
the course of the first six months. An arch of baked bricks 
and the fragment of a watercourse similar to those discov- 
ered in the lower section of the temple mound were also 
briefly referred to. The upper strata and the slopes of 
the mounds yielded about 450 late coflins of various types 
with their usual contents, a number of bronze bowls, sev- 
eral thin blue glass bottles of the post-Christian period, a 
jar containing miscellaneous coins, articles of jewelry and 
junk, — the store of a Parthian jeweller! — about thirty 
Hebrew and M andean bowls, among them two containing 
an inscribed skull in pieces, besides other minor antiquities. 

The reports became more meagre every day, furnishing 
practically no information about the excavations beyond a 
simple statement as to how many tablets, seal cylinders and 
other more striking objects had been discovered during the 


week, and how many coffins had been opened. Neither 
photograph nor sketch accompanied the letters. Haynes 
doubtless worked very seriouslv with his 208 Arabs. But 
notwithstanding his honest efforts, it was naturally impos- 
sible for him to control such a large body of men. The 
results would have been more satisfactory to himself and to 
the committee, if he had retained only fifty workmen in the 
trenches as long as he was alone, and devoted a part of his 
time to a technical description of his excavations, to photo- 
graphing and other necessary details upon which the success 
of an expedition largely depends. As matters stood, it 
became next to impossible for the committee to form 
any adequate idea as to what actually was going on at 
NufFar. Besides, letters required five to seven weeks be- 
fore they reached Philadelphia. Something had to be 
done quickly, if the plans we had formulated were ever 
to be realized. To complicate matters even more, misun- 
derstandings arose between the two architects at Baghdad 
on the one hand and the managing director in the field 
on the other. This led to Fisher's resignation in April and 
his immediate return to Kngland, and for a second time 
threatened to bring about Geere's separation from the 
work of the Philadelphia expedition.* At the beginning of 
June we were in the possession of all the facts necessary to 
meet, to act, and to decide as to the future course of the 
expedition. The results of this important meeting became 
soon apparent. Fisher returned to Baghdad in the early 
fall, and soon afterwards, together with Geere, who by that 
time had fully recovered his usual health, departed for 
Nuffar, arriving there on October 20, 1899. Upon the 
unanimous decision of the committee the scientific director 
was to follow and to take charge of the excavations at the 
ruins in person as soon as the organization of the University 
Museum should have been completed. Haynes at the same 

^ Comp. pp. 360, sfg., above. 


time received more posirive instructions as to the manner in 
which he was to proceed to carry the work of the expiedition 
to a satisfactory issue. In accordance with the desires of 
the committee he henceforth directed his attention princi- 
pally to the exploration of the eastern half of the court of 
the temple, to the search for the northeast city gate, and 
to the excavation of the probable site of the temple library, 
the so-called " Tablet Hill " (IV), so that his Arabs were 
not scattered over too large a surface, and with the subse- 
quent assistance of the two architects could be controlled 
without difficulty. 

Owing to Haynes* praiseworthy energy and characteristic 
devotion to his duties, he soon could report conspicuous tan- 
gible results, and illustrate them by his own photographs and 
by sketches drawn by his assistants. He evidently worked 
hard according to the best of his ability. But unfortunately 
our positive knowledge as to the topography of the ruins 
was advanced but little thereby. The statements were too 
vague to enable us to draw any conclusions. On October 
28 he wrote with regard to the northeast city gate : " Up to 
the present moment, we have found no certain clue beyond a 
mere fragment of very archaic wall, to indicate the existence 
at that point of a gate or other structure.** The whole 
important subject was never mentioned afterwards except 
in the brief title of a photograph despatched three months 
later, which, however, reached Philadelphia only after my 
arrival at NufFar. By the middle of December tablets 
began to be found in such large quantities in the north- 
eastern part of the " Tablet Hill,** that even Haynes was 
forced to admit that this collection of tablets looked very 
much as if" constituting a distinct library by itself" But 
whether it was merelv another of these collections of con- 
tract tablets so frequently found in the west half of the 
ruins and always styled by him " libraries," or whether it 
was l/ie library for which I was looking so eagerly, the 


temple library, could not be determined, as proper descrip- 
tions were lacking and no attempt was made to reproduce 
a few lines of some of the better-preserved documents. 

It was very evident that, above all, the assistance of an 
experienced archaeologist and Assyriologist was required at 
NufFar to decipher tablets, to determine the characteristic 
features of strata, to fix the approximate age of walls and 
other antiquities, to ascertain their probable purpose and 
use, to lay trenches for other reasons than to find tablets, 
and to gather all the loose threads together and to endeavor 
to reconstruct some kind of a picture of the ancient city on 
the basis of his examination and studies. The architects did 
their very best to assist Haynes and to promote the cause 
of the expedition. But entirely unfamiliar with Babylonian 
archaeology as they then were, and for the first time con- 
fronted with the complicated problems of a Babylonian ruin, 
they needed technical advice as to how to overcome the dif- 
ficulties. Being left entirely to their own resources, they 
decided to undertake What thev were able to do under the 
circumstances. They sketched drains, tombs, vases and 
various other antiquities to illustrate Haynes* weekly re- 
ports ; they tried to make themselves acquainted with the 
remains of the ziggurrai previously drawn by Meyer, and to 
survey and plot the constructions occupying the eastern cor- 
ner of the temple court prior to their removal. But they also 
facilitated my later work on the ruins in one essential point. 
As we saw above (pp. 371, seq.)y in the course of the third 
campaign, Haynes had discovered the remains of the original 
approach to the ziggurrai y indicated by two almost parallel 
walls, extending nearly at a right angle far into the court 
from the southeastern face of the stage-tower. It had 
appeared, therefore, most natural to the present writer to 
assume that the principal gate or entrance to the temple 
court must lie in the enclosing wall somewhere opposite 
that approach. In 1897, when I first had occasion to 


examine all of Haynes* negatives thoroughly, I was sur- 
prised to find that he had exposed a number of stepped 
recesses precisely at the place where the gate should have 
existed, and that he had actually discovered the entrance 
without knowing and reporting it, as unfortunately he had 
cut one half of the gate completely away by one of his 
wretched perpendicular shafts which proved so disastrous to 
the temple court. The architects were not slow in recog- 
nizing the importance of these stepped recesses, and asked 
at once for permission to remove the large round tower of 
the latest fortification, lying directly on the top of them — 
the same which Peters had compared with the pillar of Jachin 
or Boaz at the temple of Jerusalem (comp. p. 333^ above). 

Haynes gave it reluctantly, as he thought the expense 
of time and labor involved in this work too great in com- 
parison with the probable results expected by him, and left 
the architects in complete charge of this excavation. They 
solved their first independent task very satisfactorily, un- 
covered the remaining part of the gate, found a door-socket 
in silUy and disclosed the existence of an important tomb 
near the south corner of the latest enclosing wall, on which 
we shall have to say a few words later. 

By the middle of November, 1899, the scientific director 
had finished the organization of the Semitic section of the 
Universitv Museum, so that he could leave for the £ast to 
join the other members of the expedition. But in conse- 
quence of considerable delays caused to the boats by storms 
in the Atlantic, by the discharge of a heavy cargo at the So- 
mali coast, by quarantine in the Shatt el-* Arab for having 
touched at the plague-, cholera-, and small-pox-stricken har- 
bor of Maskat, and finally by the sudden rise of the Tigris, 
he did not reach Nuft'ar before March i, 1900. Having 
gone out " as the representative of the committee and with 
the full powers of the committee,** he naturally was held re- 
sponsible for the proper execution of the plans as outlined 


above. After a careful examination of all the trenches and 
a full discussion of the whole situation with Haynes, I 
found it necessary to change entirely the methods hitherto 
employed. Accordingly all the excavations carried on for the 
mere purpose of finding tablets and other antiquities were 
suspended, especially as I had ascertained through a study 
of representative tablets, an inspection of the rooms in which 
they had been discovered, and a brief continuation of the 
work in the trenches, that the " Tablet Hill " actually re- 
presented the site of the temple library, as I had maintained 
for so many years. I regarded the further exploration of 
this library as by far less important than the solving of some 
of the many other complicated topographical problems which 
in the past had received so little attention, before the ex- 
posed building remains should have crumbled beyond recog- 
nition. Originally it had been my intention also to excavate 
the largely untouched southwest section of the temple 
court methodically, in order to supplement and to cor- 
rect the one-sided information received previously and to 
study personally layer after layer, pavement after pavement, 
with a view of providing new material for settling the ques- 
tion as to whether important buildings had occupied the 
temple court at the different periods of its history. But 
when I found that enormous dump-heaps had been raised 
there by my predecessors I had to give up this plan, as the 
examination could not begin properly before the latter had 
been removed to a safe distance — a task alone requiring 
more time and labor than was at my disposal for the various 
tasks together. 

Considering all the circumstances, there was nothing to 
be done but to accept the situation as it presented itself, 
and to make the best of it. In the interest of science I 
therefore decided to leave the unexplored sections of the 
court of the ziggurrat and the temple library to a subse- 
quent fifth expedition, as both doubtless were safer when 


covered with earth than if inadequately examined and ex- 
posed to the fury of the elements. This expedition was 
sent out to endeavor to understand Nuffar as a whole, not 
to remove large mounds of debris merely for the sake of 
finding portable antiquities and tablets by the bushel and 
to count their market value in dollars and cents. I was 
personally despatched to solve scientific problems and to 
interpret the ruins. The more essential topographical 
questions once having been settled, it would be a compara- 
tively easy task for the committee to have the single 
mounds excavated one after another by somebody else, if 
necessity arose, who was less familiar with the ruins and the 
history of their exploration than the present writer, who had 
been connected with this undertaking from its very begin- 
ning. Every trench cut henceforth — and there were a 
great many — was cut for the sole purpose of excavating 
structures systematically and of gathering necessary data for 
the history and topography of ancient Nippur. If these 
trenches yielded tangible museum results at the same time, 
so much the better ; if they did not, I was not troubled bv 
their absence and felt just as well satisfied as if I had packed 
several thousand tablets, or perhaps even more so. But in 
order to state this expressly here, antiquities were found so 
abundantly in the pursuit of the plan described, that the 
principle was established anew that a strictly scientific 
method of excavating is at the same time the most profit- 

The number of workmen was increased and maintained 
until the middle of April, when many of the native Arabs 
began to quit the trenches to harvest fheir barley and to 
look after their agricultural interests. Haynes retained full 
charge of the men in the field under my general supervision. 
Fisher and Geere were instructed to make a complete survev 
of all the remaining walls, buildings, drains, pavements, etc., 
excavated by the second, third, and fourth expeditions, and 


to prepare special plans of all those structures which I was 
able to assign to certain periods and to bring into closer 
relation with each other. As far as it served to facilitate 
their task and to introduce them into the archaeological 
work proper, both were placed in charge of their own 
gangs under Haynes' immediate control, while I reserved 
to myself the right of advising them and of modifying or 
changing the courses of all the trenches whenever new de- 
velopments in them should require it. The entire length 
of the northeast city wall was traced and studied, and a 
number of interesting structures and antiquities found in 
connection with them. All the explored rooms of the 
temple library and of the later buildings lying over them 
were surveyed and drawn. The long brick wall reported 
to have been found and abandoned by Haynes at the south- 
east edge of the west half of the ruins (p. 440, above), was 
explored successfully and its real nature and purpose deter- 
mined. In accordance with Mr. E. W. Clark's request, the 
so-called "Court of Columns" (VII on the plan of the 
ruins) received very considerable attention. After its com- 
plete excavation I could only confirm my view formulated 
in 1889, that this fine little palace belongs to the Hellenistic 
period, in other words, is of Parthian, not of Cassite origin." 
The upper strata covering this building aflforded me an ex- 
cellent opportunity to examine into the manner in which the 
inscribed incantation bowls had been used by the Jewish 
inhabitants of Calneh in the eighth and ninth centuries 
of our era. For the present it may suflice to state that 
most of the one hundred bowls excavated while I was on the 
scene were found upside down in the ground, as will be 
seen from the illustration on page 448. It is very evident 
that they had been placed thus intentionally, in order to pre- 
vent the demons adjured by the spiral inscription on the 
inner face of most of the vases, from doing any harm to the 

* Comp. p. 337 with p. 340. 

under the bow!. This e^, like the inscribed skulls previ- 
ously reported (comp. p. 440), is probably to be regarded 
as a sacrifice to those demons to appease their wrath and 
check their evi! influence.' 

The excavation of those upper strata also enabled me 
to study the numerous late burials contained therein, 
which almost exclusively belonged to the post-Chris- 
tian period. In order to obtain more definite results 
concerning the dates of other tombs, not so favorahlv 
situated, we examined a section of the ruins to the north- 

' Comp. ihe skulls and egg discovered in ihe monar of (he Parthian pilice 
lying on the top of the ruins of Bel's sanctusry, p. j68, »bovc, and Pognon. 
lii.'iiiplioas Miinihiii/, d/i Coufi dt KhauMr, Paris, 189S, pp. z, iff. 


west of the temple, which was literally filled with graves, 
and compared their forms and contents with the other ones. 
As it is impossible to present here the results of a study of 
more than 2,50x5 tombs excavated by all the four expedi- 
tions at NufFar, including over 1,100 examined during the 
fourth campaign, I confine myself to stating in this connec- 
tion that with but few exceptions all those excavated tombs 
belong to the post-Babylonian period. But it was also as- 
certained that prior to the time of Sargon I (about 3800 
B. c), as we shall see presently, Nippur was one of the 
sacred burial-grounds of the earliest inhabitants of the coun- 
try, who cremated their dead there, as thev did at Surghul 
and El-Hibba.^ 

The most difficult problem confronting me was the ex- 
planation of the ruins at Bint el-Amir and its environ- 
ments, owing to the previous removal and frequent 
involuntary destruction of much valuable material on 
the part of my predecessors. Some of the results which 
I obtained this time were incorporated in my above sketch 
of the second and third campaigns. The other more im- 
portant ones will be treated briefly below. They may be 
summarized as follows: i. A stage-tower of smaller dimen- 
sions existed at Nippur before Sargon I (about 3800 
B. c). 2. In pre-Sargonic times the ground around the 
sacred enclosure was a vast graveyard, a regular fire necro- 
polis. 3. One of the names of the stage-tower of Nippur 
suggested the idea of tomb to the early inhabitants of the 
country. In the course of time certain ziggurrats were di- 
rectly designated by the Babylonians as tombs of the gods. 
4. The stage-tower of Bel did not occupy the centre of the 
enclosed platform, but the southwest section of it, while 
the northeast part was reserved for " the house of Bel," 
his principal sanctuary, which stood at the side of the 
stage-tower. 5. The temple of Bel consisted of two large 

^ Comp. pp. 283, seqq., above. 


courts adjoining each other, the northwest court with the 
ziggurrat and " the house of Bel ** representing the most 
holy place or the inner court, while the southeast (outer) 
court seems to have been studded with the shrines of all 
the different gods and goddesses worshipped at Nippur, 
including one for Bel himself. 6. Imgur-Marduk and Nimit- 
Marduky mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions as the two 
walls of Nippur [diiru and shalkhu)^ cannot have surrounded 
the whole city. According to the results of the excavations 
conducted under my own supervision, only the temple was 
enclosed by a double wall, while in all probability the city 
itself remained unprotected. 7. The large complex of 
buildings covering the top of Bint el-Amir has nothing 
to do with the ancient temple below, but represents a huge 
fortified Parthian palace grouped around and upon the re- 
mains of the stage-tower then visible. In order to under- 
stand the temple correctly, this fortress has to be eliminated 
completely from the ruins, as was demanded by the present 
writer as early as 1889.^ 

A thorough treatment of the whole important question 
will be found in a special work entitled " Ekur, the Temple 
of Bel at Nippur," which will be fully illustrated and accom- 
panied by large plans and diagrams prepared by the archi- 
tects of the expedition according to my reconstructions and 
their own survey of the actual remains still existing. For 
the present 1 must confine myself to a brief sketch of the 
principal results as obtained by the combined cflforts of all 
the members of the staff during the latter part of the fourth 
campaign and interpreted by the present writer. 

I. An examination of the inscriptions from Tello," the fact 

* Comp. p. 327, above, and Peters* ** Nippur," vol. ii, p. 118: 
«* One of our Assyriologists reached the conclusion that the ruins wc had 
found were those of a fortress . . . built on the site of the ancient tcmpJc." 

^ Comp. p. 232, note 2, above, and Hommcl, Aufsatxe und Abhand- 
iungeriy part iii, i (Munich, 1901), pp. 389, ieqq. 


that all the Babylonian temples and stage-towers have Su- 
merian names, and other considerations had convinced me 
that the origin of the ziggurrat at Nippur must lie far be- 
vond the time of Ur-Gur. The mere circumstances that the 
pavement of Sargon and Naram-Sin covered about the same 
space between the inner wall and the \2ittT ziggurrat as those 
of the following rulers ; that nowhere in the excavated large 
section of the temple court it extended beneath the tower ; 
that the store-room or cellar found within the southeast en- 
closing wall by the third expedition (pp. 386, 390, above), 
occupied exactly the same place at the time of Sargon as in 
the days of Ur-Gur, — indicated sufficiently that the temple 
enclosure showed practically the same characteristic features 
at 38CXD B. c. as at 2800 b. c. 

The massive L-shaped structure (p. 395, above) under- 
lying the east corner of Ur-Gur*s ziggurrat^ and constructed 
of the same unusually large bricks as those which thus 
far at Nippur have been connected exclusively with the 
names of Sargon and Naram-Sin, evidently was the work 
of a member of that powerful ancient dynasty. As it 
descended eleven feet below Naram-Sin's pavement, it 
is also clear that this structure, which puzzled Hayncs 
so much, must have served a similar purpose as Ur- 
Gur's crude brick pavement, which was eight feet deep and 
extended all around and beneath the edges of the stage- 
tower in support of the latter. In other words, it was the 
foundation for the east corner of Naram-Sin's ziggurrai. 
Similar foundations may be found at the three other cor- 
ners, but it is more probable to assume that it occurs only 
at this particular point, where the necessity of an extraordi- 
nary foundation can be explained without difficulty. We 
saw above (p. 397), that Haynes discovered a ruined vaulted 
aqueduct, about 3 feet high, beneath it. With the exception 
of a small section near the orifice (directly below the ancient 
curb and supported by the T-shaped structure) the whole 


upper part of the vault had collapsed without leaving exten- 
sive traces of the baked material of which it originally con- 
sisted. On the other hand, large numbers of pre-Sargonic 
bricks were found in the lower row of Naram-Sin's pavement. 
It seems therefore reasonable to connect the two facts and to 
explain the situation as follows. About the time of Naram- 
Sin, perhaps even in consequence of his enlarging the heavy 
mass of the ziggurrat^ the ancient aqueduct below had caved 
in. In order to secure a more solid foundation for the east 
corner, it became necessary to ascertain the cause of the sub- 
sequent depression of the surface. Naram-Sin therefore 
descended about twelve feet, removed the rubbish, saved all 
the good bricks for his pavement, and built the peculiarly 
shaped massive structure eleven feet high directly over it, 
in order to prevent the formation of crevices in his structure 
by the uneven settling of the disturbed ground below it. 

This much is sure, that the mere existence of this solid 
foundation at the eastern corner of the ziggurrat at the time 
of Naram-Sin necessarilv leads us to the conclusion that also 


a large building which it was intended to support, a stage- 
tower, must have existed at that ancient period in Nippur. 
This conclusion is fully corroborated by the fact that below 
Ur-Gur's gray-colored bricks in the centre of the ziggurraiy 
other similar bricks were found, which in texture, color and 
size are identical with those of Naram-Sin*s store-room or 
cellar, in the southeast enclosing wall. The southeast face 
of this early ziggurrat was actually discovered by means 
of a tunnel following a pre-Sargonic water-course which ran 
into the strata below Ur-Gur*s stage-tower. It lay four feet 
behind Ur-Gur*s facing wall, and was carefully built of the 
same crude bricks just mentioned, which form the kernel of 
the ziggurrai} 

Since the water-course thus traced continued its way under 

1 Comp. the zinctype ** Section of the Stage-Tower and the Adjoining 
Southeast Court,** in the chapter on the topography of Nippur, below. 


Naram-Sin's tower, and sloped geptly from a point near and 
within the pre-Sargonic curb towards the former, it was evi- 
dent that if a pre-Sargonic ziggurrat existed at Nippur it 
must have been considerably smaller than that of Naram- 
Sin and lay entirely within and largely below it. In order 
to ascertain all the desirable details both of Naram-Sin's 
and of this possibly earlier structure, it would have been 
necessary to remove Bel's ziggurrat completely by peeling 
off layer after layer. This method is the only one by 
which the precise nature and history of this important part 
of the venerable sanctuarv can be determined satisfactorily, 
but it involves much time, labor and expense, and the 
destruction of one of the earliest landmarks of the country. 

All that the Philadelphia expedition could do under the 
circumstances was to operate with a few carefully made tun- 
nels — a somewhat dangerous proceeding in view of the pon- 
derous mass of crude bricks above, but one already success- 
fully begun by Haynes in previous years, and without any 
serious accident also continued by our ablest workmen during 
the fourth campaign. It seems, however, absolutely essen- 
tial, in view of the important problem before us, that a com- 
plete vertical section, about a fourth of the whole mass, 
should be cut out of the ziggurrai at one of its four corners 
by a future fifth expedition. The smooth and plastered 
surface of the southeast side of a pre-Sargonic ziggurrat hu\\t 
of crude bricks was discovered at two places about forty feet 
distant from each other. It lay nearly fourteen feet within 
the outer edge of. Ur-Gur*s facing wall, and was traced for 
about six to ten feet in its descent to the ancient level 
of the plain. Whether and how far it went below that 
point could not be ascertained without exposing the work- 
men and the explorers to the risk of being entombed 
and suffocated suddenly within the sacred precinct of Bel. 

Two similar but sloping tunnels were carried into the mass 
beneath the northeast side of the ziggurrai. But as the clay 


was too wet, the light too poor and the trenches perhaps 
too short, they did not reveal positive traces of the earlier 
building. We were, however, rewarded by another discov- 
ery made in the most northern trench. At a point several 
feet below the level of Naram-Sin's pavement and still out- 
side of the ziggurra/y we came upon a well-defined small bed 
of black and gray ashes 3 to 4 inches high. Several rude 
blocks of stone lay around it, and the fragments of a 
bronze^ sword or dagger were found among the ashes. 
What did these few ancient remains from below the Sargon 
level in the neighborhood of the ziggurrat indicate ? Hay nes 
had found such beds of ashes mixed with fragments of pot- 
tery and occasionally accompanied by objects in copper and 
bronze (nails, knives, battle axes, portions of vessels) or 
beads in stone, silver, and even gold, rings and other jewelry, 
seal cylinders, etc., everywhere in the lower strata to the 
southeast of the stage-tower (comp. pp. 401,^^^^.). My 
curiosity was aroused, and I was determined to make an effort 
to ascertain the meaning of these remarkable relics. 

2. Unfortunately the greater part of the southeast section 
of the temple enclosure had been removed before my arri- 
val. But Haynes' perpendicular cuts enabled me at least 
to obtain an excellent side view of all the single strata of the 
remaining unexplored portions from the Sargon level down 
to the virgin soil. As soon as I began to examine them one 
after another, I was struck with the enormous mass of larger 
and smaller fragments of pottery intermingled with ashes 
which peeped out of the ground wherever my eye glanced. 
I set to work to extricate these pieces carefully with a 

^ In which antimony took the place of tin. The analysis of one of the 
fragments by the late Dr. Helm of Danzig showed 96.38 parts of copper, 
1.73 parts of antimony, 0.24 part of iron, 0.22 part of nickel, 1.43 parts 
of oxygen and loss, traces of lead. Comp. Helm and Hilprecht in the pro- 
ceedings of the Berliner anthropologischen Gesellschaftp session of February 
16, 1901, p. 1 59. 


large knife, in order to secure the necessary information 
with regard to the original sizes, forms and structures of 
these broken terra-cotta vessels. Without exception they 
belonged to large, thick urns of various shapes, or small 
pointed vases, peculiarly formed cups, dishes and similar 
household vessels. In descending gradually from the 
pavement of Naram-Sin, I suddenly came, three feet 
below it, upon a group of potsherds lying in such a man- 
ner as to suggest at once to the observer the original form 
of a large vase, to which they belonged. 

It was a large oblong-ovate jar over 2 feet long and 
nearly i J^ feet at its largest diameter. The heavy weight 
of the debris of six thousand years lying on the top of 
it had crushed the vessel, which was placed almost hori- 
zontally in the ground, into hundreds of small pieces. 
It contained gray ashes mixed with small bits of charred 
wood and earth, and two long but thin streaks of yellow- 
ish ashes. Without difficulty I could determine that the 
gray ashes represented the remains of bones and wood 
consumed by fire, and the yellowish ashes those of two 
large bones which had decayed gradually, but apparently 
had belonged to the same human body. There were 
four or five fragmentary^ small cups and dishes in the 
urn. They were in a much better condition than the 
large jar which enclosed them. Two of them, which acci- 
dentally had stood almost upright and consequently offered 
much less resistance to the pressure from above than 
those which lay on their sides, were nearly whole, and 
had retained even the forms of decayed dates and fish- 
bones in the fine earth that filled them. Without know- 
ing it, Haynes had cut through the remains of this jar 
lengthwise, leaving only half of it for my examination. 
There could be no doubt, we had here a true pre-Sargonic 
burial. The human body contained in it had been sub- 
jected to cremation without, however, being destroyed com- 


pletely by this process. Both the ashes and the bones had 
afterwards been gathered, and with food and drink placed 
in this jar were buried in the sacred ground around the zig- 
gurrat. The ash-bed unearthed at the northeast side of the 
stage-tower represented the place where another body had 
been cremated, apparently that of a man, perhaps a warrior, 
as the fragments of a sword found in the ashes suggested. 

In the light of this discovery and Haynes' previously 
reported pre-Sargonic burial (pp. 403 seq.)y of all the ash- 
beds and their characteristic objects, so often mentioned but 
completely misunderstood by him,* it was a comparatively 
easy task for me to trace the outlines of a number of 
other urns, though even more injured. I also secured a 
good many tolerably well-preserved cups and dishes, or large 
fragments of the same, from the debris that filled the whole 
ground from the undisturbed soil deep below the ancient 
plain level to the pavement of Naram-Sin, far above the 
latter. In short, I gathered sufficient evidence to show that 
all these ash-beds occurring in a stratum twenty-five to thirty 
feet deep on all the four sides of the ziggurrat are to be 
regarded as places where human bodies had been cremated. 
The thousands of urns discovered above and below them, 
and as a rule badly crushed, but in some cases well pre- 
served, are funeral vases, in which the ashes and bones left 
by the cremation, together with objects once dear to the per- 
son, besides food and drink, were placed and buried. The 
fragments of unbaked walls and rooms repeatedly met with 
in these lowest strata,**^ and always containing whole or broken 
urns, are remains of tombs, so-called funeral chambers. The 
large number of terra-cotta pipes composed of several (often 
perforated) rings, and descending eight, ten, and even more 
feet from the surface of the ancient plain and from higher 

^ Comp. pp. 402, sf^^., 419 above. 

^ In two instances the rooms had been vaulted, and were constructed of 
baked plano-convex bricks. 


levels, without, however, reaching the water level, are drains 
which prptected the single tombs and the gradually rising 
mound as a whole. The less frequent wells, always con- 
structed of plano-convex bricks, were to provide the dead 
with that " clear [but I fear in this case often brackish !] 
water," which the departed pious souls were believed to drink 
in the lower regions.* 

Koldewey has described the fire necropoles of Surghul 
and El-Hibba (comp. pp. 283, seqq.y above), so intelligently 
that it is unnecessary to repeat all the details of my own 
investigations in the pre-Sargonic cemetery of ancient Nip- 
pur, which confirm the German scholar's results in all essen- 
tial details and at the same time prove conclusively that 
his view concerning the great age of these two South Baby- 
lonian ruins is perfectly correct. Suflice it to state, that 
here as there " ash-graves " and " body-graves " occur 
alongside each other in the upper layers, while the former, 
as the older burials, appear exclusively in the lower strata. 
In all the three ruins we observe the same peculiar forms 
and positions of urns and vases, the same kinds of sacrifices 
offered in connection with the cremation and the final burial, 
the same customs of depositing weapons, instruments, seals, 
jewelry, toys, etc., both with the body to be cremated and 
with the remains interred, the same praxis of building drains, 
wells and houses for the dead, the same characteristic deep 
red color of so many potsherds (pointing to their long ex- 
posure to an open fire), and, above all, the same scattering 
of ashes, charred pieces of wood, fragments of vases and 
other remains of human burials which is so appalling to the 

' Apart from other cuneiform passages, comp. the closing words of sev- 
eral recently published terra-cotta cones from Babylonian tombs : If a per- 
son finds a coffin and treats it with due respect, ** his manes may drink clear 
water below ! ** Comp. Thureau-Dangin in Orient. Litter atur-Zeitungf 
Jan. 15, 1901, pp. 5, seqq.^ and Delitzsch in Mitteilungen der Deutschen 
Orient'Geseilschaft, no. 11, pp. 5, seq. 


senses and vet was the natural result of the combined action 
of man and the elements. 

It will now be clear why I was unable to accept Haynes* 
view as stated above (p. 395), with regard to the large solid 
structure within the ancient curb, which he interpreted as 
an immense altar. The white ash-bed found on its hollowed 
surface, its rim of bitumen, /'. e.y a material liberally used in 
connection with the cremations, its extraordinary size (14 feet 
long and 8 feet wide), the ash-bin discovered near its base, 
and the peculiar surroundings suggest the idea that it rather 
represents one of the crematoriums on which the bodies of 
the dead were reduced to ashes. As it stood within the 
sacred enclosure we involuntarily connect the cremation 
and burying of the bodies of all these thousands of ancient 
Babylonians, who found their last resting-place around the 
sanctuary of their god, with the ziggurrai of Bel itself, 
remembering that at Kl-Hibba Koldewey also excavated a 
two-staged ziggurrat, or, according to his theory, " the sub- 
structure of an especially important tomb," * around the 
base of which, exactly as at Nippur, nothing but "ash- 
graves '* occurred. But we then naturally ask : What was 

^ The stage-tower of El-Hibba was round, consisted of two stages, and 
was provided with a water-conduit like that of Nippur. Comp. pp. 286, 
sf^., above, and Zeitschrift fur Assyriologky vol. ii, pp. 422, seq. It 
appears almost strange at present, that the German explorer discovered and 
excavated one of the earliest Babylonian ziggurrats thus so far known, with- 
out realizing it. In view of the existence of a stage-tower at El-Hibba, I am 
convinced that both Surghul and El-Hibba cannot have been cemeteries exclu- 
sively. The German excavations carried on at the two places were by fiir 
too brief and limited compared with the enormous extent of those ruins to 
settle this question. All the pre-Sargonic ruins of Babylonia, as far as I have 
had an opportunity to examine them, consist largely of tombs. They occur 
in great numbers also at Nuffar, Fara, Abu Hatab, and other mounds, but it 
would be utterly wrong to pronounce them for this reason nothing but «« firc- 
necropoles.'* The pre-Sargonic monuments of art and the very ancient 
cuneiform tablets coming from all those mounds enable us to speak more 
positively on this question. 


the original significance of a Babylonian ziggurrat? Were 
these stage-towers, like the step pyramids of Medum and 
Saqqara in Egypt/ in certain cases at least, only " especially 
important tombs *' ? Did the Sumerian population of the 
country after all somehow connect the idea of death or 
tomb with Bel's high-towering terrace at Nippur? 

3. It is generally known that Strabo (16 : 5), in speaking 
of Babylon, mentions " the sepulchre of Bel " (6 rov BtjXov 
Td<f>os)y evidently referring to Etemenankiy the famous stage- 
tower of the metropolis on the Euphrates, which he seems 
to regard as a sepulchral monument" erected in honor of 
Marduk or Merodach, " the Bel of Babel " or " the Bel of 
the gods.**^ In a similar manner Diodorus (ii, 7) informs 
us, that Semiramis built a tower in Nineveh as a tomb for 
her husband Ninos,* a story apparently based upon the con- 
ception that the ziggurrat of Nineveh likewise was a tomb. 
This view of classical writers concerning two of the most 
prominent stage-towers of Babylonia and Assyria has never 
been taken very seriously by scholars, as nothing in the 
cuneiform inscriptions seemed to justify it. But we may 
well ask : Are there really no passages in the Babylonian 
literature which would indicate that the early inhabitants 
of Shumer and Akkad themselves associated the idea of 
" tomb ** with their stage-towers ? 

* Comp. the illustrations of the two pyramids, under " Excavations in 
Egypt,'* below. 

■^ Comp. Ktesias, 29, 21, sfq,y Aelian, rar, hist,, xiii, 3. 

' Merodach of Babylon is thus styled as the city's supreme god who be- 
came heir to the rank and titles of Bel of Nippur, the ** father ** and ** king 
of the gods.'* While reading the last proofs of this book, I received Pro- 
fessor Zimmem's important contribution to the history of Babylonian religion 
incorporated with Schrader's Die Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament, 3d 
edition, Berlin, 1902, part 2. Comp. pp. 355, seq,, 373, seq,, of this 

* Interpreted by Hommel as Nin-ih, by the present writer as the Sume- 
rian Nin (meaning ** lord " and ** lady **) -\- the Greek ending os. 


Apart from RawHnson and other earlier explorers, who 
actually searched for the two above-mentioned tombs, it was 
Hommel who first expressed it as his conviction that "the 
Babylonian stage-towers originally were sepulchral monu- 
ments/** and that Ningirsu's temple at Tello was a combi- 
nation of a sanctuary for the god and of a mausoleum for 
Gudea, his patesi. Though the former statement is too 
general and comprehensive according to the scanty materiil 
at our disposal, and the latter incorrect, since, according to 
the context, Gudea clearly erected not his own, but hispxl's 
"sepulchral chapel" in the temple of Ningirsu, Hommel 
deserves credit for having recognized an important fiurt in 
connection with Babylonian stage-towers and for hftving 
endeavored to find proofs for his theory in the inscripcioiit, 
before he could have known of the results of a series of in- 
vestigations carried on by the present writer at Nufllar in 
March and April, 1900. 

It does not lie within the scope of this book to treat 
all the cuneiform passages which directly or indirectly bear 
upon the important question under consideration. I shall 
therefore confine myself to a single text from the latest 
excavations at Nuflfar which will throw some light on the 
way in which the Babylonians viewed the ziggurrat of Bel 
at Nippur, and to a few passages of published inscriptions 
referring to other ziggurrats. 

Among the antiquities found in the debris that covered 
the pavement of Ashurbanapal near the east corner of the 
court of the stage-tower at Nippur, there were three inscribed 
fragments of baked clay which seemed to belong to a barrel 
cylinder. When trying to fit them together, 1 found that 
they constituted the greater part of a truncated cone of an 
interesting shape ^ similar to that of the recently published 

1 Comp. Hommel, Aufsatxe und Abhandlungen^ part iii, i (Munich, 
1901), pp. 389, seqq,^ especially p. 393. 

^ Comp. p. 457, above, note. The same peculiar form is known from 


cones from Babylonian tombs. The curious form of the 
document attracted mv immediate attention. On closer 
examination, it proved to be a building record of twenty- 
five lines of neo- Babylonian cuneiform characters inscribed 

lengthwise by " Ashurbanapal, king of Assyria." Only lines 
1 5-1 g of the mutilated legend are of importance for the sub- 

Nabopolassjir's fine cylinder, nou tn Philadelphia, and containing hii building 
record oi Eumrnmrki, "the lower of Babel" (comp. Hilprecht, "The 
Bab, Exp. of the U. of Pa.," series A, vol. i, pari 1, pi. liii). A "cylin- 
der " from NuiTar containing Samsu-iluna's account of his restoration of the 
Juru (inner wall) of the temple of Bel, and a cone in the Louvre of Paris, 
containing Hammurabi's record of his construction " of the tvall and canal 
of Sippira " (according to information received by tetter from Thurcau-Dan- 
gin), also show the same form. It doubtless represents the prototype of the 
later barrel -cyhnder. Nevertheless, it remains a most remarkable fact that 
cylinders of this peculiar form were deposited both in the ziggurrali and their 
enclosing walls, and also in the ancient tombs which, as we now know, origi- 
nally luiTOunded the former. 


ject under consideration. I quote them in the king's own 
language : " E-gigunUy the ziggurrai of Nippur, the founda- 
tion of which is placed in the breast of the ocean, the walls 
of which had grown old, and which had fallen into decay — 
I built that house with baked bricks and bitumen, and com- 
pleted its construction. With the art of the god of the bricks 
I restored it and made it bright as the day. I raised its head 
like a mountain and caused its splendor to shine." 

This inscription furnishes us a new name of the ziggurrai 
of Nippur, E-gigunu^ " House of the tomb," the other two 
names of the same building, with which we were familiar be- 
fore, being Imgarsagy " Mountain of the wind " or " Mt. 
Airy," and E-sagashy " House of the decision." E-gigunUy 
however, was not altogether unknown to us. There arc 
several cuneiform passages in which it appears in parallel- 
ism with EkuTy " House of the mountain," the well-known 
temple of Bel and Beltis at Nippur.- A fourth name, to state 
this distinctly here, occurs in another unpublished text in- 
scribed on a large vase of Gudea also belonging to the results 
of our latest excavations at NufFar, namely, Dur-ankiy " Link 
of heaven and earth.'* How was it possible that the ziggur- 
rat of Nippur, which constitutes the most prominent part of 
the whole temple complex, this high towering terrace, which 
" connects heaven and earth,** could appear to the Babyloni- 
ans as " the house of the tomb ** at the same time ? 

Most of the names of Babylonian temples express a cos- 
mic idea. According to the old Babylonian conception of the 
gods and their relation to the world's edifice, En-lil or Bel of 
Nippur is "the king of heaven and earth,** or "the father*' 
and " king of the gods ** and " the king of the lands," /. e., 
the earth. Bel's sphere of influence, therefore, is what we 

* A fifth (unknown) name seems to have stood in the mutilated passage, 
ii R. 50, if the present sign of line 4, a, was copied correctly from the original. 

^ Comp. Jensen, Die Kosmoiogie der Babylonier, Strasburg, 1890, pp. 
186, seq. 


generally style " the world." It extends from the upper or 
heavenly ocean (the seat of Anu) to the lower or terrestrial 
ocean (the seat of Ea), which was regarded as the continuation 
of the former around and below the earth. In other words, 
Bel rules an empire which includes the whole world with 
the exclusion of the upper and lower oceans, or an empire 
confined on the one hand by the starry firmament which 
keeps back the waters of the upper ocean (Gen. i : 6-8) and 
is called heaven {an)y and on the other hnand by that lower 
" firmament " which keeps the waters of the lower ocean in 
their place (Gen. i : 9, 10) and is called earth {ki).^ But his 
empire not only lies between these two boundaries, it practi- 
cally includes them. The ziggurrai of Bel is " the link of 
heaven and earth" which connects the two extreme parts 
of his empire ; that is, it is the local representation of the 
great mythological " mountain of the world," ^Kharsag- 
kurkurUy 3, structure "the summit of which reaches unto 
heaven, and the foundation of which is laid in the clear 
apsUy** ' /. e.y in the clear waters of the subterranean ocean, — 
epithets afterwards applied to other Babylonian ziggur- 
ratSy some of which bear even the same, or at least a similar, 

* On the Babylonian conception of the world's edifice, comp. especially 
Jensen, Die Kosmologie der Babylonier^ Strasburg, 1890 ; Hommel, Das baby- 
ionise he Weltbild'wi Aufshtxe und Abhandlungerty part iii, i, Munich, 1901, 
pp. 344-349 ; and a monograph received immediately before the issue of 
this book. It is written by one of my pupils, Dr. Hugo Radau, and bears the 
title, "The Creation-Story of Genesis i, a Sumerian Theogony and Cosmo- 
gony ** (Chicago, London, 1902), — a very useful and commendable treatise, 
which, however, might have been improved considerably, if the author had 
written in a more becoming manner about one of his teachers. Professor 
Hommel, to whose lectures and extraordinary personal efforts in his behalf 
at Munich he owes some of his best knowledge. Much valuable material is 
also found in several writings of A. Jeremias, Winckler, and Zimmern. 

^ Comp. the poetical passage quoted above, p. 304, from a hymn ad- 
dressed to Bel and his consort. Bel therefore is designated (ii R, 54, 4, a) 
ideographically also as the god of Dur-an (abbreviation for Dur-an-ki) or 
even ** the great mountain " itself (^shadu rabu^. 



name. Thus, e. g.y the ziggurrat of Shamash, both at Sip- 
para * and at Larsa, was called E-Duranki^ " House of the 
link of heaven and earth/' ^ or abbreviated E-Duranna^ 
"House of the link of heaven," and the ziggurrat of Mar- 
duk at Babylon, Etemenanki^ " House of the foundation of 
heaven and earth." 

Bel, " the lord " par excellence, who took the place of 
the Sumerian En-lil in the Semitic pantheon, is, as we have 
seen, the king of this " middle empire." His manifesta- 
tion is " the wind " (//7), and his name designates him there- 
fore as "the lord {en) of the wind {HI) " or" storm," and of 
all those other phenomena which frequently accompany it, 
"thunder," " lightning," etc. The hundreds of terra-cotta 
images of Bel or En-lil discovered at Nippur accordingly 
represent him generally as an old man (a real " father of 
the gods ") with a long flowing beard, and a thunderbolt or 
some other weapon in his hand.^ He and his consort Beltis 
reside in a house on the top of the great " mountain of the 
world," which reaches unto heaven (Gen. 1 1 : 4). There 
the gods were born,^ and from thence " the king of heaven 
and earth " hurls down his thunderbolts. This house is 
localized in Ekur (" House of the mountain "), Bel's 
famous temple at Nippur. Though this name generally 
designates the whole temple complex in the inscriptions, 
originally, as the etymology of the word indicates, it can 
have been applied only to the most important part of it, 

^ I infer this from the fact that an ancient king of Sippara, known from a 
text of the library of Ashurbanapal, has the name Enme-Duranki, concerning 
whom comp. Zimmern, in the third edition of Schrader's Keilinschriften und 
das Alte Testament t vol. i, part 2 (Leipzig, 1902), pp. 532, seqq. 

^ Comp. also Jensen, /. r., p. 485. 

' For the present comp. the illustration facing p. 342, above. 

* Sargon, <* Khorsabad,** i 55, seq. : *< The gods Ea, Sin, Shamash, Ncbo, 
Adad, Ninib, and their sublime consorts, who arc bom legitimately In the 
house of [situated on the top of] the great mountain of the world, the moun- 
tain of * the nether world.' '* 


/. e.y the shrine which stood on the top of the ziggurrat. 
This high-towering terrace being regarded as the " link 
which connects heaven and earth/* that divine palace resting 
on it was a heavenly and terrestrial residence at the same time. 
This stage-tower, however, also penetrates far into the 
earth, its foundation being laid in the waters of the lower 
ocean. On the one hand it rises from the earth, inhabited 
by man, unto heaven, the realm of the gods ; on the other, 
it descends to " the great city *' {urugal) of the dead, the 
realm of the departed souls. For, according to Babylonian 
conception, " the nether world" {Ar&lu\ the abode of the 
dead, lies directly below and within the earth, or, more ex- 
actly, in the hollow space formed by the lower part {kigal) 
of the earth (which resembles an upset round boat, a so- 
called qufa)y ^,nd by the lower ocean, which at the same time 
encircles this " land without return/* The mountain of the 
world, therefore, is also called " the mountain of the nether 
world ** {shad Aralii) in the cuneiform inscriptions.* As 
gigunuy "grave,** "tomb,** is used metonymically as a syn- 
onym of Araliiy "the nether world,** ^ it follows that the 
ziggurrat of Nippur, which is the local representation of 
the great mountain of the world, also could be called "the 
house of the tomb** {E-gigunu) or "the house of 'the 
nether world.* ** It is the edifice that rises over the Hades, 
quasi forming the roof beneath which the departed souls 
reside. It was therefore onlv natural that the earliest in- 
habitants should bury their dead around the base of the 
ziggurrat of Nippur to a depth of thirty to forty feet, so 
that the latter appears to us almost like a huge sepulchral 
monument erected over the tombs of the ancient Sumerians 
who rest in its shadow. Rising out of the midst of tombs, 
as it did, the stage-tower of Bel even literally may be called 

* Sargon, Khorsabad, 155,/^'^. Comp. Jensen, /. r., pp. 203, 231, J^•^^. 
2 Comp. A. Jeremias, Die Babylonisch-jissyrischen Vorstellungen vom 
Leben nach dem Toae, Leipzig, 1887, pp. 61, seqq. 


a " house of the tomb(s)." In view of what has just been 
stated in the briefest way possible, it will not surprise us 
that in the cuneiform literature Ekur sometimes is used as 
a synonym of " heaven,'* ^ and sometimes stands in paral- 
lelism with Gigunii and Arhlu? 

The tower of Bel at Nippur appears to us as a place of 
residence for the gods, as a place of worship for man, and as 
a place of rest for the dead — a grand conception for a sanc- 
tuary in the earliest historical period of Babylonia, which 
has continued even to the present time. For the hundreds 
and thousands of Christian churches, which contain tombs 
within their confines or are surrounded by a graveyard, prac- 
tically express the same idea. As to a certain degree most 
of the other Babylonian temples were modelled more or less 
after the great national sanctuary of Bel at Nippur, we must 
expect, tf /)mr/, that excavations at Fl-Hibba, Fara, Larsa, 
Muqayyar, and other pre-Sargonic ruins, will likewise dis- 
close extensive cemeteries around ^^xxziggurrats. But it is 
interesting to observe how certain religious ideas of the Se- 
mitic conquerors, possibly in connection with considerations 
similar to those which led to a transfer of the cemeteries from 
the environments of the churches to districts outside the 
cities in our own days, seem finally to have brought about 
a radical change of the ancient burial customs in Babylonia. 
With regard to Nippur, this change can be traced to about 
the period of Sargon 1, after whose government no more 
burials occur in the sacred precinct of Ekur. As remarked 
above, there are comparatively few among the 2500 post- 
Sargonic tombs thus far examined at NufFar that can be 
with certainty assigned to the long interval between Sar- 
gon 1 and the Seleucidan occupation. Nearly all those 
reported by Peters and Haynes as being true Babylonian 
are Parthian, Sassanian, and Arabic.^ In fact we do not 

^ Comp. ii R, 54, no. 4. 2 Comp. iv R, 24, 3-8 ; 27, 26, 27 a. 

^ Comp. pp. 154, seq.y 233, note 3, above. 


know yet how the Semitic inhabitants of ancient Nippur 
generally disposed of their dead. 

From the difficult passage * preceding Gudea's account of 
his restoration of Ningirsu's temple at Lagash, I am in- 
clined to infer that originally a vast fire-necropolis sur- 
rounded the sanctuary of Tello also, and that Gudea did the 
same for Shir-pur-la as Sargon I (or some other monarch 
of that general period) had done for Nippur. He stopped 
cremating and burying the dead in the environments of the 
temple of Ningirsu, and levelled the ground of the ancient 
cemetery around it, with due regard to the numerous burial 
urns and coffins previously deposited there. In other words, 
" he cleaned the city " and " made the temple of Ningirsu a 
pure place like Eridu," the sacred city of Ea, where, appa- 
rently, in the earliest days, burials were not allowed. From 
the same inscription we learn another important fact. Gudea 
states expressly, that " he restored Eninnu-imgig[gu)barbara 
[Ningirsu's temple] and constructed his [/. e. the god's] 
beloved tomb ( ^/^//»/?) of cedar wood in it.**^ It cannot be 
ascertained precisely where the god's funeral chapel was, 
in the extensive household ^ provided for him by Gudea. 
From another passage (Gudea, Statue D, ii, 7-iii, i), how- 
ever, it would seem that it formed part of the temple proper, 
which stood at the side* of the ziggurrat^ while the room on 
the summit of the stage-tower (called Epa) was the one 
chamber above all others in which Ningirsu and his con- 
sort, Bau, were supposed to reside, and where, accordingly, 

* Statue B, iii, i 2-v, 1 1. 

' Comp. Gudea, Statue B, v, 15-19 ; Statue D, ii, 7-iii, i. 

' Comp. Thureau-Dangin*s translation and brief treatment of Gudea' s two 
large cylinders (A and B) in Comptes Ren Jus, 1901, pp. i 12 seqq, (^Le songe 
df Gudea, Cyl. A), Revue d^ his to ire et de literature religieuses, vol. vi 
( 1901 ), no. 6, pp. 481, seqq. {La famille et la cour d* un dieu chaldeen, 
Cyl. B. ), and Zeitschrift fur Assyriologie, vol. xvi (1902), pp. 344, 
seqq. ( Le cylindre A de Gudea). 

* Comp. pp. 469, seqq,, below. 


" the wedding presents of Bau '* were deposited. Here, 
then, for the first time, we meet with the idea that a Baby- 
lonian god has his tomb. Startling as this statement may 
seem at first, it is in entire accord with the character of the 
principal god of Lagash, as a god of vegetation and as a sun- 
god. For Ningirsu, " the powerful champion" and "the 
beloved son '* of En-Iil of Nippur,^ originally the god 
of agriculture, was later identified with Ninib, " the son of 
Ekury'' the god of the rising sun, " who holds the link of 
heaven and earth - and governs everything." ^ According 
to the Babylonian conception, he suffers death in the same 
way as Tammuz^ (Ez. 8 : 14), the god of the spring vege- 
tation and of the lower regions, with whom Ningirsu is 
practically identical;^ or as Shamash, the sun-god himself, 
who descends into the apsiiy the terrestrial and subterranean 
ocean, every evening, and rises out of it again in the morn- 
ing; who in the spring of every year commences his course 
with youthful vigor, but gradually grows weaker and weaker 
until he dies during the winter. The sun dwelling in "the 
nether world " for half a year, the sun-god himself naturally 
is considered as dead during this period,*' and Shamash con- 
sequently has his tomb in Larsa, and Ai, his wife, at Sip- 
para,' as Ningirsu in Lagash. More than this, the ziggurrat 

* Comp. Gudea, Cyl. A, ii, 12, where it is even said that ** Ningirsu 
is lord or prince (nirgal) at Nippur." 

'^ See i R, 29, 3, seq., markas shawe u irsiti, the Assyrian translation o\ 
the Sumerian Durattkty which, as we saw above, was the name of the zig- 
gurrat of Ekur. 

' Comp. Jensen, Koimologit'y Index. 

* Who dies in the month sacred to him. 
' Comp. Jensen, /. r. , pp. 197, ^^qq- 

^ Comp. Wincklcr, Arabisch-Semit'hch-Orientalisch in Mitteilungen der 
rorderasiatisi hen Gescllschaft y^tr\\r\y 1901, no. 5, pp. 93, seqq, 

^ Comp. Scheil, Code ties Lois de Hammurabi (D. Morgan's Memoir es^ 
vol. iv) Paris, 1902, col. ii, 26-28, — a passage which I owe to Hommcl, 
I not yet having seen the book recently published. 


of Larsa itself is Shamash's tomb. For on a barrel cylinder 
from the temple of Shamash and Ai at Larsa, Nabonidos un- 
mistakably calls the god's stage-tower " his lofty tomb." ^ 

From what has been said, it follows (i) that the Baby- 
lonians themselves associated the idea of " tomb " closely 
with their ziggurratSy and (2) that the inscriptions not only 
know of tombs of certain deities (of light) in general, but in 
one case at least directly call the ziggurrat of a god " his 
sepulchre.*' As Marduk, the supreme god of Babylon, 
likewise is a sun-god, namely, the god of the early sun of 
the day (morning) and of the year (spring),^ we have no 
reason to doubt any longer that the conception of the clas- 
sical writers concerning £/^w^»tf»^/, the stage-tower of Mar- 
duk, as " the sepulchre of Bel," is correct, and goes back 
to trustworthy original sources.^ 

4. The excavations conducted along the southeast enclos- 
ing wall of the ziggurrat established the important fact 
that the stage-tower did not occupy the central part of the 
temple court, and that the ascent to the high-towering ter- 
race and the entrance gate of the enclosing wall did not lie 
opposite each other. Upon entering the sacred precincts 
one was compelled to turn westward in order to reach 
the former. It became, therefore, very probable that the 
remains of a second important structure were hidden 
below the rubbish accumulated at the northeast side of the 
ziggurral. In order to ascertain this, we proceeded with 
our excavations from the east corner of the temple court 

^ A passage generally misunderstood by the translators. The text wa$ 
published and first translated by Bezold in the *< Proceedings of the Society of 
Biblical Archaeology,'* 1889. Comp. col. ii, \6 : zi-ku-ra-ti gi-gu-na-a- 
shu s't-i-ri. 

' Comp. Jensen, Kosmologie^ pp. 87, seqq, A somewhat different view 
of the same scholar is found in Schrader's K, B,y vol. vi, p. 562. 

' Comp. Lehmann in Wochenschrift fur klassische Philologies 190O, p. 
962, note I, and Beitr'age zur alien Geschichte^ vol. i, p. 276, note i. 
Also Zimmcrn, K. A. T.*, p. 371. 



n ^ 

t: : ; ■. 

4 \ 


j I 


'^•«. •«--%. 

-^-•••^«^--— n 

f'' s' 

L-, ,.-! 

i } 


f- -x— *••• "y.*- 

*"• ^..r" 

Ground plan of Ekur, Temple of Bel at Nippur 
Reitored and designed by Hilprechty dratvn by Fisker 

A. Inner Court : /. Ziggurrat. 2. House of Bel. j. Front and rear gates. ^ 
and 5". Storage faults. and 7. Water conduits draining the -saiggurrat. S. SMai' 

loiu basin forming the junction oj the 'watercourses at the rear. 

B. Outer Court : /. Small Temple of Bet. 2 and j. Excavated portions of the 

enclosing walls. 

excavated^ restored walls. 


northward, until we came upon a wall of baked bricks 
which ran parallel to the southeast enclosing wall. We fol- 
lowed it for a considerable distance towards the southwest, 
when suddenly it turned off at a right angle in a north- 
west direction, continuing its course for iS7}4 feet, nearly 
parallel with the northeast facade of the ziggufraty and at 
a distance of nearly sixteen feet from it. When we had 
reached a point a little beyond the north corner of the 
stage-tower, it again turned off at a right angle to the east. 
We traced it for seventy-one feet in this direction by means 
of a tunnel, without, however, being able to follow it to the 

The excavated portions sufficed to determine that the 
wall enclosed a space 152 feet long and about 115 feet 
wide, /. e.y an area of 17,480 square feet. The prominent 
position which the structure occupied at the side of the 
stage-tower, the fact that it was built of burned bricks 
(laid in clay mortar), and the circumstance that, with the 
exception of the entire southeast side and the adjoining 
part of the southwest face, the wall was panelled in the 
same way as the corresponding sides of the ziggurraiy 
indicated clearly that it was not a mere enclosing wall, 
but the facing of a large house. As it had served as 
a quarry for later generations, it was unfortunately re- 
duced considerably in height. At some places not more 
than one or two courses of bricks had been left, while at 
others there were as many as a score. With the limited 
time then at my disposal it was impossible to examine 
and to remove the mass of debris covering the building 
as carefully as it ought to be done. I therefore decided 
not to ruin this important section of the temple area 
by adopting the methods of my predecessors, but to leave 
its interior as far as possible untouched, and to confine my- 
self to an exploration of its exposed edges. We were thus 
enabled to gather the following details, a. The facing wall 


varied in thickness from a little over 3 to about 5 J4 feet. 
^. A number of unbaked brick walls ran at right angles to 
the facing wall, and with it constituted a number of larger 
and smaller rooms, c. The building had two entrances in 
its longer southwest side. The one near the south corner, 
being the principal one, was 10^4 feet wide, while that near 
the north corner measured only about half that width. 
d. As the visible part of this large house seemed to rest on 
the same level as the pavement of Kadashman-Turgu and 
was completely covered by the pavement of Ashurbanapal, 
naturally I assumed that it had been restored for the last 
time by a member of the Cassite dynasty. The correctness 
of this theory was proved by an inscription taken from its 
walls. Among the various bricks examined, one of them 
(discovered in situ) bore a brief legend on one of its edges, 
from which we learned that " Shagarakti-Shuriash (about 1350 
B. c), king of Babylon, prefect (sag-us/i) of the house of 
Bel," was one of the rulers who devoted his time and inter- 
est to this remarkable building, e. Immediately beneath 
the southwest wall of the Cassite edifice are fragments of 
an earlier wall which ran somewhat nearer to the northeast 
face of the ziggurraL 

What was the original purpose of this extensive struc- 
ture? To judge from its mere size and conspicuous posi- 
tion in connection with the characteristic inscription just 
mentioned, there can be no doubt that it represents the 
" house of Bel " itself, the palace in which the household 
of the god and his consort was established, where sacrifices 
were offered and the most valuable votive offerings of the 
greatest Babylonian monarchs deposited. In other words, 
it was the famous temple of Bel, which, together with the 
stage-tower, formed an organic whole enclosed by a com- 
mon wall, and was generally known under the name of 
Ekury " House of the Mountain." This divine palace 
stood "at the side of the ziggurrat** of Nippur, pre- 


cisely where, on the basis of Rassam's excavations at 
Borsippa and Sippara, and according to numerous indica- 
tions in the building inscriptions of Babylonian temples/ I 
had expected to find it. 

My conclusions with regard to the importance and nature 
of this structure were fully confirmed by the discoveries 
made in its immediate neighborhood. Apart from numer- 
ous fragments of stone vases, as a rule inscribed with the 
names of pre-Sargonic kings familiar to us from the results 
of the former campaigns, we unearthed several inter- 
esting antiquities in a far better state of preservation than 
the average relic previously excavated in the court of the 
temple. Their number increased as we began to approach 
the large edifice described. Among the objects of art thus 
obtained I mention the leg of a large black statue from the 
level of Ur-Gur, the head of a small marble statue covered 
with a turban, like those of the time of Gudea found at 
Tello, and two small headless statues of the same material 
but considerably older. Each of the latter bore a brief 
votive inscription of four lines. They came from the same 
stratum that produced the large mass of broken antiquities 
gathered by the second and third expeditions. Immedi- 
ately below it was the section of a pavement which con- 
sisted of stones and pieces of baked brick mixed and laid in 
bitumen. When examined more closely it was found to 
contain three fragments of a large inscribed slab in lime- 
stone once presented to the temple of Bel by a " king of 
Shumer and Akkad." Not far from this pavement there 
was a large heavy vase in dolerite. It stood upright, was 
over 2 feet high, had a diameter of nearly i ^4 feet, and 
bore the following inscription : " To Bel, the king of the 

I For the present comp. Nabonidos' barrel cylinder from Larsa (published 
by Bezold in the ** Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archeology," 
London, 1889), vol. iii, 13, se^. : pa-pa-khi shu-ba-at i-iu-ti-shu-un sir- 
tint sha i'te-e zi-qu-ra-tim ri-tu-u te-me-en-shu. 


gods, for the house {esh) of Nippur [and, or namelyj Dur- 
ankiy Gudea, patesi of Lagash, has presented the long boat 
(/. e.^ a turrada) of Ekur for^ [the preservation of J his life." 

It soon became evident that the house of Bel at the side 
of the ziggurral must have existed as early as the time of 
Sargon I and Naram-Sin. A few brick stamps of the latter, 
and a door-socket and many brick stamps of the former 
were discovered slightly above their well-known pavement. 
Soon afterwards the workmen unearthed a small piece of 
spirited sculpture (exhibiting the larger part of an incised 
quadruped), which doubtless belongs to the fourth mil- 
lennium, and a round marble slab over 2 feet in diameter 
and nearly 3 inches thick, which contained the name of 
" Naram-Sin, king of Agade, king of the four regions 
of the world," accompanied by the somewhat effaced name 
of a contemporaneous " priest of Bel, thy servant/' 

Even the pre-Sargonic period was represented by several 
fairly well preserved objects. We refer briefly to the frag- 
ment of a perforated votive tablet in limestone showing a 
sacrificial scene with Nin-lil, or Beltis,^ in the centre. The 
goddess, accompanied by a bird, apparently sacred to her," 
is seated on a low chair and holds a pointed cup in her 
right hand. A burning altar (which became the regular 
ideogram for "fire** in Assyrian) and a lighted candlestick 
stand in front of Beltis, while behind her a priest, remark- 
able for the long hair of his beard and the back of his head, 
leads a shaved worshipper, carrying a young goat on his 
right arm, before the goddess. Among the other antiqui- 
ties found in the immediate neighborhood of Bel's house, 
I mention a small carving in mother-of-pearl (a warrior 

* If it were Bel, he would be represented with a beard, according to the 
general custom observed. The garment and the peculiar hdr-dress of the 
deity likewise favor my interpretation. 

^ Comp. the raven of Ningirsu (p. 230, note i, above), the raven of 
Woden, the eagle of Jupiter, the peacock of Juno, the owl of Athene, etc. 


with drawn bow) ; a piece of lapis lazuli with a human 
head in iow relief; another round stone slab dedicated to 
Kn-lil by King Lugalkigubnidudu ; a model in limestone 
for making plano-convex bricks ; about forty fragments 
of ciay bearing impressions of archaic seal cylinders ; and 
more than one hundred inscribed clay tablets taken from 
below the level of Naram-Sin. With regard to several 
other antiquities found in the strata immediately beneath 

it — as, e.g., a quantity of large beads in crystal (quartz), 
a hollow cone of silver, a vase of jewel rv containing rings 
and a well preserved chain in the same metal, several ex- 
cellently fashioned nails, scrapers, knives, a saw, and many 
fragments of vessels, all in copper — it must remain doubt- 
ful whether they belonged to "the house of Bel" or, as 
seems more probable to the present writer, in part at 
least were originally deposited in the numerous ash-graves 
which begin to appear directly below the pavement of the 
Sargon dvnasty. 

Several fragments of small pavements were discovered 
slightly above that of Naram-Sin in the east section of the 
temple court immediately before the sanctuary of Bel. 


They had been laid by unknown persons prior to the 
time of Ur-Gur. One of these sections contained many 
inscribed bricks with the short legend : " Lugalsurzu, 
patesi of Nippur, priest of Bel.** A shallow rectangular 
basin built of burned bricks and coated with bitumen on 
its floor and sides, an open conduit leading from it to a 
neighboring vertical drain, and the above-mentioned stone 
vase of Gudea indicate that it was probably reserved for the 
ablutions of the priests, for cleansing the sacred vessels, and 
other functions of the temple service for which water was 
required. It is possible also that the sheep, goats and 
other sacrifices to be offered were killed there. From an 
inscribed door-socket of Bur-Sin of Ur previously unearthed 
in the eastern half of the temple court,^ it can also be 
inferred that a store-room called " the house for honey, 
cream and wine, a place for his [Bel's] sacrifices,"^ must 
have existed somewhere within the temple enclosure not 
very far from " the house of Bel." 

The large number of inscribed and sculptured objects 
gathered in the lower strata of the court of the ziggurrat 
by the American explorers and in its upper ruins centuries 
ago by the later inhabitants of ancient Nippur,^ to a certain 
degree enable us to form an idea of the elaborate manner 
in which the temple of Bel was equipped and embellished 
in early days. But the ruinous state of its w^alls and the 
very fragmentary condition in which all the statues and 
most of the reliefs and vases thus far have been discovered, 
indicate what in all probability will await us in the interior 

^ Comp. Hilprecht, ** The Bab. Exp. of the U. of Pa.," scries A, 
vol. i, part i, no. 21. 

^ On the use and significance of wine, cream and honey in the Babylonian 
cults, comp. Zimmern, K, A. 7'.', p. 526. 

' E. g'f all the fine votive objects originally deposited by the Cassite kings 
in the temple of Bel, but found by Peters in the box of a jeweller of the 
Parthian period (pp. 335, sr^., above), outside of the temple proper. 


of the sanctuary itself, A methodical exploration of the 
large building at the side of the ziggurrat will doubtless 
result in the unearthing of other fragmentary inscriptions 
and important objects of art, but its principal object will 
have to be the restoration of the ground-plan of Baby- 
lonia's great national sanctuary at the middle of the second 
pre-Christian millennium. 

5. Much has been written on the analogies existing be- 
tween Babylonian and Hebrew temples, and, strange to say, 
even an attempt has been made to trace the architectural 
features of the temple of Solomon to Babylonian sources, 
though as a matter of fact not one of the large Babylonian 
temples has as yet been excavated thoroughly enough to 
enable us to recognize its disposition and necessary details. 
The little Parthian palace of Nippur on the west side of 
the Chebar, plainly betraying Greek influence, was quoted 
as a pattern " of the architecture of Babylonia," and the 
Parthian fortress lying on the top of the ruined temple of 
Bel was interpreted as " affording us for the first time a 
general view of a sacred quarter in an ancient Babylonian 
city." There remains little of Peters' theories concerning 
the topography of ancient Nippur and the age of its exca- 
vated ruins that will stand criticism. We can therefore 
readily imagine to what incongruities any comparison resting 
on his so-called interpretations of the ruins must lead us. 
It will be wise to refrain for the present entirely from such 
untimely speculations until the characteristic features of at 
least one of Babylonia's most prominent sanctuaries have 
been established satisfactorily by pick and spade. 

In my previous sketch I have endeavored to show, on the 
basis of mv own excavations and researches at NufFar, that 
Ekur^ the temple of Bel, consisted of two principal build- 
ings, the ziggurrat J and " the house of Bel " at the side 
of it. Both were surrounded by a common wall called 
Imgur-Marduk in the cuneiform inscriptions. It may rea- 


sonably be doubted whether the average pilgrim visiting 
Nippur was ever allowed to enter this most holy enclos- 
ure. The question then arises : Was there no other place 
of worship, a kind of outer court, to which every pious 
Babylonian who desired to pay homage to " the father of 
the gods," had free access ? 

In 1890 Peters fortunately came upon the remains of 
a building in the lower mounds situated to the southeast 
of Bint el-Amir. He found that most of its bricks were 
stamped upon their edges, one to three times, with a brief 
legend, and discovered two door-sockets in sitUy from which 
we learned that the little edifice of two rooms was a tem- 
ple called Kishaggulla-Bur'Sifiy " House of the delight of 
Bur-Sin,"^ erected in honor of Bel by Bur-Sin of Ur, who 
reigned about 2550 b. c. (comp. pp. 336, seq.y above). Frag- 
ments of sculptures scattered in the debris around it testified 
to the great esteem in which the chapel had been held by the 
ancient worshippers. From the mere fact that it stood in 
the shadow of EkuTy directly opposite the ascent of the 
stage- tower, towards which it faced, I arrived at the con- 
clusion that it must have been included in the precincts 
of the temple, and that future excavations carried on in its 
neighborhood would show that the complex of the great 
national sanctuary in all probability extended much farther 
to the south than, on the basis of Peters' statements, we were 
entitled to assume. When therefore, in 1899, I went a 
second time to the ruins, I was in hope of finding some 
clue as to the precise relation in which this shrine stood 
to the principal enclosure. As the enormous dump-heaps 
raised on that important mound by my predecessors again 
interfered seriously with the work of the expedition, there 

^ Comp. Hilprecht, "The Bab. Exp. of the U. of Pa.," series A, 
vol. i, part i, no. 20, 11. 15, seq. The two signs shag-^ul (heart + joy, 
Her%e?isfreude)y must be an ideogram with a meaning like "delight, cheer- 
fulness. * * 


remained nothing else to be done but to try to solve the 
problem in connection with our excavations along the south- 
east enclosing wall of the court of the ziggurrat as far as 
this was possible. The attempt was crowned with a fair 
amount of success beyond that which could have been anti- 
cipated (comp. the zinctype, p. 470). 

While tracing the panelled outer face of the last-men- 
tioned wall, our workmen were suddenly stopped in their 
progress both at the eastern and southern ends of the long 
and deep trench by a cross-wall joining the former at a 
right angle. In order to ascertain the course and nature 
of these two walls they were ordered to follow them for a 
certain distance by means of tunnels cut along their inner 
faces at about the level of Naram-Sin's pavement. These 
tunnels revealed the existence of numerous ash-graves in 
the lower strata, and enabled us to determine that the 
two walls were constructed of the same unbaked material 
and adorned with the same kind of panels as the southeast 
wall of the temple enclosure. The northeast wall was 
traced forty-eight feet without reaching its end, when the 
excavations were suspended in order not to destroy valu- 
able remains of constructions which might have been built 
against it. For the same reason the southwest tunnel was 
cut less deep, especially as the evidence gained from it 
sufficed to confirm the results obtained from the other 
tunnel. It could no longer be doubted that a second, 
somewhat smaller court, in which Bur-Sin*s sanctuary stood, 
adjoined the court of the ziggurrat on the side of its princi- 
pal entrance. This outer court seems to have extended to 
the edge of the depression which represents the ancient bed 
of a branch of the Shatt en-Nil. An opening in the low 
narrow ridge running along its northern embankment, and 
evidently marking the remains of an ancient wall later occu- 
pied by Parthian houses, indicates the site of the gate which 

once gave access to it. 


These are all the positive facts that could be gathered. 
At least two years will be required to remove the dump- 
heaps completely and to excavate the whole mound sys- 
tematically. From a tablet found in the upper strata of 
the temple library, I learned that besides Bel, at least 
twenty-four other deities had their own " houses " in the 
sacred precincts of Nippur. Where have we to look for 
them ? The absence of any considerable building remains 
in the inner court, apart from those described above, the 
existence of a small temple of Bel in the outer court, and 
several other considerations, lead me to the assumption that 
in all probability they were grouped around Bel's chapel 
in the enclosed space between the southeast wall of the zig- 
gurrat and the eastern branch of the Shatt en-Nil, — in other 
words, are to be sought for in the outer court of Ekur. 

6. One of the principal tasks of the latest Philadelphia 
expedition was to search for the gates and to determine the 
probable course and extent of the walls of the ancient city. 
According to the inscriptions, Nippur had two walls, called 
Imgur-Marduk (" Merodach was favorable ") and Nimit- 
Marduk (" Stronghold ^ of Merodach "). The former was 
the inner wail {duru)y the latter the outer wall or rampart 
[shalkhu). The mere fact that both names contain as an 
element Marduk, the supreme god of Babylon, who, in 
connection with the rise of the first dynasty of Babylon 
(about 2300 B. c.) gradually took the place of Bel of 
Nippur, indicates that they cannot represent the earliest 
designations of the two walls. This inference is fully con- 
firmed by a discovery made in the debris near the eastern 
corner of the court of the ziggurrat. In clearing that sec- 
tion the workmen found a small and much-effaced terra- 
cotta cone of the same form as that of Ashurbanapal de- 
scribed above (p. 461), which originally must have been 
deposited in the upper part of the temple wall. The docu- 

^ Literally ** Foundation, establishment of Merodach." 


nient, inscribed with two columns of old-Babylonian writing 
(twenty-five lines each), and in the Semitic dialect of the 
country, conveys to us the information that Samsu-iluna, 
son and successor of Hammurabi, restored the inner wall 
of Nippur (diiru). We thereby obtain new evidence that 
the kings of the first dyn-'^i^'v did noi '"Ct Bel's 

sanctuary, though their apparent reason tor lortitying the 
temple was less religious than political. Their interest in 
the wall of Nippur seems to be closely connected with their 
operations against the city of (N)isin, which was situated 
not far from the latter,^ and which subsequently became the 
stronghold of Rim-Sin of Larsa. 

As the greater part of the inscription is intelligible and 
of importance for our question, I give it in an F.nglish 
translation. " Samsu-iluna, the powerful king, king of 
Babylon, king of the four quarters of the world. When 
Bel had granted him to rule the four quarters of the 
world and placed their reins into his hand, Samsu-iluna, 
the shepherd who gladdens the heart of Marduk, in the 
sublime power which the great gods had given him, 
in the wisdom of Ka ... he raised the wall {diiru) of 
Bel, which structure his grandfather [Sinmuballit] had 
made higher than before, like a great mountain, surrounded 
it with marshy ground [apparam)^ dug ' the Kuphrates of 
Nippur' [/. ^., cleaned and deepened the river Chebar ; 
comp. pp. 412 seq.l^y and erected the dam of ' the Ku- 
phrates of Nippur' along it. He called the name of 
that wall * Link of the lands ' {MarkaS'matatim)^' caused the 

' Sinmuballit's repairing of the wall of Nippur, which we also learn from 
Samsu-iluna* s cone, was probably mentioned in the mutilated passage of the 
list of dates (** Bu. 91, 5-9, 284 '*), following his conquest of (N)isin. 
Accordingly it would have taken place in one of his last three years, immedi- 
ately before he lost (N)isin and Nippur again to Rim-Sin of I^rsa. Comp. 
Scheil, Coile des Lois de Hammurabi : Nippur, Dur-an (p. 463, above ), Ekur. 

^ I, e.y the wall which unites all the lands (the whole world). It was 
thus called, because the title shar kibrat arba*im, ** king of the four quarters 


population of Shumer and Akkad to dwell in a peaceful 
habitation . . . [and] made the name of Sinmuballit, his 
grandfather, famous in the world." 

From the place where the cone was discovered, from the 
designation of the wall as tiur Bely and from the description 
of the king's work following, it may be inferred with cer- 
tainty that Samsu-iluna has reference to the temple wall. 
This result agrees with the fact that our excavations have 
furnished evidence to the effect that the city proper on the 
west side of the Shatt en-Nil was never fortified bv a 
wall, to say nothing of two walls. On the other hand, 
the double wall which surrounded and protected the sanc- 
tuary from the earliest days can still be traced without 
difficulty, notwithstanding the radical changes which took 
place at the temple complex in post-Babylonian times. 
The Markas-matati of Samsu-iluna and the Imgur-Marduk 
of the later period must therefore designate the same inner 
wall enclosing the two courts of the sanctuary and separat- 
ing them from the other buildings of the vast complex 
which constituted the sacred precincts of Nippur. The 
general course of this wall was indicated through the bound- 
ary line of the Parthian fortress lying directly over it, and 
besides has been fixed definitely at several points bv our 
excavations. We exposed nearly the whole southeast wall 
of the inner court, disclosed part of its northwest wall, and 
traced the two side-walls of the outer court far enough to 
enable us to reconstruct the general outlines of the temple 

Aside from the depression in the unexcavated southeast 
ridge ^ marking the boundary of the outer court, which 

of the world,*' was closely connected with the sanctuary of Nippur, in 
which Bel, as *• the king of the world,'* appointed his human representative 
on earth and bestowed the significant title upon him. Comp. Hilprecht, 
"The Bab. Exp. of the U. of Pa.,'* series A, vol. i, part 2, pp. 56, seq, 
(and part I, pp. 24, /f^. ). 

^ Comp. the plan of the ruins on p. 305. 


doubtless represents the principal entrance of the latter, 
two gates have been found in connection with our explora- 
tions around the stage-tower, the large southeast one, which 
connects the two courts, and another smaller one, which 
leads from the rear of the ziggurrat into the large open 
space to the northwest of the temple. The axis of the rear 
gate, which is nearly seventeen feet distant from the lower 
face of Imgarsagy is in line with the front gate. Though 
only one corner of the former has as yet been uncovered, it 
suffices to show that its construction was similar to the one 
in front of the ziggurrat. 

The southeast wall, which contained the principal gate of 
the temple, exhibits the same general characteristic features 
as the fragment of wall from the time of Gudea, which De 
Sarzec discovered beneath the Seleucidan palace at Tello, 
with the exception that the wall around Ekur was con- 
structed entirely of unbaked material, while the much less 
imposing one of the temple of Ningirsu consisted of baked 
bricks. To judge from the excavated southeast section, 
the interior face of the wall at Nippur, into which a num- 
ber of store-rooms were built, was plain and without any 
ornamentation, while the monotony of the long exterior sur- 
face was relieved by a series of panels.^ On an average these 
panels measured about i6 feet in width, and were separated 
from each other by shallow buttresses projecting one foot 
from the wall, and 9 to lo feet wide. The gate, which occu- 
pied nearly the centre of this wall, was a very elaborate affair, 
considering that its plan and general disposition, similar to 
that of the city gates of the Assyrian kings discovered at 
Khorsabad and Nineveh, go back to the time of Sargon of 
Agade." It was 52 feet long and nearly as wide, and was 

' Comp. the zinctypc, p. 470, above, and ** Ekur, the Temple of Bel '* 
(restored) below. 

■ Traces of a crude brick pavement of the period prior to Ur-Gur were 
discovered at the bottom of the gate walls. In the same proportion as the 


flanked on each side by a pair of tower-like bastions, still 
preserved to a considerable height. They projected sixteen 
feet towards the northwest and about nine feet towards the 
southeast. Like the wall itself, which was 26 feet thick, 
including the storage vaults of the inner court, the front 
faces of these towers were panelled. A kind of vestibule 
marked the entrance of the gate on both sides. By 
means of three stepped recesses projecting from each tower 
these vestibules (14 feet wide) narrowed into the passage- 
way proper, which measured only 6 feet in width. In the 
middle of the gate this passage opened into a long gallery, 
probably serving as a guard-room. The door of the gate 
which closed the opening towards the outer court swung in 
the direction of the eastern section of this gallery, as a socket 
in dolerite imbedded in baked bricks allowed us to infer. 
This stone, though inscribed with the common legend of 
Ur-Gur, did not seem to lie in its original position, but 
apparently had been used over and over, the last time by 
Ashurbanapal, at the level of whose pavement it was found. 
The remains oi Imgur-Marduk were deeply hidden below 
the ruins of later constructions. As regards Nimit-Marduky 
the outer wall of the temple, we find the case somewhat dif- 
ferent. To a considerable extent the course of the ancient 
rampart could still be recognized and traced through a series 
of low ridges lying on the northwest and northeast (II) 
limits of Nuftar. Seen from the top of Bint el-Amir, they 
formed two almost straight lines (more or less interrupted 
by gaps) which originally must have met at an obtuse angle 
in the north (comp. the plan of the ruins, p. 305). In the 
course of the third expedition Haynes had driven two tun- 
floor of the gate was raised by the gradually accumulating dirt and debris, the 
door-sockct was carried higher and higher, so that Ashurbanapal' s cnn^nce 
lies about six feet above that of Ur-Gur, a fact in entire accord with the 
difference of altitude observed between the pavements of the two monarchs 
within the temple enclosure. 


nels through the northeastern ridge (near III), thereby as-