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The German Excavations at Babylon

Nature volume 85, pages 312313 (05 January 1911) | Download Citation



OF all the societies that are engaged in the enormously important scientific work of disinterring the remains of ancient civilisation in the countries of the Near East, probably the most successful, in proportion to the length of time it has been in existence, is the “Deutsch Orient-Gesellschaft.” Here, as in other matters, the German has come late upon the scene, but he has made up for his late appearance, not only by the amount of work he has done, but also by the way he has done it. Armed with ample funds derived from private subscribers, and made conspicuous by the special patronage of the German Emperor, the “Deutsch Orient-Gesellschaft” has carried on, or helped to carry on, excavations in Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor, which have produced results of the highest importance to the archæologist and to the historian of early civilisation. The excavations of the pyramids of Abusir, in Egypt, which date to the time of the Fifth Dynasty, have given us an entirely new idea of the art and religion of Egypt under the “Old Kingdom”; the disinterment of the ancient ruins of Jericho and Megiddo have made us realise better than before what the Canaanite civilisation was like; the discoveries of Dr. Winckler at Boghaz Kyöi have revealed to us a previously unknown period of the history of the Hittites, and those of Dr. Koldewey and Dr. Andrae at Babylon and Kala'at Shergat (Assur) have enabled us to study the actual ruins of the greatest city of the ancient world and of the oldest capital of Assyria.

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