Close of Excavations at Ur

    Abstract

    WITHIN a few days of the publication by the British Museum of the volume reporting on the excavation of the Royal Tombs at Ur, Dr. C. Leonard Woolley in the Times of April 13 announces the close of the brief season's work, and with it the end of the joint expedition of the British Museum and the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania to Mesopotamia. For twelve years this expedition has been engaged in an excavation which has produced results comparable in their far-reaching effect on archaeo-logical studies with the epoch-making discoveries of Sir Arthur Evans in Crete. The results reported by Dr. Woolley in what all will regret to know is his final dispatch in the long series he has contributed to the Times since 1922, form a fitting and impressive climax to what has preceded. The main objective of the season was the discovery of a cemetery of the early Jemdet Nasr period, for which the search, in default of guiding indications, was in the nature of an act of faith. It was abundantly justified by the discovery, after prolonged and strenuous digging, of a stratum of 10 ft. containing burials, in the upper levels of which the characteristically flexed human skeletons were surrounded by large numbers of stone jars in a variety of forms and material. One grave alone contained thirty-three vases. In the upper range the stone vase had entirely ousted that of clay. As Dr. Woolley remarks, it “was a luxury that had become a commonplace”. As Ur stands in a stoneless land and the material had to be brought from either the north of Mesopotamia or from the area of the Persian Gulf, it would be difficult to find a more impressive testimony than this closing discovery to the early accession of Ur to wealth and importance, of which Dr. Woolley's excavations have afforded cumulative evidence year by year.

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