People - Ancient Near East: Pu-Abi
Ancient Near East
Pu-Abi in Wikipedia
Puabi (Akkadian: "Word of my father"), also called Shubad in Sumerian, was an important personage in the Sumerian city of Ur, during the First Dynasty of Ur (c.2600 BCE).
Commonly labeled as a "queen", her status is somewhat in dispute. Several cylinder seals in her tomb identify her by the title "nin", a Sumerian word which can denote a queen or a priestess.
The fact that Puabi, herself a Semitic Akkadian, was an important figure among Sumerians, indicates a high degree of cultural exchange and influence between the ancient Sumerians and their Semitic neighbors.
British archaeologist Leonard Woolley discovered the tomb of Puabi, which was excavated by his team along with some 1800 other graves at the "Royal Cemetery of Ur" between 1922 and 1934. Puabi's tomb was nearly unique among the other excavations; not only because of the large amount of high quality and well-preserved grave goods, but also because her tomb had been untouched by looters through the millennia.
She was also buried with five soldiers and 13 "ladies in waiting" — retainers who had apparently poisoned themselves (or had been poisoned by others) to serve their mistress in the next world. The amount of grave goods that Woolley uncovered in Puabi's tomb was staggering: a magnificent, if heavy, golden headdress made of golden leaves, rings, and plates; a superb lyre (see Lyres of Ur), complete with the golden and lapis-lazuli encrusted bearded bulls head; a profusion of gold tableware; golden, carnelian, and lapis lazuli cylindrical beads for extravagant necklaces and belts; a chariot adorned with lioness' heads in silver, and an abundance of silver, lapis lazuli, and golden rings and bracelets.
The excavated treasures from Woolley's expedition were divided between the British Museum in London, the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the National Museum in Baghdad. Several pieces were looted from the National Museum in the aftermath of the Second Gulf War in 2003. Recently, several of the more spectacular pieces from Puabi's grave have been the feature of a highly successful Art and History Museum tour through the United Kingdom and America.
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