The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser
mounds of Assyria made a deeper impression on me, gave rise to more
serious thoughts and more earnest reflection than the temples of
Balbec, and the theatres of Ionia"
- Austen Henry Layard
Henry Layard and Assyria
A British archaeologist named Austen Henry Layard
was the most famous of the archaeologists who uncovered the ruins of
ancient Assyria. In fact many referred to him as the “Father of
Assyriology". From 1845-1851 he discovered two major capitals of the
Assyrian empire, Nineveh and Calah. Among the ruins were uncovered
the palaces of five Assyrian kings, all five were mentioned by name
in the Bible.
He began excavating at the tell of Nimrud
(ancient Calah) on November 8th, 1845. He discovered the palaces of
Assurnasirpal, Shalmaneser III, Tiglath Pileser, Adadnirari, and
Esarhaddon. The Black Obelisk was found in the palace of Shalmaneser
III. It was an amazing feat to transport the vast statutory to the
British Museum. At Koujunjik in 1849 Layard discovered Sennacherib's
palace, the most notable discoveries were from the siege of Lachish.
He also discovered the great library of Assurbanipal, where there
were excavated over 30,000 cuneiform tablets and clay cylinders. Assurbanipal (668-626 BC) was the last great king of
Assyria, he was a contemporary of Manasseh of Israel and Josiah of Judah. The tablets
had been arranged by topics similar to our modern day libraries.
Baked bricks are durable enough to withstand the ravages of time.
Austen Henry Layard finished his work in April
"These huge mounds of Assyria made a
deeper impression on me, gave rise to more serious thoughts and more
earnest reflection than the temples of Balbec, and the theatres of
Ionia…. A deep mystery hangs over Assyria, Babylonia and Chaldaea….
With these names are linked great nations and great cities dimly
shadowed forth in history; mighty ruins in the midst of deserts,
defying, by their very desolation and lack of definite form, the
description of the traveller; the remnants of the mighty races still
roving over the land; the fulfilling and fulfilment of prophecies;
the plains to which the Jew and the Gentile alike look as the cradle
of their race." - Austen Henry Layard
He died July 5, 1894. His work was followed by his right hand man Rassam,
Taylor, Loftus, and Henry C. Rawlinson and other archaeologists from
Britain, France, Germany and the United States. These and others
excavated hundreds of thousands of tablets and monuments in the
Tigris Euphrates Valley. These marvelous discoveries fill the worlds
biggest museums like the Louvre in France, and the British Museum in
England. Many of the inscriptions are still being deciphered to the
Handwritten letter to Rassam from Layard
Austen Henry Layard in his Old Age
The Black Obelisk
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