Never did the archaeologists expect to find amazing evidence of ancient jewelers and gold jewelry in the ruins of this ancient city. The anticipation was building.
In the 1920’s Leonard Woolley had been given an assignment from the Pennsylvania Museum to do a thorough investigation of the newly discovered ruins of one of the most ancient cities in the world. Ur in Chaldea, modern Iraq, about 70 kms south of Baghdad on the Tigris River.
To his disappointment, most of the ancient ruins had been ransacked by thieves. In the words of Woolley from the book: Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. Woolley gives a summary of the tomb of Queen Puabi.
Evidence of Jewelers and Gold Jewelry in Ur of the Chaldees (modern Iraq)
“In the largest of all the stone-built royal tombs, which had been entered by robbers and most thoroughly plundered, there remained only one corner of the last chamber to be cleared, and we had given up expectation of any ‘finds.’
Suddenly a loose bit of shell inlay turned up, and the next minute the foreman’s hand, carefully brushing away the earth, laid bare the corner of a mosaic in lapis lazuli and shell.” Evidence of jewelers and Gold Jewelry was staring them in the face.
Gold Jewelry dripping from the skeleton of the Princess of Ur
Six hundred burial places were uncovered. One of them was an immensely rich tomb that was dripping with gold jewelry. A woman’s handbag made from gold, containing gold makeup implements.
A gold and silver dagger was also found made from electrum, a mixture of gold and silver alloys.
The dagger had a handle made of a blue stone called lapis lazuli, not unlike the color of blue boulder opal seen at opalmine.com. An intricate Gold Sheath was also discovered.
Precious stones with gold and silver jewelry
23 Servants lost their lives when the princess was buried and signs of their remains were in the tomb. There was a fortune in precious stones such as lapis and carnelian.
The Queen had a gold band wrapped around her head and attached to it was a front-let band of lapis lazuli with beads of carnelian and pendants made from gold bands.
There was another layer of Gold jewelry consisting of gold beaten into the shape of leaves and inlayed with lapis and a white paste. She also had a comb made of gold and small gold roses and a pair of double Crescent shaped (‘Lunate’ or resembling the new moon) gold earrings.
Jewelers and Gold jewelry using beads as fillers, along with other gold implements
Her upper body and headdress had multitudes of small lapis and carnelian beads around her neck and as part of the diadem. Other pottery items had been resting near the walls of the chamber for thousands of years, made of gold and other metals. A gold drinking stray was found as well.
Ancient Jewelers and gold jewelry from that time would not look out of place today
The amazing part about this selection of gold jewelry is that it would not look out of place in the window of a modern ladies department store.
Styles of jewelry come and go, but the metals remain and go on and on, taking different shapes throughout the centuries of time but fitting basically into the same framework of pendants, rings, headdresses, bracelets and various types of clothing and hair attachments.
Ur was the hometown of the famous patriarch, Abraham, and his wife Sarah, who were asked by God to leave the city and travel up through the Mesopotamian valley in the direction of the Jordan River, which they did, after spending time with relatives in Aram to the north.
Thousands of clay tablets have been found, outlining the life and times of people who lived in this era and it has been said that in some cases what happened then has been better documented than other more recent periods of history.
It’s certainly true that those amazingly artistic jewelers and the gold jewelry they created is on a par with what is still being made today. Take a look here to see some of the modern creations from contemporary jewelers not unlike the artisans of the ancient world.