Attribution: UE 2 Plate 273     
Media Type: Map     

Locations: UE 2 Royal Tombs and Death Pits.pdf Export: JSON - XML - CSV

Location Context Title Context Description Description (Modern)
PG/1050 An intricate and problematic grave, the entire complex identified as PG/1050 may in fact belong to several episodes of burial rather than a single grave. At the top was a four-chamber mudbrick construction that contained layers of skeletons and pottery. Beneath these layers, and indeed the mudbrick construction itself, sat a layer of packed earth 70cm thick. Woolley found a pit cut below the packed earth and believed this to be the main grave, believing the construction above to be related to ceremony following the fill of the main grave. The side of the pit stepped in several places, however, and may indicate more than one burial episode even in this portion of PG/1050. At one level sat the remains of a reed coffin, at a deeper level, a wooden one. The wooden coffin rested on a thick prepared surface and beneath part of this lay around 40 bodies, which Woolley took to be the death pit of the royal tomb. He believed there must have been a chamber above and that it had been looted, but could find no evidence of the looter's access and could not fully explain the lack of a chamber. (none)
PG/1054 The grave is a complex one, consisting of a deep, walled shaft above a rubble and earth domed tomb. Woolley believed that the burials in the shaft acted as a kind of death pit, thus he believed the bodies in the shaft to be attendants to the primary burial in the domed chamber below. In the main chamber were the bodies of five people, four men and one woman. The woman was clearly an important person, lying in the center of the tomb and having a gold cylinder seal as well as other high value objects, including much carnelian. The walls of the shaft above began from a layer packed over the domed chamber and in theory could be a different grave entirely. However, Woolley believed he had evidence of a continuous process that included the packing and smoothing of layers above the dome and then the construction of the shaft. In the shaft, at differing levels, were four more burials. Some of these also possessed rather high-end objects and one had nearby a cylinder seal with the name of Meskalamdug, the King. In his section of PG1054, Woolley reconstructed a dome over this grave, but later intrusive burials had destroyed the upper walls and, if it had been there, the upper, smaller dome as well. (none)
PG/1157 PG/1157 is a "death pit of the poorer sort" (UE2 p.168) but Woolley was uncertain whether to connect PG/1151 and PG/1156 above it into a single royal grave of the sort of complicated structure seen in PG/1050 and PG/1054. Both PG/1151 and PG/1156 were coffin burials with minor high-end materials and the PG/1151 coffin had a lyre leaning against it (recovered in plaster). Beneath the coffins was a shaft filled with plano-convex bricks. At its base was a layer of pottery and then 58 skeletons. Woolley could identify no chamber with this death pit and proposed that it had been destroyed; he eventually decided the two coffins above were likely to be intrusive and unrelated to PG/1157 but published them together. (none)
PG/1232 This death pit is so near PG/1237 and at almost the same depth that Woolley wondered if the two might actually be one. There is a partial mudbrick wall separating the two that may have been placed to wall off an earlier grave struck by the later, however. Because he could find no tomb chamber associated with PG/1232, Woolley was inclined to place it with PG/1237, but that death pit has no chamber either and they likely are two separate graves. Which is the oldest is difficult to ascertain from the evidence. PG/1232 seems mostly to have contained animals, i.e. oxen and a cart, but it was badly preserved and in a similarly disturbed state to the likes of PG/580, which also had few identifiable human remains and no discernible chamber. (none)
PG/1236 A large stone-built chamber (limestone rubble) with 4 inner rooms. In this it is very similar to the layout of PG/779. A looter's hole had caused a collapse at one end and much damage throughout the tomb, but architecturally this large chamber was better preserved than many others. Contents, however, were meager owing to ancient looters. Woolley believed this had been the tomb of a king, with attendants in some of the chambers. He traced the side of the pit more than 7 meters above the chamber and believed that a mud brick building above that had been a kind of chapel for rituals after the burial. (none)
PG/1237 Woolley called this the 'Great Death Pit' because it is the largest of all the death pits in the royal cemetery. He found 74 bodies within but did not find a built chamber, an aspect he believed essential to royal tombs. Woolley declared the chamber must have been completely looted away and pointed to small amounts of rubble as evidence of this, but in fact the large size of this death pit and the particular wealth displayed by Body 61 may indicate that the primary burial was among the attendants in this case. (none)
PG/1332 This grave was essentially two superimposed death pits as it consists of two layers of approximately 20 bodies each about 1 meter apart in depth. Woolley believed they constituted one burial episode but could not completely trace the sides of the pit as parts were badly disturbed and condition in general was not good. No tomb chamber was discovered and Woolley suggested it had been completely destroyed but it is possible that none ever existed and perhaps even that each death pit represents a separate burial event. (none)
PG/1618 This grave consisted of a large wooden coffin in which lay the remains of a man wearing four 'brim' headbands. Remains of another headdress on what Woolley believed was a decayed wig were also found in the coffin. Outside the coffin were offerings and four skeletons in what constituted a small death pit. In many ways this grave resembles PG/755 and PG/1422, neither of which was identified as 'royal' because in those cases there was no evidence of additional bodies. (none)
PG/1631 One of the smallest of the royal tombs, this grave had been almost completely looted. It consisted mostly of the remains of a rubble-built chamber that had originally been vaulted. The disturbed skeleton of one person was still inside but small space outside the chamber entrance held very little. Woolley presumed this would have held the remains of the attendants to the royal burial, though the space is small and it would have held only a few. Nonetheless, there was no remaining evidence of the human sacrifice that was so vital to his definition of a tomb as 'royal'. (none)
PG/1648 One of the smallest of the royal tombs, like PG/1631 it consisted of a built chamber with a small space outside the door. Inside the chamber was a wooden coffin containing a single skeleton. Outside the coffin but still inside the chamber were three other skeletons. The small space outside the chamber contained offerings and animal bones. (none)
PG/777 A built chamber tomb with a collapsed dome, it had been robbed in antiquity but some artifacts remained along the walls. The collapsed roof of this tomb was first seen in Trial Trench E but the grave was fully excavated after the trial trenches had been opened into a larger area. This led to the discovery of a small trenched area next to the chamber that contained three skeletons, and an approach or dromos that contained another. These Woolley took to be the guards of the tomb in a small 'death pit'. There were two chambers inside the tomb, and the outer held the remains of four more people, possibly servants, while the inner may have held the royal personage. (none)
PG/779 A large, stone built chamber with four rooms. There was no clear death pit, though Woolley suggested that the upper shaft may once have contained structures or other burials. The multiple rooms inside the large chamber, however, served the purpose of a death pit in many ways as there would have been multiple burials within. The two central chambers had been badly damaged in the collapse of the roof and the tomb had been plundered in antiquity. This means that the true number of attendants cannot be known and any royal personage cannot be identified, but the few artifacts inside and the size of the chamber attribute to it having been important.Indeed, this was the location of the so-called 'Royal Standard of Ur'. (none)
PG/789 Woolley called this the 'King's Grave' because of its elaborate death pit that included many weapons. The main chamber, however, had been looted, leaving only a few scattered remains. The death pit contained the remains of more than 60 people, six of whom wore helmets and stood at the dromos/entrance as if to guard it. (none)
PG/800 This is the death pit that Woolley associated with the tomb chamber of Queen Puabi (PG/800B), though the floor of that chamber is about 2.5 meters lower in depth. The death pit held the remains of more than 20 people as well two oxen, a cart and a potential wardrobe chest. Woolley believed the wardrobe chest had been centrally placed in order to hide the looting hole made into the roof of the PG/789 chamber below. (none)
PG/337 The earliest of the royal graves found, it was identified as such after the criteria for royal graves was established. This grave appeared in Trial Trench E and was not well mapped, but reportedly contained remains of a mudbrick wall that Woolley later interpreted as the destroyed tomb chamber associated with a death pit. (none)
PG/580 This grave was cut by Trial Trench E at the end of one season and excavation was not completed until the following season. It was a time when Woolley was only just recognizing the royal graves as a separate type in the cemetery. The wealth of objects uncovered here led him to suspect it was 'royal' but there were many problems with the condition of the grave and the circumstances of excavation that have led to confusion. After this discovery, Woolley decided to abandon the trial trench method and open the entire cemetery area. He also began to map individual graves. (none)
  • 16 Locations