Season 4

The fourth season at Ur led by Sir Leonard Woolley.  1925-1926

Objects: 04: 1925-1926 Export: JSON - XML - CSV

Object U Number Museum Number (UPM Date Reg Number) Museum Number (BM Registration Number) Museum Number (UPM B-number) Description (Catalog Card)
(none) (none) 1927,0527.125 (none) (none)
(none) (none) 1927,0527.110 (none) (none)
(none) (none) (none) B16429 U number not assigned in field
(none) (none) (none) B16426 (none)
(none) (none) (none) B16657 (none)
(none) (none) (none) (none) (none)
(none) (none) (none) (none) (none)
6001 (none) (none) (none) Rectangular label. Black steatite. Inscribed with text in 6 vertical columns on side, 8 on other. Pierced vertices. Dated Shilgi year 36 (=48). Basket of tablets: barley issued from the wood-store; cash from the income office, barley balance presented to the farmer; sesame seed; thread; dates brought in and balance of interest. There are 11 clay tablets, 1 total of gifts. The 13th month after the building of Duramati. H.C. In text: 9h3 [drawing 1:1]
6002 (none) (none) B16287 Cylinder seal. Grey steatite. Below, figure Gilgamesh? prostrate above, offering to Ea, heraldic animals, etc. c. BC 2300. ? Brick. VII
6003 (none) (none) (none) Cylinder seal. White shell. Human figure, animals and inscription. Inscription(?) [reference to drawing] Perhaps: Lugal = king?
6004 (none) 1927,0527.185 (none) Cylinder seal. Half of light pink marble row of human figures with small animals between and above. Sun god defeating his enemy. About BC 2600.
6005 (none) (none) (none) Cylinder seal. Black and brown pebble diorite much worn; design practically lost. B
6006 (none) (none) (none) Bead. Roughly cylindrical black diorite inscribed - Cut out of cylinder seal. B.
6007 (none) 1927,0527.43 (none) Duck weight grey steatite head and tail slightly chipped. Type VI.
6008 (none) (none) (none) Duck weight. Black hematite.
6009 (none) (none) B16359 Pin. Bone. Square in section with knob head. [drawing 1:1]
6010 (none) (none) (none) Weight? Ovoid, flattened on one side, of grey pebble. Type I.
6011 (none) 1927,0527.54 (none) Weight? Black diorite egg-shaped with sharply pointed end. Type I? [drawing 1:1]
6012 (none) (none) (none) Pin holder? Metal bronze. Triangular. Rounded at top and base. [drawing 1:1]
6013 (none) (none) (none) Baked brick game board square incisions on one face. Design scratched in after baking. [design 1:2]
6014 (none) (none) (none) Clay vase. Part of rim and upper portion of pot broken. Type XX. B31. =1L.81
6015 (none) (none) (none) Clay vase. Rim broken in two places. Type XIX =1L.115
6016 (none) (none) (none) Clay vase. Broken. Type XX variant. Not used. Vol.VII.
6017 (none) (none) B16387 8 shaped colored beads, including crescent shaped agate pendant, shell and carnelian.
6018A (none) (none) (none) [A-L] 12 knucklebones.

Locations: 04: 1925-1926 Export: JSON - XML - CSV

Location Context Title Context Description Description (Modern)
DP The excavation area abbreviation DP probably stands for Dungi's Palace; Woolley believed the building with bricks marked e-hur-sag (thought to refer to Shulgi's palace) was too small to be what should be a grandiose building. Thus, he explored the area southeast of the giparu extensively looking for it. Most of his abbreviations for excavations in this area refer to the potential palace. When he found cylinders inscribed with the name of Shulgi beneath a partly ruined floor (excavation area abbreviation DT in the northwestern portion of area EH), he thought he might have found it or at least indications of it. This building turned out to be a temple dedicated to Dimtabba (now read Nimintabba) and its very partial remains extended beyond the line of the Neo-Babylonian temenos wall to the west. Woolley continued to dig into this western area under a new excavation abbreviation, DP. This area did not reveal a palace or additional ruins of the Nimintabba temple, but instead it showed denuded domestic space related to Hall's Area A excavations. Area DP became the northern portion of area EM, but only partial houses are shown here along what Woolley termed Quality Lane. The houses here were never published in great detail, but many of the DP graves appear on the area EM map as falling along Quality Lane. (none)
EH Site | EH Area EH is located within the Neo-Babylonian temenos wall south of the giparu. There are many other area designations given to parts of this space (such as DP and LR), but EH overall refers to the interior extent of the SW temenos wall from the south corner almost to the Nebuchadnezzar gate and extending east to the line of Pit F. Walls in the area were scattered and difficult to follow, so Woolley established a grid covering at least 55x100 meters in 5x5 squares. The grid is not well documented but publication shows that Woolley began numbers to the east, increasing to the west, and letters to the south, increasing to the north; square 1,A therefore sits in the SE corner -- 11,T in the NW. The abbreviation EH stands for E-Hur-sag but the building of that name does not lie within this excavation zone. Woolley did not believe that the building to the east of this area (partially dug by H.R. Hall in 1919) was the e-hur-sag, the palace of Shulgi, despite bricks with the inscription of the building being found there. Instead he called that building Hall's Temple (HT) and sought the palace in many other places inside the temenos. He eventually conceded that HT was indeed the e-hur-sag and published EH without reference to the abbreviation's original meaning. The area Woolley called EH was the area Hall called the 'tomb mound' because it was relatively high ground in which he found a number of graves. Woolley showed that these were the remains of graves beneath the floors of houses dating from the Isin-Larsa to Kassite periods. EH in this time was likely an extension of the domestic area EM. In the Ur III period there appear to have been larger public buildings here, but their remains were spotty at best. Tablets from this area and area EM show that the residents of the domestic quarter in the Isin-Larsa/Old Babylonian period were likely temple workers. (none)
Nimintabba Temple | DT The abbreviation DT stands for Dungi's Temple or Dimtabba Temple and this abbreviation is found within the larger EH excavation area; Woolley discovered cylinders inscribed with the name of Shulgi beneath a partly ruined floor in area EH and assigned the building it was associated with an excavation abbreviation of its own. The building's walls were almost completely destroyed, however, and thus were difficult to follow. They lay in the northwestern portion of area EH and originally defined a temple dedicated to the god Nimintabba (Woolley initially read the name as Dim-Tab-Ba). The ephemeral remains of the temple stretched underneath and beyond the Neo-Babylonian temenos wall and Woolley expanded excavation in search of the rest, but little more of the temple was found. The westward expansion of the excavation beyond the temenos wall became excavation area abbreviation DP. (none)
Ehursag | HT The excavation area abbreviation HT stands for Hall's Temple because H.R. Hall had excavated parts of it in 1919. Hall called it Area (or Building) B and he found inscribed bricks in the paved floors of the building which indicated it was the ehursag, the house of the mountain, which was purported to be Shulgi's palace. Woolley, in his first season, found inscribed bricks in the walls that mentioned Ur-Namma's temple of the moon god, and he concluded the building was actually a temple, dubbing the excavation area HT. He believed the actual ehursag palace to be located somewhere else within the temenos. Many of his subsequent excavation abbreviations attest to his search for the building, but he eventually agreed that HT was the ehursag itself. In his fourth season, Woolley cleared the remaining extents of the building. He had already explored parts of the terrace wall on which it stood and came to find that this was part of the Ur III temenos wall. Along this wall near the ehursag Woolley found a deep well, at the bottom of which (13 meters down) were many inscribed clay cones. (none)
Giparu | KP The excavation area given the abbreviation KP was eventually found to be the site of the ancient building known as the giparu (alternatively e-gig-par or gig-par-ku). Mostly dedicated to the goddess Nin-gal, Nanna's consort, it was also in various periods the residence of the entu priestess. The abbreviation KP, however, stands for King's Palace because Woolley initially thought this might be the site of Shulgi's palace, the ehursag. The giparu was a very long-lived building, though it underwent many changes over many centuries. Most striking were the changes in the Neo-Babylonian period when Woolley shows it combining with the dublalmah to the east. He believed that by this point the building was not sufficient to house the Ningal temple and the entu priestess together, and thus the so-called Palace of Belshaltinannar was constructed outside the temenos specifically to house the priestess herself. At times Woolley refers to the giparu as the Great Ningal Temple, which can be confusing as the Kassite and Neo-Bablyonian Ningal temples had moved onto the ziggurat terrace to the north of the giparu (Area HD). Furthermore, parts of the giparu were excavated under area abbreviations other than KP in season 3 when the full extents of the building were only just coming to light. The northern portion originally carried the abbreviation HDB and the southeastern portion, SF. (none)
KPS Site | KPS This excavation area was designated Kings Palace South (KPS) because it explored walls that were south of the main giparu building (KP). Some of these late walls cut into earlier levels of the giparu in its southern portion. The walls were found to be of patchwork domestic structures, two houses (A to the south and B to the north) separated by a street (scanty remains of a House C were also found). They were formed mostly of broken and reused bricks of the Larsa/Old Babylonian period and probably dated to the Kassite period, repaired and reused into the Neo-Babylonian. Beneath these walls were found indications of the earlier Temenos wall and various artifacts of the Early Dynastic period. The excavation area overall included part of the Neo-Babylonian temenos wall to the west, the part that contained the Nebuchadnezzar gate where inscribed bricks of this king were uncovered in foundation boxes. It stretched southward to the edge of the excavation areas called EH and DP. (none)
SM The meaning of this excavation area abbreviation is not clear, but its location is known to be immediately southeast of the giparu (KP) extending to the ehursag (HT) in the east. Badly preserved remains of a building were found here, distinct from the giparu. On a tentative reconstruction of the ground plan, Woolley suggests the original structure measured some 35x40 meters. The building remains date to the Isin-Larsa/Old Babylonian period and many small tablets recording business transactions were found within. T.C. Mitchell, editing the UE 7 volume published after Woolley's death, notes that many of these tablets actually date to the reigns of Shulgi and Amar-Sin. According to Woolley, some of the tablets were twisted together as if in the process of being recycled to reuse their clay for new tablets. He also suggests, very tentatively and based only on a few minor and out-of-place bricks, that this building was originally a temple to Nin-Ezen. (none)
TTC TTC is shorthand for Trial Trench C, a trench dug in season 4 to explore a low-lying part of the temenos zone not yet excavated (later extended as area FH). The trench was never mapped, few artifacts were recorded from it and it does not appear in publication. Locating it relies on the few catalog cards that mention it and on an aerial photo from 1926. Catalog card references mention the "back of Hall's excavation" and "alongside mud brick wall running NE by SW, S of EgigPar and parallel with Temenos wall." South of the giparu there is no good candidate for the wall mentioned, but south of the ehursag there is and it is likely that egigpar was written when ehursag was intended. Furthermore, the area known as FH shows that the 'Front of Hall's excavation' was north-northwest of this building. Therefore, TTC at the 'back of Hall's excavation' should be south-southeast. The aerial photo shows a trench about 3.5 meters wide and 30 meters long that sits east-southeast of the ehursag and is very likely to be TTC. The only other possible candidate is a trench almost exactly the same size located southwest of the giparu, north of area EM. This trench, however, is mentioned in a season three field report (not given any abbreviation) as an exploration of an area to be dug the following season (area EM). Since that trench was dug in the season before artifacts are recorded as coming from TTC, the only trench that could be TTC is the one near area HT (ehursag). (none)
  • Page
  • 1
  • 8 Locations

Media: 04: 1925-1926 Export: JSON - XML - CSV

Media Media Title Title Label Author Omeka Label
Season 4 Field Report Season 4 Field Report (none) Woolley, Leonard (none)
  • Page
  • 1
  • 1 Media

People: 04: 1925-1926 Export: JSON - XML - CSV

People Full Name Biography
Algernon Stuart Whitburn Responsible for the ground plans of the Nannar courtyard and details of the northwest terrace, Algernon (known as Algy) Whitburn worked as archaeological architect at Ur from 1925 to 1930. He had enlisted in the Surrey Yeomanry at the start of the First World War, and was gazetted a Second Lieutenant in June 1915. Badly wounded at Vimy Ridge in 1916, Whitburn spent two years in hospital, and thereafter walked with a limp. After the War, he resumed his training as an architect. He was recommended to Woolley by the head of the firm for which he worked, who was a friend of Leonard Woolley. Whitburn replaced F.G. Newton, who had been the first archaeological architect at Ur from 1922. He began work at Ur at the same time as Max Mallowan and the two men became lifelong friends. There is a copy of a letter from Mallowan to Whitburn telling him of his marriage to Agatha Christie in 1930 before it became public knowledge. Despite his injury which caused him much discomfort, Whitburn had a great sense of humour and a store of funny stories. Woolley described him in a letter to Sir Frederic Kenyon, the Chairman of the Trustees at the British Museum, as “…irrepressibly talkative, amazingly self-centred, very good-hearted with a somewhat vulgar manner … I like him and his work is really valuable”. There are in the Ur archive a number of photographs of Algy Whitburn, often striking a pose or playing a joke on other members of the expedition. There is a Christmas card to Whitburn written by Katharine Woolley in 1927 and also a poem written by her on receipt of a box of marrons glacés sent by Whitburn for Christmas 1928 concluding with the stanza: “But we finished the marrons and voted them fine And drank Whitburn’s health in a bottle of wine Which the exiles agreed without any demur Was no more than his due who sent marrons to UR.”
Charles Leonard Woolley Prominent British archaeologist whose excavation work includes digs at Roman Corbridge, Carchemish for the British Museum, Ur, and Al Mina and Tell Atchana in Syria. Knighted in 1935 for his contributions to the discipline of archaeology. , Trained as an archaeologist at Oxford University and excavated in Roman Britain (Corbridge) briefly, then in the Sudan under British-born American archaeologist David Randall-MacIver, who was a curator at the Penn Museum. Woolley then conducted excavations at Carchemish near the current Syrian/Turkish border from 1911-1914. In World War I, Woolley's knowledge of the Middle East was extremely valuable and he worked for British Intelligence. Even before the War he was essentially spying on the German railroad that was under construction near Carchemish (the Berlin-Baghdad Railway). Relatively early in the war, however, Woolley was captured and spent two years in a Turkish POW camp. Woolley was chosen to lead the expedition to Ur as early as 1920 when the two museums began to discuss the details of a joint excavation. He began work at the site late in 1922 and completed excavations in 1934, working long hours and accomplishing a great deal. He was knighted in 1935 for his work at Ur. He went on to run excavations at Al Mina and Alalakh in Syria. In his lifetime he gave many lectures and wrote many articles and books but never held an academic position. He died in 1960 and was lauded by generations of scholars around the world for his contributions to the field of archaeology., Leonard Woolley was the third of eleven children of a Church of England clergyman, George Herbert Woolley, and his wife Sarah. He attended St John’s, Leatherhead, and New College, Oxford where he studied Classics and theology. It was the warden of New College, W.A. Spooner, who advised him to take up archaeology after graduation. In 1905 Woolley was appointed assistant to Arthur Evans, Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum, in Oxford. Woolley’s early career took him to Nubia in 1907–11, and after that he went as director of the Carchemish expedition sponsored by the British Museum. One of his assistants was T.E. Lawrence (better known as “Lawrence of Arabia”). Woolley and Lawrence collaborated in assisting the Palestine Exploration Fund in its programme of making a definitive map of the Holy Land. This work was published in 1915 as The Wilderness of Zin. After the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Woolley was posted to Cairo where he acted as an intelligence officer. He was promoted to the rank of major in 1916 before being captured by the Turks and imprisoned at Kastamonu. He tried to return to Carchemish after the War but the political situation was too unsettled. In 1921, he excavated at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt with T.E. Peet, sponsored by the Egypt Exploration Society. In 1922, Woolley was made director of a joint expedition at Ur funded by the British Museum and The University of Pennsylvania Museum. It is with this site that his name will always be associated. He spent twelve years there, until 1934. Within two years of his arrival, Gertrude Bell had established the Iraq Museum in Baghdad which had a statutory right to first choice of all objects excavated. So rich were the finds from the site, however, especially from the Royal Cemetery, that both the British Museum and Penn Museum also contain fabulous objects from Ur in their collections. Woolley’s strengths were his painstaking approach to excavation; for example, excavation of the Royal Cemetery was delayed until he believed his local workforce was sufficiently well-trained to tackle the intricate disclosure of these opulent tombs. He also monitored and instructed his own staff, in particular Max Mallowan who early on acquired the habit of keeping careful field notes, making drawings, preparing monthly reports for sponsors, and most important, publishing in full each season’s work and finds as soon as possible after the season’s end. Woolley had a way with words and both his non-specialist books and lantern slide lectures were very popular with the public. His weakness was a familiarity with the Old Testament which led to unfounded connections between it and the work in hand, as for example, his belief that Ur was the birthplace of Abraham. Woolley also believed he had found evidence of The Flood. After Ur, Woolley moved to Tell Atchana in northern Syria, digging there before the War in 1937–39, and after it, from 1946¬–49. He was knighted for his services to archaeology in 1935. During the Second World War, Woolley worked for the Military Intelligence Directorate to assess and protect art and museum collections throughout Europe. He reported to Winston Churchill personally. In this work he was most ably assisted by his wife Katharine. After Katharine’s death and the end of his active archaeological career at Atchana, Woolley retired to Ashford in Kent. After an unsuccessful relationship, he retired to Dorset where he was looked after by a devoted housekeeper and her husband, thus enabling him to write up his archaeological work.
Iraqi Workers (none)
Katharine Elizabeth (Menke) (Keeling) Woolley Born to German parents in England, Katharine Menke studied history at Somerville College. She did not complete a degree due to health problems, and her health continued to give her trouble throughout her life. In fact, there are many indications that she suffered from a condition known as complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, though her life is somewhat mysterious as she had all of her papers burned on her death. She married Colonel Bertram Keeling in 1919, but he died later that same year. The widowed Mrs. Keeling joined Woolley's excavation at Ur as an artist in 1925. A young single woman on the dig stirred controversy; particularly among the Trustees at Penn. Woolley solved the problem by marrying her in 1927. Most descriptions of her say she was charming but also rather cold and manipulative. Nevertheless, she was a talented artist and very capable as an archaeologist. She came to be the primary assistant to Woolley's excavations in the final Ur excavation years, after Mallowan left in 1931. Agatha Christie is said to have styled the murder victim in her book Murder in Mesopotamia after Katharine Woolley., Katharine Menke was born in Birmingham to German parents. Her father, Carl Menke, was a well-to-do general merchant who later became the German and Swiss Consul in Birmingham. Katharine attended a grammar school in Birmingham and then went up to Somerville College, Oxford, to read Modern History, but ill health forced her to leave before she had taken her degree. Despite difficulties with her German parentage, she joined the Red Cross in 1915 and was shortly posted to Alexandria where she worked in one of the large field hospitals. At the end of the First World War, she went to Poland to a former concentration camp housing some 7000 Bolshevik troops being detained in terrible conditions. Menke returned to London in 1919 when she met her first husband, Bertram Francis Eardley Keeling OBE, MC, RE. They married in March 1919. In September 1919, shortly after their arrival in Cairo where Keeling was Director-General of the Survey of Egypt and President of the Cotton Research Board, her husband committed suicide. Katharine Keeling travelled to Baghdad in 1924 with a letter of introduction to Gertrude Bell. She was staying with Lt.Col. J.R. Tainsh, Director of the Iraq State Railways, and his wife. They had taken Katharine to see the excavations at Ur, where she impressed Leonard Woolley with her ability to draw accurately some of the objects emerging from the excavations. Mainly because of this, but also because Woolley had succumbed to her undoubted charm of manner and appearance, he invited her to make a long stay during 1925, and then offered her a post as volunteer at Ur. Her official period as artist to the expedition began in the spring of 1926 when Mallowan helped extend the expedition house at Ur to include a bathroom for her use. The first mention of a payment to “K.K.” for £51.172.3d appears on the accounts at the end of the 1925/1926 season. She continued until the excavations closed in 1934. Katharine married Woolley in April 1927, mainly because George Gordon, the Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum at Philadelphia, insisted that a situation in which a single woman was living in the expedition house with single men was untenable. A letter from Woolley to a legal representative in 1928 makes it clear that the marriage remained unconsummated but its threat to seek an annulment was never implemented. The Woolleys remained married and there is no doubt that Katharine’s contributions to Woolley’s excavations greatly enhanced his career. During the Second World War, Woolley worked closely with Winston Churchill and the Military Intelligence Directorate to monitor Nazi looting of European museums, art collections and royal archives. In this work, Katharine supplied invaluable assistance. Churchill had the Woolleys moved to the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane in October 1943, and it was there, in November 1945 that Katharine died. Her death certificate put multiple sclerosis (from which she had suffered for over a decade) as the cause of her death.
Leon Legrain Father Legrain was born in France, ordained as a priest there in 1904, and studied at the Catholic University of Lille and at the Collegium Appolinare in Rome. Assyriology professor at the Catholic Institute in Paris until WWI, he was then an interpreter in the war. He became curator of the Babylonian Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum in 1920 and retired in 1952. A specialist in cuneiform, he was the epigraphist at Ur during the 1924-25 and 1925-26 field seasons. He published widely on texts and engraved seals, both in his time before the Penn Museum and after. He published seals and sealings from Ur (Ur Excavations volume 10), some of the tablets (Ur Excavations Texts volume 3) and was slated to publish a volume on the figurines from the site. His research and even an unpublished catalogue for this volume are in archives at the Penn Museum and now available on this website. Even after his two years at the site of Ur, Legrain played an integral role in the excavations. Not only did he research, publish, and display artifacts in the Penn Museum, but he was also the Museum's representative in the division of objects from Ur conducted almost every year in London. Legrain's letters about this process are very interesting, often in a more personal tone than Woolley's. In fact, many of his colleagues declared that Legrain was particularly entertaining and jovial, if cynical. His photographs at Ur are some of the only images we have of daily life, with many pictures of local Iraqis.
Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan Apprentice to Woolley during the Ur excavations, going on to excavate at Nineveh and direct excavations at Tell Arpachiyah, and the sites of Chagar Bazar and Tell Brak in Syria., Studied Classics at Oxford University and became general assistant to Leonard Woolley at Ur in 1925, having no prior field experience. He spent six seasons at Ur, gaining increasing knowledge of the field. In 1931 he left Ur to work with Reginald Campbell Thompson in northern Iraq and quickly moved on to head his own excavations in Syria at Tell Arpachiyah, Chagar Bazar, and then Tell Brak. Despite his many contributions to the field of archaeology, he is perhaps best known for having married the famous mystery writer, Agatha Christie, becoming her second husband in 1930. Mallowan was knighted in 1968 for his contributions to archaeology. He wrote many books and articles in his lifetime, including portions of the Ur Excavation series. He became professor of archaeology at London University in 1947 and died in 1978. , Max Mallowan was engaged as junior field archaeologist at Ur by Leonard Woolley between 1925 and 1931. He had just graduated from Oxford with a degree in Classical Greats but with no idea of a future career. A chance encounter led to his interview with Woolley at the British Museum, and his subsequent appointment. Ever careful not to squander funds, Woolley organised a free passage for his young assistant as a seaman on an oil tanker sailing from London to Port Said. At Beirut, Mallowan met Algy Whitburn and the two travelled together overland to Ur Junction where they met Woolley at the somewhat sparse expedition house. Woolley made it abundantly clear that they were there to work and he himself set a punishing schedule. The young men were expected to be on site half an hour after sunrise and to work until well after dinner writing up the day’s finds. Mallowan was lucky to have Woolley as his mentor. Not only did he instruct Mallowan in the rudiments of archaeology, but he also impressed upon him the importance of keeping precise daily field notes of all work going on, and also the necessity to publish that work, and especially any particularly interesting finds in order to inspire future sponsors. Woolley also insisted that Mallowan learn Arabic so that he could communicate with the workforce, which numbered between 200 and 250 men. That first season, Mallowan also kept the pay book, acted as untrained medical assistant, showed visitors round the site, and helped to build a new wing on to the expedition house. This extension was for the benefit of Katharine Keeling, an unpaid volunteer whom Woolley had engaged to do all the drawing of objects found on the site, and to whom Woolley was singularly attached. Mallowan resigned from his role at Ur after his marriage to Agatha Christie in 1930, because Katharine Woolley (she had married Woolley in 1927) insisted that there was room for only one woman at Ur. After Ur, Mallowan dug for one season at Nineveh with Reginald Campbell-Thompson, and thereafter conducted his own digs. In the years leading up to the Second World War, he excavated at Arpachiyah, Chagar Bazar and Tell Brak, as well as conducting a survey of the Khabur Valley. After the War, as Professor of Western Asiatic Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, he excavated at Nimrud (1949–1957) before handing over to David Oates. After Agatha Christie’s death in 1976 he remarried Barbara Parker, his epigraphist at Nimrud.
Sheikh Hamoudi Ibn Ibrahim Little is known about Hamoudi’s origins. Even his dates of birth and death are unknown. He is first known from the Carchemish excavations before the First World War, where he was in charge of organising and controlling the expedition workforce. Hamoudi also made himself indispensable in other ways, including administering medicine, and is credited with saving Lawrence’s life when he contracted typhoid fever. In June 1913, Lawrence and Woolley took Hamoudi to England, and they visited Oxford. The visit left a deep impression on Hamoudi. In 1914, Woolley and Lawrence shut down the site at Carchemish and both men were soon involved in military concerns. Woolley returned to Carchemish in 1919–20, but was unable to resume excavation because of the political situation. When Woolley was appointed Director of the joint British Museum/University of Pennsylvania Museum expedition to Ur in 1922, Hamoudi was appointed foreman. Described then as an elderly man, he brought with him two sons who worked under their father in organising the workforce. There are several photographs of Hamoudi at Ur, including some which show him in the same line as the Woolleys and the rest of the team. He was clearly a much-valued member of that team. At the start of every season, he would meet Woolley in Baghdad to discuss the ordering of stores of food and excavation essentials, then arrange for their transport to Ur. He also took instructions about work to be carried out to the expedition house before Woolley and his wife arrived. Mallowan frequently mentioned Hamoudi in a diary kept during 1925 and 1926. In October 1926 he reports buying presents (“sundry decorative articles”) in Paris on his way to Ur for Hamoudi and his (by then) three sons working at Ur: Yahia, Ibrahim and Isa. Undergoing an emotional crisis after the death of one of his closest friends, Mallowan “went to talk things over with Hamoudi, that tower of philosophy”. Hamoudi went on to be part of Mallowan’s digs in northern Syria at Chagar Bazar and Tell Brak. Agatha (Christie) related how he and two of his sons reported for duty at 5 a.m. while the Mallowans were still fast asleep in their hotel room. In 1949, when Mallowan was about to begin excavating at Nimrud, he found that Hamoudi had been awarded the King’s Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom (KMS) for his services to British interests during the War. How long after this Hamoudi died is not recorded. Katharine Woolley made a bronze head of Hamoudi, which was once in the collection of the Horniman Museum, but the Museum does not have it now, and have no recollection of what happened to it. It was much admired at the time and considered to have been a good likeness.
Yahia ibn Hamoudi Hamoudi's eldest son; acted as junior foreman, clerk, and staff photographer
  • Page
  • 1
  • 8 People