Season 9

The ninth season at Ur led by Sir Leonard Woolley.  1930-1931.

Objects: 09: 1930-1931 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) 1930,1213.194 (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-507 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 32-40-304 (none) (none) [Unknown]
(none) (none) (none) (none) [Unknown]
(none) 31-16-204 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-535 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-502 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-562 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-563.1 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-563.2 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-563.3 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-532 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-534 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-538 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-539 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-554 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-540 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-496 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-495 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-531 (none) (none) (none)
(none) 31-43-476 (none) (none) (none)
(none) (none) 1931,1010.384 (none) (none)
(none) (none) 1931,1010.392 (none) (none)
(none) (none) 1931,1010.467 (none) (none)
(none) (none) 1931,1010.472 (none) (none)

Locations: 09: 1930-1931 Export: JSON - XML - CSV

Location Context Title Context Description Description (Modern)
House I Excavation house designation on the southeast side of Straight Street (originally called Division Street as it divided the first excavation house designations I, II, and III). This unit covered published houses No.2 and No. 4 Straight Street. (none)
House II Excavation house designation on the northwest side of Straight Street (originally called Division Street because it divided the initial excavation units of House I, II, and III). This unit may have initially contained some rooms in No. 3 Straight Street. (none)
House III Excavation designation for a portion of area AH that was eventually published as No. 1 Church Lane and No. 1 Straight Street. It was also called the Pa-Sag or Hendur-Sag chapel. This space was identified as a neighborhood or wayside chapel at the NW edge of Carfax. (none)
House IV Excavation designation in area AH mostly covering No. 1 Old Street but likely containing parts of No. 7 Church Lane as well. (none)
FH The excavation area abbreviation FH stands for 'Front of Hall'. By this, Woolley meant the area in front of (north of) Hall's excavation area B, the building found to be the ehursag. Woolley dug Trial Trench C (TTC) in the southern extent of this denuded area in season 4 and expanded investigations in seasons 9 and 10 in order to complete his understanding of the constructions inside the temenos and especially to find more evidence of the earlier temenos wall. In a season 9 report early in 1931, Woolley had this to say about what he found in area FH: "considerable Larsa wall, some Kassite house remains of no particular importance, and a remarkable cistern of burnt bricks and bitumen." In season 10, he said: "Having proved that nothing could be recovered in this area to complete the ground-plan of the Temenos I stopped the work." (none)
Mausoleum Site | BC Woolley called the east corner of the Neo-Babylonian temenos the Bur-Sin Corner (area BC) because he found bricks of Bur-Sin (now read Amar-Sin or Amar-Suen) there in early season explorations. Area BC is particularly complex because it consists of substantial building in many periods. The largest building was of the Ur III period, and it is this building to which the abbreviation BC typically refers in field notes. It sits at the northeastern edge of the Royal Cemetery. The main Ur III building was 35 x 27m and its southwest wall was preserved two meters in height, while its northeast wall was largely destroyed. Its walls were built with inscribed bricks of Shulgi. The overall layout of the building is much like a courtyard house but on a large scale and with more ritual furnishings. Attached to this building were two annexes, one northwest and the other southeast, built with bricks of Shulgi's son, Amar-Sin (see context AD). Beneath the entire building were three very large vaults. All of them had been plundered in antiquity and only scattered fragments of artifacts and bones were discovered inside. Nonetheless, Woolley believed that these vaults originally held the remains of the Ur III kings. For this reason, area BC is sometimes referred to as the Mausoleum Site. The building was destroyed by Elamites, according to Woolley, and sometime thereafter houses of the Isin-Larsa/Old Babylonian period were constructed in the area (see House 30). Finally, the Neo-Babylonian Temenos wall was constructed over and through parts of the remains. (none)
Mausolea of Amar-Sin | AD Amar-Sin annex to Shugli Mausoleum, The excavation area abbreviation AD was apparently duplicated by accident and thus refers to two different areas of the site. Legrain reported the abbreviation as "Annex of Dungi's Tomb," but he was not on site the year that the context was excavated. He placed the abbreviation with this meaning on cards he created for inscribed material that came to him in the museum. Some tablets and cylinder seals were found in the filling of the tomb annex and some even have a note that they are from Seal Impression Strata against the tomb or its foundational fill. These artifacts are clearly from the BC area, that of the Mausoleum of the Ur III kings built by Shulgi and his son Amar-Sin (Amar-Suen). Amar-Sin built two annexes onto the Shulgi building (See area BC), one to the northwest and the other to the southeast. It is not clear which of the two annexes Legrain was referring to with the abbreviation AD, probably either or both. Essentially artifacts from this use of AD can only be located generally to the overall BC area at the eastern edge of the Royal Cemetery (PG). On the excavation site the abbreviation AD was being used for the so-called Palace of Bel-Shalti-Nannar. Artifacts from the two separate AD contexts have been divided in the digital data wherever possible. (none)
Pit K | Ziggurat Pit A | PAT Excavation area abbreviation PAT was also called Ziggurat Pit A. It was expanded and renamed Pit K in season 9. The pit was located within the area of PDW, on top of the northwest portion of the ziggurat terrace and cut down into its filling. Woolley had hoped to find early buildings beneath the terrace but only uncovered fill of broken bricks and Ubaid period pottery. He dug a second pit to the west on the line of the terrace wall (see Pit L). Woolley is unclear on the exact placement of either pit and the only plan published does not correspond well with his notes. In a field report dated Feb. 1, 1931, he speaks of removing the Neo-Babylonian sanctuary of Nannar and making this the site of his deep pit. This building sat on the northeastern side of the terrace, just north of the ziggurat's central staircase. In publication UE4, however, Woolley states that the pit was located in the center of the northwest portion of the terrace (the plan shows it falling in the UrIII shrine of Nannar). At this point Woolley also states the pit was dug in 1932, but all field records indicate it was dug in January, 1931 (and begun as PAT in 1925). In the season 9 excavation it is clear that Woolley intended to excavate a deep trench on the terrace that included both PAT and PBT. He laid out an area measuring some 20x40 meters that included the smaller pits. This excavation uncovered the early and quite dense terrace wall, so Woolley continued as two pits, Pit K and Pit L, falling essentially on either side of it. Pit K was farther southeast and measured 11x20 meters, stepping in to become 9.5 meters at a depth of 7 meters from the surface. It continued down to sea level, about 14 meters below the surface. These measurements are obtained from the stratigraphic profile published in UE4, but it is admittedly difficult to interpret. The only scale on the image is the vertical and this scale appears to have been exaggerated to show the strata while including the entire horizontal extent on the page. When the portion of the ziggurat included on the drawing is scaled to meet its appropriate horizontal, the Pit K profile is shown to be approximately 11 meters NW-SE at the top. Two season 8 artifacts have the context Ziggurat Pit A (with a note that this was renamed Pit K). Field notes do not indicate excavation of the pit in season 8 and the artifacts are very late in the season 8 sequence. Woolley may have been cleaning out the old pit in preparation for the following season expansion. (none)
Pit L | Ziggurat Pit B | PBT Ziggurat Pit B (PBT) was expanded and renamed Pit L in season 9. The pit sat on top of the northwest portion of the ziggurat terrace and cut down into the terrace itself. Woolley is unclear on its exact placement and the only plan published does not correspond well with his notes. In the Antiquaries Journal for 1925, he states only that this pit was dug west of the first (PAT) along the line of the terrace wall and included the find U.2826. This artifact, a shell plaque, carries on its catalog card only the location abbreviation PDW. The pit had to be located northwest of PAT (Pit K), but that pit is also difficult to pinpoint. In the season 9 excavation it is clear that Woolley intended to excavate a deep trench on the terrace that included both PAT and PBT. He laid out an area measuring some 20x40 meters that included the smaller pits. This excavation uncovered the early and quite dense terrace wall, so Woolley continued as two pits, Pit K and Pit L, falling essentially on either side of it. Pit L was farther northwest and measured initially 15x20 meters, but it was split up again (according to the stratigraphic profile in UE4) and the main portion of Pit L measured only 5 meters NW-SE. At approximately 8 meters down from the surface, it was truncated again to about 2.5 meters NW-SE and continued down to sea level another 6 meters down. These measurements are obtained from the stratigraphic profile published in UE4, but it is admittedly difficult to interpret. The only scale on the image is the vertical and this scale appears to have been exaggerated to show the strata while including the entire horizontal extent on the page. See Pit K for more information. (none)
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Media: 09: 1930-1931 Export: JSON - XML - CSV

Media Media Title Title Label Author Omeka Label
Season 9 Field Report Season 9 Field Report (none) Woolley, Leonard (none)
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People: 09: 1930-1931 Export: JSON - XML - CSV

People Full Name Biography
Alawi ibn Hamoudi Hamoudi's third son; he acted as junior foreman in the later seasons at the dig.
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.
Chauncey Percy Tietjens Winckworth (none)
Ibrahim ibn Hamoudi Hamoudi's second son; he acted as junior foreman at the site but died young in 1932.
Iraqi Workers (none)
John Cruikshank Rose Excavated Tell Arpachiyah in Nineveh alongside Mallowan, worked out the plans and sections of the grave-shafts and the top of the Ziggurat
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.
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.
P.J. Railton Worked on the Ziggurat
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
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