Gold bowl


British Museum

British Museum

This gold bowl comes from the Queen's Grave in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. It was found in the main tomb, a rough stone chamber at one end of the pit. The chamber contained the body of a woman and her two female servants, surrounded by extraordinary rich material. A cuneiform inscription on a cylinder seal found close to her body identified the woman as Pu-Abi (formerly read as Shub-ad). The bowl was found very close to Pu-abi. It is made from beaten gold with small tubes of gold attached to the sides by brazing (or hard-soldering). Through these lugs, two strands of gold wire, twisted to give a cable effect, have been threaded to form a handle. The excavator Leonard Woolley found a silver tube inside the bowl, which may have been a drinking straw. Depictions on contemporary cylinder seals, such as Pu-abi's own seal, show figures drinking through straws. Wine and beer were widely drunk in ancient Mesopotamia.

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  • Title: Gold bowl
  • Date Created: -2600/-2600
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 19.68cm (largest); Height: 6.98cm; Weight: 445.50g; Width: 4.63in (above handles)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: twisted (wire)
  • Registration number: 1928,1010.4
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Royal Cemetery
  • Period/culture: Early Dynastic III
  • Material: gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Excavated by Woolley, Charles Leonard. Division of Finds Department of Antiquities of Iraq


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