Each campaigning season the Assyrian army gathered at the palace and military complex at Nimrud, known today as Fort Shalmaneser. The excavators of the site discovered large quantities of ash and burnt debris there, resulting from the destruction of Nimrud at the end of the seventh century BC. They found several small objects and a considerable quantity of pottery among the remains in the living quarters. These are typical of the small personal possessions lost by their owners before the palace was finally abandoned. Fortunately two trophies, this beautiful silver beaker and a silver bowl decorated with lion's heads (now in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad) were hidden in a small pit beneath the floor, and escaped looters. The weight of the soil has, however, crushed the beaker. This vessel has two bands of gold leaf overlaying incised geometric and floral decoration on the neck and another at the base. The button or 'nipple' base also forms the centre of a rosette, the petals of which are also covered with gold leaf. Beakers of similar shape are known in pottery from Nimrud and the city of Ashur.


  • Title: Silver beaker
  • Date Created: -670/-620
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 12.30cm (in crushed state); Width: 9.60cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: overlaid; gilded; incised
  • Subject: flower
  • Registration number: 1959,1114.8
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Fort Shalmaneser
  • Period/culture: Neo-Assyrian
  • Material: silver; gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from British School of Archaeology, Iraq. Division of Finds Department of Antiquities of Iraq. Excavated by Mallowan, Max Edgar Lucien

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps