Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-ssw5r Total loading time: 0.305 Render date: 2022-08-08T10:16:06.375Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

The Excavations at Nimrud (Kalḫu), 1962

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 August 2014


The twelfth season of excavations at Nimrud lasted from March 2nd to May 16th, 1962. The expedition was generously supported by contributions from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the British Museum, Les Musées Royales d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. My thanks are once again due to all my colleagues on the staff. Mr. Jeffery Orchard, Secretary of the School in Baghdad, was Assistant Director and catalogued the ivories and other finds. Both in the field-work and in the cleaning of the ivories we were fortunate in having the assistance of Mrs. Olwen Brogan, F.S.A., a field archaeologist of very wide experience, and of Mrs. Prudence Harper, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Mr. Peter Hulin, of Oxford University, was the epigraphist, Mr. Nicholas Kindersley took charge of the photography and of the pottery, Mr. Terence Mitchell acted as registrar, and Mr. Julian Reade gave valuable help with the ivories and also undertook the reconstruction of a large panel of glazed bricks which was one of the major finds of the season. The laborious work of cleaning and conserving the ivories was in the hands of Miss Ann Searight and Miss Stephanie Page. All members of the staff shared in the supervision of the excavations and helped most willingly with tasks other than their own. Sayid Selim al-Jelili was once again the representative of the Directorate General of Antiquities and a most valuable member of the expedition. This year we encountered many unforeseen problems, and we owe an especial debt of gratitude for their unfailing help to the Director General of Antiquities, Sayid Taha Baqir, the Inspector General of Excavations, Sayid Fuad Safar, and to members of their staff, in particular Sayid Akram Shukri, Director of the Iraq Museum Laboratory, Sayid Ali Nakshabandi and Sayid Isa Toma who worked with us at Nimrud. We must also express our thanks to the Iraq Petroleum Company, who most generously lent us valuable equipment for the lifting of the throne base of Shalmaneser III and its transport to Baghdad, and to Mr. Robert Ayton who took charge of the operation. Among visitors to Nimrud during the course of the season we were particularly glad to welcome Miss Margaret Munn Rankin, a member of the Council, and Dr. Donald Harden, a member of the Executive Committee of the School.

Research Article
IRAQ , Volume 25 , Issue 1 , Spring 1963 , pp. 6 - 37
Copyright © The British Institute for the Study of Iraq 1963

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 Iraq XXIII, Pt. 1, pp. 89 and Pls. III, IVGoogle Scholar; and XXIV, Pt. 1, p. 10 and Pls. III–V.

2 See earlier reports in Iraq XXI, Pt. 2, XXIII, Pt. 1, XXIV, Pt. 1, and a summary, I.L.N., November 24th and December 1st, 1962.

3 There may be some slight inaccuracy, hardly perceptible on the scale of the accompanying plan, in the recorded position of walls which were plotted some distance above floor level, since many of them were not perpendicular. But this has been corrected as far as possible by observing the angle of the wall face and by reconstructing, from the brick joints, the lines on which the building was originally set out.

4 It has been calculated that the minimum height of the outer wall to the chemin de ronde was more than 7 m. and it may have been considerably greater (Iraq XXIV, Pt. 1, p. 8 and Pls. II, IIIGoogle Scholar).

5 Layard, A. H., Nineveh and Babylon, pp. 647–48Google Scholar; Monuments of Nineveh, 2nd Series, pl. XL.

6 e.g. F. Thureau-Dangin and M. Dunand, Til Barsip, Plan B.

7 von Oppenheim, M., Tell Halaf, pp. 216–17 and pl. LVIIIbGoogle Scholar. For an Urarṭian example see Barnett, R. D., Iraq XVI, Pt. 1, p. 10 and fig. 13Google Scholar.

8 For description and text see Iraq XXI, Pt. 2, p. 112, type (i)Google Scholar.

9 Published by Mr. P. Hulin in this volume, pp. 48ff.

10 We propose to include a fuller study of the throne dais and related monuments in the final report on Fort Shalmaneser, together with more detailed illustrations. The photographs of the north and south friezes which accompany this article were taken by Mr. Kindersley under difficult conditions while the dais was still in situ.

11 This pose is characteristic of Shalmaneser (L. W. King, Bronze Reliefs from the Gates of Shalmaneser, pls. XV, XXVIII) but is also found on the reliefs of Aššurnaṣirpal, who is at other times shown holding his bow by the middle in a horizontal position (E. A. W. Budge, Assyrian Sculptures in the British Museum, Aššurnaṣirpal, pls. XXXIII and XX, XXIII). The two arrows evidently reflect the practice of drawing two or even three from the quiver and holding one or two in the right hand while the first is discharged (B.M. Sculptures, Aššurnaṣirpal, pl. XIII).

12 For a discussion of the decoration of the royal garments see Oppenheim, A. L., J.N.E.S. VIII, p. 172 ffGoogle Scholar.

13 B.M. Sculptures, Aššurnaṣirpal, pl. XXIII.

14 B.M. Sculptures, Aššurnaṣirpal, pls. XXIII, XXIV. The short open-fronted skirt is especially clear on pl. XIII.

15 It is a remarkable feature of the reliefs depicting Shalmaneser, in bronze and stone, that although he is frequently shown on campaign, he never plays an active part in the fighting as we are led to believe that his father did. Nor do we have any representation of him hunting. The latter may perhaps be explained by our failure to discover any monument on which such a theme would have been appropriate, but in the former case it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the difference in the character of the representations is deliberate. It seems to suggest that Shalmaneser preferred to emphasise his successful exercise of supreme command, to see himself as an organising genius rather than a royal warrior. If this is so, it has many interesting implications that can hardly be discussed in a footnote; in one way it reflects the contrast between the North-West Palace of Aššurnaṣirpal and the arsenal of Shalmaneser, in another it may perhaps help to explain the unusual relationship between Shalmaneser and his turtan, Daian-Aššur, who is a conspicuous exception to the general rule of successful reigns that subordinates are nameless.

16 B.M. Sculptures, Aššurnaṣirpal, pls. II, XI; see below, p. 31 and Pl. IX.

17 B.M. Sculptures, Aššurnaṣirpal, pl. I; Iraq XXI, Pt. 2, Pls. XL–XLII and Iraq XXIV, Pt. 1, Pl. VIII.

18 Three-dimensional reconstruction of the different garments depicted on the sculptures is rendered more difficult by conventional distortions and by inaccuracies on the part of the sculptors, who clearly did not work from immediate observation and sometimes represented one side of a figure as a mirror image of the other, with confusing results. But the only representation, in the categories mentioned here, that cannot be reconciled with either of the two types of outer robe is the small amber statuette in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on which both forearms seem to be enveloped in the folds of a belted garment (H. Frankfort, Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient, pls. 80, 81). This is incompatible with the other characteristics of the garment represented.

19 The tribute of the Chaldaeans, Bronze Gates, pls. LXII–LXV and L.A.R. I, 625Google Scholar; Unqi, Bronze Gates, pls. XXV–XXVIII and L.A.R. I, 655Google Scholar.

20 Bronze Gates, pl. LVI.

21 Representations of the same scene are not consistent in their choice of such motifs. The royal sunshade is included in the relief showing the tribute of the Chaldaeans on the Bronze Gates, but is omitted in the same scene on the south friez; of the throne dais.

22 The presence or absence of this minute detail can hardly be significant, for if it was consistently represented at all, it may have been painted rather than incised on some of the figures and would have disappeared. It was probably distinguished by its colour from the pattern on the king's robe, which probably represented appliqué gold ornaments; see Oppenheim, op. cit. n. 12 above.

23 This is probably an example of the mirror image distortion.

24 The variety of gesture among the royal officers on the north frieze shows that this is not merely a salute on approaching the king, but its precise meaning can only be guessed. It seems to be characteristic of ninth century ceremonial, cf. British Museum Sculptures, Aššurnaṣirpal, pls. XX, XXIII, for in the time of Sargon the hand was raised with fingers straight and thumb uppermost, Frankfort, Art and Architecture, pls. 96, 97, a gesture employed in the earlier period by the king or the god Aššur.

25 Again it may have differed in colour or ornament.

26 This figure is called by Layard, the ‘vizier’, Nineveh and its Remains I, 60Google Scholar.

27 cf. Bronze Gates, pl. XIV.

28 For references to the relevant passages of the annals see n. 19 above.

29 The historical inscription on the Bronze Gates includes events down to the ninth, the reliefs down to the eleventh year of Shalmaneser.

30 Perhaps as a hostage, a practice frequently attested by the annals.

31 As in the dress worn by tribute bearers on the facade of the North-West Palace, B.M. Sculptures, Aššurnaṣirpal, pl. XXVIII.

32 B.M. Sculptures, Aššurnaṣirpal, pl. XXX.

33 L.A.R. I, 443Google Scholar.

34 The tree trunks on the re-entrant face of the north frieze are obviously the cedar logs of the inscription.

35 This pavilion often appears on the Bronze Gates, e.g. pls. XXX, LII, and presumably indicates that the action is taking place on campaign; cf. also B.M. Sculptures, Aššurnaširpal, pl. XVI.

36 e.g. the boundary stone of Marduk-zakir-šumi, A. Parrot, Nineveh and Babylon, pl. 217.

37 One sign was incised, on a very small scale, on the face of the stone above this panel, as if testing a possibility which was then rejected.

38 Rankin, M. Munn, Iraq XVIII, Pt. 1, p. 86Google Scholar.

39 In both the cases involving Zimri-Lim of Mari, A.K.M.T. II, 55 and VI, 26Google Scholar.

40 e.g. the west wall of the sanctuary of Nabu, Iraq XVIII, Pt. 1, Pl. VIII. The west outer wall of the temple, also shown on this drawing, was rebuilt in the Sargonid period.

41 W. Andrae, Das Wiedererstandene Aššur, Abb. 26.

42 As in the principal courtyard of the North-West Palace, see the contour plan of the citadel, Iraq XVIII, Pt. 1, Pl. 1.

43 e.g. Sargon's criticism of the North-West Palace “its foundation walls had not been set on firm land, rock structure”; this was not necessarily true.

44 For Esarhaddon's work in the palace area see Iraq XXI, Pt. 2, p. 119 and XXIII, Pt. 1, pp. 7–8Google Scholar.

45 Iraq XXI, Pt. 2, p. 115Google Scholar.

46 At the north-west extremity of Sargon's palace, extending towards the city wall, and including rooms 1–12 of the plan by V. Place, Ninive et l'Assyrie, pl. 7, reproduced in Loud, G. and Altman, C., Khorsabad II, O.I.P. XL, pl. 76Google Scholar. See below, p. 35f.

47 As in the store-room S 10 which adjoined the royal apartments in the western, private quarter of the palace, Iraq XXI, Pt. 2, p. 119 ff.Google Scholar

48 See below, p. 35.

49 e.g. Ashmolean Museum, Report of the Visitors, 1962, pl. 1a.

50 Salonen, A., Die Türen des Alten Mesopotamien, pp. 1213, pls. II, 3 and IV, 2Google Scholar.

51 To be published by Mr. Peter Hulin.

52 See the report by Miss Joyce Plesters on the examination of pigments from S 5, Iraq XXI, Pt. 2, p. 127 ff.Google Scholar

53 Iraq XXIV, Pt. 1, p. 10 and pl. IIIGoogle Scholar.

54 Layard, , Nineveh and Babylon, p. 350Google Scholar.

55 Iraq XXI, Pt. 2, p. 111Google Scholar.

56 Layard, , Nineveh and its Remains II, p. 13Google Scholar.

57 See the article by Mr. Julian Reade, pp. 38 ff.

58 Cf. the profile of the west gate of Fort Shalmaneser, Iraq XXIV, Pt. 1, pl. II.

59 See A. L. Oppenheim, op. cit. n. 12 above.

60 e.g. Aššurnaširpal's inscription from the wall of Calah, L.A.R. I, 512Google Scholar.

61 W. Andrae, Das Wiedererstandene Aššur, Tafel 32.

62 e.g. the round bastion of Sennacherib on the north wall of Aššur, Andrae, Das Wiedererstandene Aššur, Tafel 72. The technique is not, however, unknown in the ninth century, for it appears in the gate chamber of the Nabu Temple, probably built in the reign of Adad-nirari III, Iraq XIX, Pt. 1, Pl. XII.

63 Hulin, P., Iraq XXIV, Pt. 2, p. 116 ff.Google Scholar

64 Iraq XXI, Pt. 1, p. 39Google Scholar.

65 This room, S 5, was believed to be the throne room before the discovery of T 1, Further exploration of the east end of S 5 in 1962 revealed no trace of the emplacement of a dais and we must conclude that it was a reception room of the standard type, although the paintings suggest royal use. For these see Iraq XXI, Pt. 2, pp. 118–19 and pl. XXIXGoogle Scholar.

66 Müller, K. F., M.V.A.G. XLI, 3, p. 59 ff.Google Scholar I am indebted to Professor A. L. Oppenheim for calling my attention to this text.

67 No special provision for the brazier was made, nor was it necessary, in the stone-paved room of the palace at Tell Halaf where a brazier was found in situ (see n. 7 above).

68 It occurs in the palace at Ešnunna, H. Frankfort, S. Lloyd and T. Jacobsen, The Gimilsim Temple and the Palace of the Rulers of Tell Asmar, pl. I, and in many late Assyrian buildings, e.g. Loud and Altman, Khorsabad II, pl. 86.

69 See n. 46 above and, for the plan of Palace F, Loud and Altman, Khorsabad II, pl. 75 (rooms 17–19).

70 F. Thureau-Dangin and M. Dunand, Til Barsip, Plan B, rooms XLV–XLVII. The layout there is a very slight adaptation of the plan of the suite XXIV–XXVII in the same building, where there was access from one side only.

71 Loud and Altman, Khorsabad II, pl. 75, room 15. A room had to be provided, for some unknown purpose, next to this exit from the corridor. In Fort Shalmaneser it is T 11, approached from Courtyard S through a small ante-room S 75. In Palace F it was room 14, opening directly into the bīt ḫilani. For the introduction of the bīt hilani into Late Assyrian architecture see Frankfort, H., Iraq XIV, Pt. 2, pp. 120 ff.Google Scholar

72 The outer wall of this enclosure, marking it off from the city, is visible as a low ridge on the contour plan, Khorsabad II, pl. 68. It encloses an area some 500 m. square, slightly less than the corresponding enclosure at Fort Shalmaneser.

73 Iraq XXIV, Pt. 1, p. 21, n. 28Google Scholar.

Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Excavations at Nimrud (Kalḫu), 1962
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The Excavations at Nimrud (Kalḫu), 1962
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The Excavations at Nimrud (Kalḫu), 1962
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *