Child's diadem

From Ur, southern Iraq, about 2500-2300 BC

This gold diadem was found by Leonard Woolley in one of the simpler graves in the cemetery at Ur. A small wooden coffin containing the badly preserved bones of a very young child lay at the bottom of a shaft. The child was wearing the diadem around its head. Bowls made of silver, copper, calcite and limestone were also found.

Two of the three gold disc ornaments are formed from rings separated by finely bent strips of gold. The same technique is used to form the central rosettes. The other disc consists of four concentric gold rings inlaid with lapis lazuli and carnelian. All appear to have been attached to a chain of sets of four long beads of gold, lapis lazuli and carnelian.

Deposits of metal ore are not found in Mesopotamia itself, but only in the surrounding mountains. Metal was therefore highly prized, with gold among the most precious. Stone is also rare in southern Mesopotamia, with many coloured varieties coming from further east. Lapis lazuli, the exotic blue stone, was mined in Afghanistan.

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Child's diadem

  • Close-up

    Close-up

  • Eva Nisse, aged 11

    Eva Nisse, aged 11

 

More information

Bibliography

P.R.S. Moorey, Ancient Mesopotamian materials (Oxford, 1994)

H. Tait, Jewellery through 7000 years-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1976)

C.L. Woolley and others, Ur Excavations, vol. II: The R (London, The British Museum Press, 1934)

T.C. Mitchell, Sumerian art: illustrated by o (London, The British Museum Press, 1969)

Dimensions

Diameter: 4.700 cm
Diameter: 4.700 cm
Diameter: 4.700 cm

Museum number

ME 122206

WCO24427

Location

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