Fragments of a carved stone box

Akkadian dynasty, about 2300-2200 BC
From Ur, southern Iraq

These fragments of carved chlorite were found at Ur by the excavator Leonard Woolley. They appear to have originally formed a stone box. Luxury objects like this have been found in temples, palaces and graves at various sites in Mesopotamia.

The images of struggling animals and humans or demons suggest that the box was probably made in Iran. Also, southern Iran is one of the main sources of chlorite, and there was a major production centre at Tepe Yahya.

On the back of the box is a cuneiform inscription referring to a military campaign in the east by King Rimush of Agade (Akkad) (2278-2270).

The empire of Agade was established by Rimush's father, Sargon (2334-2279 BC) who conquered southern Mesopotamia. Rimush maintained control over this territory, but according to his inscriptions, was forced to put down rebellions in Sumer. He also conquered Elam (in southern Iran). This box may be part of the booty from one of these campaigns.

A later text records that Rimush was killed by his servants in a palace conspiracy, and was replaced on the throne by his brother Manishtushu (2269-2255 BC).

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More information

Bibliography

J. Curtis, Ancient Persia (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

Dimensions

Width: 6.500 cm (min.)
Width: 6.500 cm (min.)

Museum number

ME 116455

WCO24260;WCO24261

Location

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