Gold bowl

From Ur, southern Iraq
About 2600-2400 BC

From the 'Queen's Grave'

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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Gold bowl

Gold bowl from Ur

  • ¾ view from above

    ¾ view from above

  • Reconstruction of the burial shaft, showing the queen's retinue and the ox drivers (1928)

    Reconstruction of the burial shaft, showing the queen's retinue and the ox drivers (1928)


More information


C.L. Woolley and P.R.S. Moorey, Ur of the Chaldees, revised edition (Ithaca, New York, Cornell University Press, 1982)

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

D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

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


Height: 7.000 cm
Length: 19.700 cm
Width: 11.000 cm

Museum number

ME 121344



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