Gold pin with a carnelian head
From Ur, southern Iraq
About 2600-2400 BC
The excavator Leonard Woolley discovered this pin in one of the graves in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. In this particular tomb the bodies of four men and a woman were found in a stone chamber at the bottom of a pit. The woman held a gold tumbler in her hand, and this gold pin was on her breast, though it had probably slipped from her shoulder where it had been attached to her dress. A cylinder seal made of gold was almost touching the head of the pin. They may originally have been attached.
The burial chamber of the tomb was a dome made of limestone rubble set in and thickly plastered with stiff green clay. Holes sloped inwards through the stonework. Woolley cleared them out and, by holding an electric torch to one, and looking through another, was able to see through to the floor of the burial chamber. Sticking up through a light dust were the rims of pottery and copper vessels and an occasional glimpse of gold.
C.L. Woolley and others, Ur Excavations, vol. II: The R (London, The British Museum Press, 1934)