Gold strainer for beer or wine

From Ur, southern Iraq
About 2600-2400 BC

From the 'Queen's Grave'

This strainer comes from the 'Queen's Grave' in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. It contained the body of a woman and two serving ladies surrounded by extraordinary rich material. The main burial was in a rough stone chamber at the bottom of the pit where this strainer was found.

There are no gold deposits in Mesopotamia, and the metal would probably have been imported from Iran or Anatolia (modern Turkey). It would have arrived as nuggets or in a semi-processed state. The strainer is a good example of the most common technique of working gold at this time: beating sheets into shape.

Beer and wine were drunk in Mesopotamia from at least the fourth millennium BC and it is possible that the strainer was used to remove any debris when serving. Straws were commonly used to help the filtration process.

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More information


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)


Diameter: 12.000 cm
Depth: 4.500 cm
Length: 18.000 cm (total, including handle)

Museum number

ME 121347



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