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Greenstone seal of Hashhamer


Length: 5.280 cm
Diameter: 2.870 cm

Obtained at Babylon some time before 1820 by John Hine and presented by C.D. Cobham by 1880

ME 89126

Room 56: Mesopotamia

    Greenstone seal of Hashhamer

    Third Dynasty of Ur, about 2100 BC
    From Babylon, southern Iraq

    Governor of Ishkun-Sin

    This seal is typical of the last century of the third and of the early second millennium BC. The scene depicts Hashhamer being led by a lamma, before the seated king, and another lamma follows. The king is probably bestowing the governorship on Hashhamer. The accompanying inscription translates: 'Ur-Nammu, the mighty hero, king of Ur; Hashhamer the governor of Ishkun-Sin, his servant.'

    Towards the end of the third millennium BC, southern Mesopotamia was united under the control of the city of Ur. The empire, which stretched onto the Iranian plateau, was founded by King Ur-Nammu (2112-2095 BC). He was a prodigious builder, constructing ziggurats at various cities. Although similar in shape to the pyramids of Egypt, ziggurats were not tombs but made of solid brickwork. The ziggurat at Ur is the best surviving example. Three staircases led up one side of the tower to several stages. At the summit was a shrine to a god. From this time onwards, ziggurats became a feature of the sacred architecture of all Mesopotamian cities: one of the most famous ziggurats was later built in the city of Babylon and gave rise to the Old Testament story of the Tower of Babel.

    D. Collon, First impressions: cylinder se (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)

    D. Collon, Catalogue of the Western Asi-1 (London, 1982)