Silver beaker

Phoenician, 8th-7th century BC
Found at Fort Shalmaneser, Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq

Each campaigning season the Assyrian army gathered at the palace and military complex at Nimrud, known today as Fort Shalmaneser. The excavators of the site discovered large quantities of ash and burnt debris there, resulting from the destruction of Nimrud at the end of the seventh century BC. They found several small objects and a considerable quantity of pottery among the remains in the living quarters. These are typical of the small personal possessions lost by their owners before the palace was finally abandoned. Fortunately two trophies, this beautiful silver beaker and a silver bowl decorated with lion's heads (now in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad) were hidden in a small pit beneath the floor, and escaped looters. The weight of the soil has, however, crushed the beaker.

This vessel has two bands of gold leaf overlaying incised geometric and floral decoration on the neck and another at the base. The button or 'nipple' base also forms the centre of a rosette, the petals of which are also covered with gold leaf.

Beakers of similar shape are known in pottery from Nimrud and the city of Ashur. 

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More information


J. Oates, 'Late Assyrian pottery from Fort Shalmaneser', Iraq-5, 21 (1959)

M.E.L. Mallowan, Nimrud and its remains (London, Collins, 1966)

J.E. Curtis and J.E. Reade (eds), Art and empire: treasures from (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)


Height: 4.870 inches
Diameter: 3.750 inches

Museum number

ME 132698


Excavated by M.E.L. Mallowan
Purchased from the British School of Archaeology in Iraq (1959)


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