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Height: 4.870 inches
Diameter: 3.750 inches
Excavated by M.E.L. Mallowan
Purchased from the British School of Archaeology in Iraq (1959)
Room 55: Mesopotamia
Agatha Christie and archaeology
Each campaigning season the Assyrian army gathered at the palace and military complex at Nimrud, known today as Fort Shalmaneser. Mallowan and his team 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.
The beaker 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.