More on Nimrud Treasure Photos

Several months ago I posted on the extraordinary photographs of the Iraqi Museum treasures hidden in the flooded bank vault. Please see there for a link to the presentation. Photographer Noreen Feeney has commented. For those of you who have been keeping up more recently with well-illustrated introductions to Mesopotamian art, I was hoping that you could recommend a book or two for Noreen that would describe for her what were the items that she photographed. She didn’t know what they were, their ages, their importance, or any of that information which some of us take for granted, yet look at the amazing, indeed almost loving, attention that she paid the artifacts in her detailed photography, hands-down better than any photography of the items in history. So, if anyone can help out by recommending some well-illustrated books, please leave some titles for Noreen in the comments here or there at the older post. I recommended Pritchard’s ANEP, but that’s only black and white, and quite dated, though it should cover all or most of the Sumerian items and give at least a bare-bones idea of what they were. Something better than that would be more appropriate, I think.

As a note of appreciation in the very least, for her participation in documenting the rescue of all these precious items, it’s the least we can do. Thanks again, Noreen!


  1. She might try my bibliography “Preliminary Bibliography Of Books Documenting The Contents Of The Iraq Museum, The National Library And Archives, And The MS Collection Of The Ministry Of Religious Endowments – All In Baghdad – As Well As Of Other Damaged Or Destroyed Collections In Baghdad Or Elsewhere In Iraq Including Mosul, Basrah, Suleimaniyeh, Etc.”
    at [recognizing that this bibliography was compiled in a hurry at a time when we did not yet know the extent of the damage to collections in Iraq], and for the Nimrud gold (which features heavily in the photographic documentation of the clearing of the vault) see: Damerji, Muayad Said Basim, and Ahmad Kamil. Gräber assyrischer Königinnen aus Nimrud = Qubur al-malikat al-Athuriyat fi Nimrud, 69, 15 p. : ill. (some col.), maps ; 30 cm. Mainz: Verlag des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz, 1999. Sonderdruck aus Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums 45, 1998.

    If she can track down a copy (and it may be hard to do so – there are not many copies in libraries thanks to the embargo of the 1990’s – I acquired one for the Oriental Institute Research Archives in 2003 and I have one in my dining room here in Athens) you should look also at: Hussein, Muzahem M.; Suleiman, Amer. Nimrud: A City of Golden Treasures. Baghdad: Republic of Iraq, Ministry of Culture and information, Directorate of Antiquities and Heritage; Al-Huriyah Printing House; 1999-2000 ; 1420-1421. 1 volume (133 [English] + 443 [Arabic] pages [including 223 color plates. 15 figures, 16 plans]).
    The photographs are not of the finest quality (given the embargo this is hardly surprising), but the range of material illustrated and described is much more extensive than what appears in prior publications (principally “Gräber assyrischer Königinnen aus Nimrud” cited above).

    -Chuck Jones-

  2. It’s Noreen please. Sergeant First Class as a matter of fact as I took these photographs for the Culture Ministry at the time. Thanks for the heads up Chuck, I’m very interested in these items and more. I’ve always regretted not going into archeology when I was in school and now I’m drooling over it. I was invited to go on a week long trip through Iraq in 2003 with the culture teams but couldn’t due to the fact I was redeploying and I know that opportunity will never again happen.

    Unfortunately, I am not as schooled in the literal translation of complete literary works. Meaning, I don’t understand the titles of the books you suggested. When I was in Iraq I saw a great one but it was in Arabic and the lady wanted so much money for it I passed on it (stupidly).

    When I got home in 2003, I bought The Bible for Dummies which explained some of the antiques believe it or not. I had no idea I was holding the original golden Ox head from the harp from Ur (did I get that right?)

    I do have a little inside knowledge on the whole artifact thing but as a layman, I’ve never been more interested in anything in my life. I can’t wait for the country to get on its feet and start a tourist bureau.

    Could somebody clarify these titles for me? Anyone know of any kind of apprentice/civilian tag along programs/ fan clubs I can get into?

  3. Noreen, you might also be interested in the Ancient Near East discussion list, which the above very helpful Chuck actually used to run before he moved to Greece. It’s here now. There are plenty of very helpful folks on that list, including a bunch that will know about archaeology programs that you’re interested in.

  4. I saw it also on one of the news sites. The schedule is still to be worked out, but once it is, I’ll definitely be posting it! And seeing it if it makes it to the “left coast”!

  5. Boy oh boy. I don’t know what happened but I stumbled across this blog 3 years later. I have completely forgotten about this blog and I haven’t followed up on anything. I spent all of 2006 trying to recover any of my personal belongings from me deployment to Iraq in 2005. We were allowed only 1 duffle bag to bring home. Everything else had to be shipped in a unit container. That container was bombed during an attack and I lost everything but the clothes on my back. In that container was all the original photos of those 2 days in the vault. My emotions were off the scale. I spent the next 2 years sulking and have since left the army and my chances of getting back to Iraq for more are nil.

    I would still adore getting into a program for layman. I’ll be somebody’s gofer for the chance to get into it. I didn’t realize I love archeology so much. I will always cherish the memories of those 2 glorious days.

    You guys are right, I did not know what I was photographing but I knew it was historical. When I saw the female curator nearly collapse when the one case was open, I knew it was very, very special even though I didn’t know what it was. It was that head dress with leaves sticking up. She almost fainted with joy when it was discovered to be fine after everything that happened.

    I remember those two days like it was yesterday……..OMG I’m so proud to have been there and touched them!

    1. Noreen! It’s a pleasure to see that you’re safe and sound, even if you unfurtunately lost all your stuff.

      I’ll write to some people I know and ask them if they know of any programs. I’ll send you an email soon.

  6. Hi, I stumbled across this thread when I was trying to find contact information for Noreen Feeney. I am working on an exhibit at the Penn Museum of Archaeology in Philadelphia. I have been trying to find contacts for the wonderful photographs Noreen took.

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