Nimrud Treasures

There’s a stunning set of photos of the Nimrud treasures on the Iraq Museum website. In the left column, under Exhibitions, click The Secret of Nimrud. The first seven sections (347 photos!) cover the opening of the flooded bank vault in which these and other treasures (including the gold helmet of Meskalamdug, and the headdress of one of the “female attendants,” and at least one of the gold bull’s head harp decorations, all found in Ur) were hidden, and which are shown being unpacked from sodden crates. Sections 8 and 9 show the items cleaned and on display in the museum. All should be thankful for the beautiful photography of Noreen Feeney, especially in her extreme closeups, showing us in unprecedented detail the extraordinary Nimrud finds, especially. Wow!


  1. Your welcome. Although I did not know what most of the treasures were, I was excited as the curators to see such wonder reborn. Now that I’m learning just what I was witness to really makes me wish I had a career in archeology instead.

  2. Noreen, what a pleasant surprise! Thank you for the note.

    If you’d like to know what a large number of those things are, check out James Pritchard’s Ancient Near East in Pictures, which will tell you what a number of the Sumerian things are (like the leafy crown on the bashed-up soggy plaster bust of the lady). Most of those eye-like round white and black/brown and gold decorated items are relatively new discoveries found in the graves of an Assyrian queen and queen-mother. That was the first time many of us have seen those things, since they were only discovered recently and most haven’t even been published, so they were a real treat! All that stuff has been in storage, and many thought that it had all been looted and lost, so it was a great relief (as I’m sure the folks there let you know!) that it was all quite safe, if somewhat icky.

    Your photos are really, truly extraordinary. As I mentioned, we haven’t been treated to such exquisite detail of those artifacts in the usual sources. I especially appreciated the closeups of the amazing detail of the gold jewelery. To see that jewelry-making was so advanced around 700 BC is astounding! So, even though they were wet and stinky, thanks all the more for getting so up close to them. You’ve done everyone a great service in your attention to detail, even if you didn’t know exactly what those things were.

  3. One of the most precious moments in that bank vault was when the crate with the bull’s head and the headdress was opened and I watched the female museum curator very nearly faint from relief as she looked inside to see that mannequin head. I snapped a picture has her head fell to her arm but no one else knows the deep feelings portrayed in just that one picture.

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