Leonard Woolley Archaeological Contributions

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Archaeology

Document 1

This paper takes an incite full look at some of Sir Leonard Charles Woolley’s greatest achievements and contribution in the field of archaeology. One of the most notable legacies of Sir Leonard Woolley was the fact that he was among the first archaeologist to record his findings in writing. In each and every excavation mission he was involved in, Woolley adopted the habit of noting down the findings and what he observed. It was because of his habit of writing what his observations that made Woolley be referred to as the “first modern archaeologist”. His efforts of writing down his observations and conclusions were acknowledged by many and in 1955 he received the University Museum’s Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal for archaeology (McCarthy).

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This cemetery was where the Mesopotamian loyalties were buried. As part of the culture of the people who lived in Ur, loyalties were supposed to be given a decent send off by being buried together with valuable items such as large paintings. One of the most extravagant tombs that Woolley came across was that of Queen Pu-Abi. Inside the tomb that had amazingly remained untouched since her burial, Woolley discovered many valuable items (Hall et al. Among the items found was a cylindrical seal that had the Queen’s name written on it in Sumerian and a golden headdress made of golden leaves, rings and plates. E. The artifact’s original function is not known but most people believe that it was the sound box of a musical instrument.

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Woolley believed that the standard was carried by its users on a pole. From the outside, the Standard of Ur had two interesting panels. On the first panel was a picture of battle scenes. As a result, Woolley believed that the layers were as a result of these biblical floods and therefore affirms the biblical story as being true. However, further research done on the area have found little evidence to connect the layers of sediment with the biblical story of the Great floods (Crawford). The studies suggest that the sediments were purely local. The discoveries that Woolley made in Ur have had a long-lasting effect on archaeology. The discoveries enabled people to easily understand the type of life that the ancient residents of Mesopotamia.

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Most of the materials in the eighteen meters’ deep pit were rubbish from an industrial area where it was believed that pottery was the main economic activity. The rubbish suggested that the people of Ur started industrialization and in particular, pottery began a long time ago. In the year 1925 as Leonard Woolley was excavating in a Babylonian palace, he came across a curious collection of artifacts. The artifacts were neatly organized and well labelled. From the labels on the artifacts, Woolley noted that the items had been gathered from different places and in different times in history (Wilkins). Most surprisingly, the graves had remains of many attendants who probably were buried alive. The image of the area as created by Woolley suggests that in the society that lived in that area, people were of different social classes.

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Interestingly, the difference in the social class did not end when death struck. The poor were given an ordinary sendoff and buried in public cemeteries while the rich were given a befitting sendoff and were buried separate from the poor. Therefore, it would be right to conclude that the society valued and honoured social classes. Secondly, Woolley and his team revealed that they had seen a monumental stairway that led into a wide terrace. Along the stairway, there were rows of relief-sculptures that portrayed gods, kings, priests, and warriors. From these observations, the excavation team concluded that the initial inhabitants of the area lived a life that was characterized by diverse religions and hard times of war and conflicts. Below the citadel, the archaeologists uncovered the remains of a water-gate on the banks of the Euphrates and parts of the Hittite.

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