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Puabi

From Academic Kids

Queen Pu-abi lived about 2600-2500 BCE. In the royal tombs of the Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur, in southern Iraq, the most extravagant tomb that archaeologist Leonard Woolley found was that of "Queen" Pu-Abi. It was amazing because her tomb hadn’t been touched by the hands of looters through the millennia.

Of some 1800 burials at the site, Woolley classified sixteen as "royal" based on their distinctive form, the richness of their grave goods, and the fact that they contained burials of servants and other high-ranking personages along with the "royal" person. Pu-Abi was found buried with her attendants, who were later found to have poisoned themselves to continue to serve her.

Queen Pu-Abi wore a complex headdress of gold leaves, gold ribbons, a tall comb of gold, necklaces, and a pair of large, curved-shaped earrings. Her upper body was covered in strings of beads made of valuable metals and stones extending from her shoulders to her waist, and her fingers were decorated with rings. Inside the tomb, there were so many well-preserved items along with a cylindrical seal with her name on it in Sumerian- the world’s first written language.

Woolley's excited telegram to the University of Pennsylvania Museum, on Jan. 4, 1928 was couched in Latin, to protect his news from interception:

"I found the intact tomb, stone built and vaulted with bricks, of Queen Puabi adorned with a dress in which gems, flower crown, and animal figures are woven. Tomb magnificent with jewels and golden cups."

The excavated treasures from Woolley's expedition were divided between the British Museum in London, the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia and the National Museum in Baghdad. Several pieces were looted from the National Museum in the aftermath of the Second Gulf War in 2003.

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