PG800- The Final Resting place of Quen Puabi- Royalty of Ur

PG800- The Final Resting place of Quen Puabi- Royalty of Ur

As discussed in class, the city state of Sumeria, Ur, has been excavated over the years and many royal graves have been discovered. Within the 16 royal graves associated with the dynasty of Ur there is one site that is particularly interesting and exciting: PG-800.

The tomb, measuring 4.35 x 2.8 meters, was a vaulted chamber that was built of limestone slabs and mud brick and placed ontop of a raised platform was a skeleton of a middle aged woman. According to written descriptions of the site, the woman was decorated in elaborate gold, lapid lazuli, and a carnelian headdress. Also discovered on the body were a pair of crescent- shaped gold earrings and covering the entire torso of the skeleton were gold and semi-precious beads. In addition to the precious artifacts, many other skeletons were distributed throughout the site. A total of 52 other skeletons were found, in addition to the middle aged women on the raised slab. Taking into account of all the precious artifacts and the immense amount of skeletons buried with the woman, it is theorized that this woman was royalty during the dynasty of Ur and those were her servants. Near the woman’s right shoulder, three lapis lazuli cylinder seals were found. On these seals was the name Pu-abi, with the title “nin”, translated as queen.

After some hearing about the presumed Queen and how some considered her tomb was comparable to King Tutankhamen’s tomb of Egypt due to its escape form looting and it high prevalence of elaborate jewelry. Probably the most elaborate artifact found in the final resting place of Queen Puabi would have been the headdress. The headdress discovered in the tomb is beyond elaborate. The height of the headdress is 26 cm with a diameter of 11 cm. The entire headdress was made of gold, lapis lazuli, and carnelian and was decorated entirely in leaves, rings, ribbons, and flowers.

At the time of her death, it was assessed that she was approximately 40 years of age and stood just under 5 feet tall. Probably the most intriguing part about this site was that there seemed to be no mention of a husband to this woman. As discussed in class, this kind of finding leads researchers and archaeologists to believe she was a ruler all on her own- separate from a husband. Findings or theories like these are incredible to wrap your head around.

Headress of Queen Puabi Queen's seal tomb layout

3 thoughts on “PG800- The Final Resting place of Quen Puabi- Royalty of Ur

  1. Allison Apland

    I also was intrigued by this grave. I wonder if this woman did rule alone, and beyond that, if this was commonplace or if she was a rarity. Even if she was not a queen the way that we think about it, her grave goods suggest great status and importance. Beyond the beautiful goods and the status of this woman, obviously the other 52 individuals are thought provoking. The most dramatic conclusion would be that her entourage was sacrificed and buried with her. Then, there are different implications if these people went willingly to their deaths or were forced. Regardless, it is pretty alarming to imagine someone held so much power over others in life and in death. It is possible that there is another explanation, but I’m not sure what that would be.

    Based on the contents of the tomb, I am reminded of early dynastic tombs in Egypt. Robbers disturbed the Egyptian tombs, but it was in these early tombs that large numbers of humans were buried with a pharaoh. In the Egyptian situation, the practice did not continue throughout all dynasties. I wonder if this was also true for the Sumerians. It’s so hard to imagine a society where sacrifice happened that I also can’t figure out how and why it would end, either. What would make a ruler decide that his entourage doesn’t need to be buried with him?

  2. Shelby Huffman

    I was very intrigued by this site when it was discussed it in class. The very presence of a “queens” grave especially one that is thought to have ruled on her own is a fundamental step in the study of the structure of society within Sumeria. It helps to establish in a degree the societies ideas about gender, and a glimpse into how the society was stratified.

    The other part that had interested me was this idea of the 52 skeletons found along side the queens body. Arranged in a particular way and with no signs of violence, it seems to show that these people went willingly to their deaths. This type of sacrifice is seen across many cultures and across many continents. One Native American Tribe known as the Natchez Indians whose “King” or “Chief” known as the Great Sun after his death his wives and servants would be sacrificed to be buried along side him. The bodies would be arranged together along side Natchez pottery vessels, as well as European trade goods obtained from the French, accompanied the dead.It was considered to be a cultural violation if the “sacrificed” did not go willingly.

    Two of the major burials are thought to be the Great Sun whose death in 1728 is mentioned in the historical sources of the tribe. It is my theory that this loyalty even in death is the same type of incident that occurred with in the Sumerian culture burial sites. I think that its astonishing to see how far loyalty can be taken.

  3. Reginald Jackson

    First off I think that the idea of “queen” being buried in this elaborate tomb made out of limestone slabs and mud brick and her being placed on top of a raised platform pretty cool to me. I think that it’s really cool that nobody was know if she is royalty or not but her tomb is comparable to King Tutankhamen’s tomb of Egypt. From what I read I think that she is due to the way she buried, covered in all of this elite jewelry, ribbons and the headdress made of gold, lapis lazuli, and carnelian. This just screams royalty, I don’t know any slaves, peasants, or even Nomarchs that would get such prestigious burial.
    In my opinion, I feel that Queen Puabi was a good ruler judging by the number of servants that were found in her tomb that willing sacrificed themselves. What I really want to know is how she died. Usually back then a lot of people, especially royalty, lived pretty good healthy lives. Another thing that I found to be really interesting was that there was no mention of her husband. It kind of makes you think about how she came to power. Was she appointed or was it hereditary being past down threw her families lineage?

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