Discoveries At Nineveh
Austen Henry Layard, Esq., D.C.L.
A Popular Account of
Discoveries at Nineveh.
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- Chapter 1
- Layard's visit, in 1840, to Syria, Asia Minor, Babylon and
Differences in the ruins described. Dangers in traveling through the
Layard's visit to area made him desire to investigate the ruins, but
hindered him for a few years. Work of French (M. Botta) at Kouyunjik.
to get people interested in supporting excavation work. Botta discovers
artifacts at Khorsabad, and the French government started to
support the excavations. Botta confined his research to Khorsabad,
many sculptures and inscriptions. Botta's work stimulated Layard, who
received some financial support late in 1845, when he traveled to Mosul.
- Chapter 2
- Layard visited the pashaw of Mosul, but concealed the purpose of
visit. Cruelties of pashaw and the state of the country. Layard
by raft to Nimroud. Arabs found for workmen. Initial discovery of a
and a few ivory objects. Layard revisited the pashaw, since the
were known, and many were suspecting Layard of a treasure hunt.
of residence during rains. Discovery of bas-reliefs, of chariots and a
city siege. Pashaw stops the work, by claiming graves were disturbed.
found that the Pashaw had "created" graves on the mound. Layard
continued work using a few "guards" who were protecting the
As Christmas approached, Layard ordered the excavations filled in, and
left Mosul to obtain a more permanent access to excavation. Pashaw was
- Chapter 3:
- With new pashaw, Layard was allowed to continue excavation in
Much greater political stability. Spring look to country, return of
in tents. Graves dug up and moved to bottom of hill. Sculptured slab
damaged by fire. Trouble from cadi (claiming financial and religious
temporarily halt work. Layard visits Arabs living near Nimroud, to try
to prevent them from stealing. Description of Arabs. Mid February,
resumed work with a few men in secret. More bas-reliefs found. Huge
found, causing more political problems. Second statue found at other
of chamber entrance. Work forced to slow because of political pressure.
2 lion statues found. Description of country and people during Spring.
- Chapter 4
- Excavation was halted by political pressure. Layard visits
sheik (Sofuk) of the Arabs to gain his friendship and possibly cut down
the number of Arab raids. Hospitality of Arabs met on the travels.
consumption of food. Description of special Arabian horse. Initial
with Sofuk. Life and influence of Sofuk. Description of meal, and
wives. Visit to the ruins of Al Hather Horse theft attempted regularly
at night. A year later, Sofuk tricked and murdered a rival, and was
tricked and executed by the Pashaw.
- Chapter 5
- Clearing chamber with human-headed lions. Small artifacts with
writing on them found. Layard hosted a visit from Christians and Arabs
who wanted to see the ruins, creating much good will among the Arabs.
of meal, dancing and sword play entertainment. New Turkish governor.
allowed to continue excavation, but his financial resources were very
Problems of excessive heat, dust storms, insects and reptiles.
of bas-reliefs. More sculpture and copper lions. Siege and lion hunting
scenes found on bas-reliefs. Layard given vizirial authorization to
and remove finds to England. Excavations started at Kouyunjik, but
after a month because of little success. More descriptions of
at Nimroud. Problems removing items for museum. Visit by Pashaw.
heat hindered and then stopped the work.
- Chapter 6
- General description of Layard's travel to the mountains to avoid
summer heat: Started with visit to French excavations at Khorsabad.
of Yezidi and Kurd villages passed. Poverty and disease of people at
(Ecbatana). A few artifacts found there. Descriptions of the country,
the hospitality of the people during further travel toward the Tiyari.
Contrast of the richness of the land and the poverty of the people due
to excessive governmental taxation. Layard rebuked the governor (Bey)
both his ill manners and his harsh control. Arrival at Asheetha.
- Chapter 7
- Asheetha joyously welcomed Layard's company. Threat of invasion
Beder Khan Bey, who had previously slaughtered more than 10,000 and
others. Layard decided to continue travel, to warn Christian
of new threat. Layard saw effects of Khan's previous attack.
of Asheetha's history and current state. Description of travels to
communities, with the contrast of the physical beauty of the area and
destruction by Khan. Layard visits scene of worst massacre, with
remains of 1000 people scattered over the ground. More villages
possible defensive plans considered. At Tkhoma the people were
for armed resistance to Khan. Discussion of the beliefs of the
Christians. Letter written to pashaw of Mosul for help against Khan.
met, and was threatened by Kurds, but kept going. Layard was talked out
of visiting the last few communities, because of the threat of
Bey, and his likely support of Beder Khan. Layard tricked Nur-Ullah,
left rapidly to returned to Asheetha. Continued travel towards Mosul.
Assyrian ruins found at Challek. Description of bas-reliefs cut into
hill at Malthaiyah, Attack of Tkhoma by Beder Khan Bey occurred days
Layard left the area. Description of new massacres, and the retaliation
by the Turkish government.
- Chapter 8
- Layard invited to annual feast of the Yedizis (Devil
History of oppression which the Yedizis suffered. Layard traveled with
Yedizis to the tomb of Sheik Adi for the feast. Description of area,
between pilgrims and festivities. Special concert at night: started
a long solemn song, and ended with an extended period of fast, joyous
in which everyone joined in. Activities continued until dawn. Religious
beliefs of Yedizis. Layard returned to Mosul, then accompanied the
on a visit to the Yedizis at Sinjar. The Yedizis distrusted the pashaw
because of previous persecution, and shot two soldiers sent with Layard
to speak to them. The pashaw retaliated by burning the city but was
in attacking the main group of the community hiding in caves. Layard
to return to excavations at Mosul.
- Chapter 9
- Layard given some funding from British Museum. Preparations for
excavation. Bas-reliefs found and removed for shipment to England.
of scenes on the walls. Parts of iron armor discovered. Alabaster and
vases found in good condition. Winged bulls discovered at entrance to
with large bas-reliefs nearby. Black Obelisk (of Shalmaneser) found and
described. Winged lions and bas-reliefs found and described. Sphinxes
but they had been burnt and they crumbled when exposed. Inscriptions
with names of several kings in sequence, connecting finds in Nimroud
Khorsabad. A sarcophagus found, with items similar to Egyptian burials.
Arab methods of irrigation. Layard settling domestic quarrels; status
women in Arab culture. Customs of Arabs. Layard arranges for rafts to
artifacts, and then recovers the materials after they were stolen by
Arabs. Artifacts shipped to England.
- Chapter 10
- Excavations continue after Christmas, at NW palace. By April, 28
had been discovered. Ivory ornaments and tablets found. Copper vessels
found, but unable to be preserved. Pavement slabs with new names of
kings. Several tombs found, walled with brick; artifacts described.
of a building found under the tombs. About 100 wall panel slabs
found stacked up instead of on the walls. Discussion of how walled
were attacked. Bas-reliefs showing the sack of a city. SW chambers
but walls badly damaged by fire. Comparison between NW and SW palaces.
More tombs found, with buildings under them. Discovery of possible
for glass or metal manufacture.
- Chapter 11
- Layard decided to excavate at Kalah Sherghat. Passed bitumen
Initial statues found were badly defaced. Crumbled walls, tombs and
artifacts found, but no more statues in the initial dig (before Layard
arrived). Arab customs when moving. Description of the desolation of
ruins. Layard divided the crew into several groups and made exploratory
digs - tombs and fragments of Assyrian artifacts found. Description of
how Tigris river is gradually destroying the mound. Layard left people
to continue excavation, while he returned to Mosul. Arabs arguing
the night kept Layard awake. When the Arabs which accompanied Layard
to their home, they were attacked. Because of lack of grass, the Arabs
which camped near Kalah Sherghat left. Without their protection, the
were twice attacked by raiding parties, and Layard ordered the work
- Chapter 12
- Lack of rain caused crop failure and start of a famine. Bedouins
to plundering, making the excavation risky. Layard decided to move the
larger statues before the summer, expecting more serious trouble.
constructs a large cart to move the heavy statues, which amazed the
A huge trench "road" was needed to get the statues from the ruins
to the cart, which resulted in some accidental discoveries. Discussion
of skill of craftsmen in making bas-reliefs. Process of lowering the
to rollers. Arabs discuss why England wants the statues, and how a man
living far away could walk up to a mound and find a palace hidden for a
thousand years. Celebration at the success of moving the bull. Problems
getting to the river. The lion moved in similar fashion. Layard decided
to use rafts to move the bull and lion. Difficulty finding natives to
what Layard wanted. Construction of rafts of wood and inflated animal
Lion and bull loaded successfully. Increasing attacks by Arabs on
Workmen, fearing attacks, wanted to stop excavation. Layard ordered the
trenches filled up. Layard describes what one would see if they walked
through the dig, and how soon it would seem like a dream to someone
at the mound.
- Chapter 13
- Layard returned to Kouyunjik, since Nimroud was too dangerous.
that Nimroud, Kouyunjik, Khorsabad and Karamless formed corners of the
ancient city of Nineveh. Discussion of how to excavate an Assyrian
Chambers found on SW corner of mound. The palace had been destroyed by
fire, and the walls turned to lime. Comparisons of finds to those found
at Khorsabad and Nimroud. Some small glass bottles and clay tablets
Few inscriptions. Descriptions of bas-reliefs. Scenes of siege of a
city. Pictures of ships. Continued descriptions of war scenes on
which was their primary if not sole subject. Discussion of the
of the Assyrians. Mud bricks used because of lack of stone. Discussion
of use of alabaster and gypsum. Relationship between king and religion.
Close of excavation due to lack of funds. Artifacts prepared for
to England. Entertainment given to workmen before Layard left.
for leaving country.