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BIC Excellence Award

Recovering the Lost City of Adab

By Jacob Lauinger, Monica Louise Phillips, Benjamin Studevent-Hickman and Karen Wilson

Paperback, 194 pages £62.00
Published: 2012
ISBN: 9781885923639
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Subjects: Ancient Near East, Archaeology, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
Series: Oriental Institute Publications

An expedition from the University of Chicago excavated the site of Bismaya (ancient Adab) from December 24, 1903, until late June 1905. The excavations were directed first by Edgar J. Banks and then, briefly, by Victor S. Persons. Over 1,000 artifacts, many of them early cuneiform documents, were sent to Chicago, where they are now housed in the Oriental Institute Museum The results of the Bismaya excavations were never properly published, and most of the material was never published at all. Banks wrote a lively and highly readable popular account, Bismya, or the Lost City of Adab, that appeared in 1912 and gave the impression that his field methods were considerably less than satisfactory. However, that was not the case. Banks kept a careful field diary, complete with highly accurate sketches, and sent detailed weekly reports, lavishly illustrated with his own drawings, back to Chicago. These materials show that he excavated a mid-third millennium B.C. temple and discovered some of the world' s first historical inscriptions incised on stone vessels dedicated in that structure. He also uncovered residences of the late Early Dynastic period, two Akkadian administrative centers, and a palace of the Isin-Larsa/Old Babylonian period. This monograph presents this large and significant corpus of unpublished material and includes analyses of stratigraphy, architecture, sculpture, cylinder seals, metalwork, and pottery, and discussions of chronology, the succession of the first kings of Adab, and administrative practices during the third millennium B.C.

1. A Note on the Sources 2. Early Exploration 3. The University of Chicago Expedition to Bismaya and "the Oldest Statue in the World" 4. The Site, the City, and the City Wall 5. Mound I - "The Palace": A Palace of the Isin-Larsa/Old Babylonian Period 6. Mound II - "The Cemetery": Residence(s) of the Late Early Dynastic Period and Remains of the Isin-Larsa/Old Babylonian Period 7. Mound III - "The Semitic Quarter": An Akkadian Administrative and Light Industrial Complex 8. Mound IV - "The Library": An Administrative Center During the Reign of Sharkalisharri 9. Mound V - "The Temple": A Series of Temples of the Third Millennium B.C. 10. Mound X - Residences of the Akkadian Period? 11. The Remaining Mounds 12. Objects Whose Findspots Could Not Be Determined 13. Objects Purchased by the Expedition 14. Archaeology and the History of Bismaya Appendix A. Early Dynastic Tablets from Adab in the Collection of the Oriental Institute Museum. Monica Louise Phillips Appendix B. The Ur III Administrative Tablets from Adab in the Collection of the Oriental Institute Museum. Benjamin Studevent-Hickman Appendix C. The Old Babylonian Tablets from Adab in the Collection of the Oriental Institute Museum. Jacob Lauinger Appendix D. A7447 - The Inscription. Aage Westenholz Appendix E. Objects from Bismaya Now in the Collection of the Eski Sark Museum, Istanbul Appendix F. List of Objects by Oriental Institute Museum Number Appendix G. Bibliography of Works by Edgar J. Banks

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 194 pages

BIC Code:
  HIS002000, HIS026000, HIS027000, SOC003000
 Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago


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Jacob Lauinger
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