ABSTRACT

THE first thing that I did when, in 1922, we startedthe excavations at Ur, was to dig trial trencheswhich might give us some idea of the lay-out of theold city. The main purpose was to trace the line of the great wall with which Nebuchadnezzar enclosed the Temenos or Sacred Area ofUr; Dr. Hall had cleared a short stretch of it in 1919, but since within the Temenos would lie the principal temples of the city it was necessary to establish as early as possible its exact limits as a guide to our future work. The trench designed to give us Nebuchadnezzar's south-east wall was laid down by guess-work, since there were no surface indications to help us, the ground here being badly denuded, and for most of its length our trench proved to lie actually inside the Temenos; at its south-west end two or three courses of the brick foundations of the wall were found, all the superstructure having been weathered away, but the rest of it produced no vestige of any building at all. The disappearance of the Late Babylonian structures did not of course mean that there was nothing to be found underneath, so I deepened the trench, and at once things began to happen; there turned up, sometimes singly, sometimes apparently in groups, clay vases (nearly all broken), limestone bowls, small bronze objects and quite a lot of beads made of glazed faience or stone; when the foreman spotted beads coming up and either he or one of the staff took over the task of excavating there might be gold beads as well, but none such were produced by our workmen.