Pu-Abi (Akkadian "lit." "Word of my father") was an important personage in the
Sumerian city of Urwho lived about 2600-2500 BCE, during the First Dynasty of Ur. While she is normally labeled as a "queen", that title is somewhat in dispute.
What is known about Puabi is that, although she was an important figure among the non-Semitic Sumerians, she was in fact an Akkadian. This indicates a very high degree of cultural exchange and influence between the ancient Sumerians and their Semitic neighbors.
The Tomb of Puabi
Sir Leonard Woolley[cite book
last = Wooley
first = Leonard
title = Ur Excavations II, The Royal Cemetery
publisher = London-Philadelphia
location = Page 73 & ss
id = ] , the famed British
archaeologist, is credited with the discovery of the tomb of Pu-Abi, which was excavated along with some 1800 other graves at the "Royal Cemetery of Ur" by Woolley and his team between 1922 and 1934. Pu-Abi's tomb was nearly unique among the other excavations; not only because of the large amount of high quality and well-preserved grave goods, but also because her tomb had been untouched by looters through the millennia. She was also buried with five soldiers and 13 "ladies in waiting" — retainers who had apparently poisoned themselves (or been poisoned by others) to serve their mistress in the next world. The amount of grave goods that Woolley uncovered in Pu-abi's tomb was staggering: a magnificent, if heavy, golden headdress made of golden leaves, rings, and plates; a superb lyre, complete with the golden and lapis-lazuli encrusted bearded bulls head; a profusion of gold table ware, golden, carnelian, and lapis lazuli cylindrical beads for extravagant necklaces and belts; a chariot adorned with lioness' heads in silver, and an abundance of silver, lapis lazuli, and golden rings and bracelets.
The excavated treasures from Woolley's expedition were divided between the
British Museumin London, the University of Pennsylvania Museumin Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniaand the National Museum in Baghdad. Several pieces were looted from the National Museum in the aftermath of the Second Gulf War in 2003. Recently, several of the more spectacular pieces from Pu-Abi's grave have been the feature of a highly successful Art and History Museum tour through the United Kingdom and America.
* [http://www.arthistory.upenn.edu/522/puabi/puabi.html Plan of Queen Puabi's gravesite.]
* [http://www.museum.upenn.edu/new/exhibits/ur/index.shtml Royal Tombs of Ur at the University of Pennsylvania Museum]
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