Archaeology Odyssey 4:1, January/February 2001

Europe Confronts Assyrian Art

One civilization comes in contact with another

By Mogens Trolle Larsen

One morning in February 1846, a little over 150 years ago, the young Englishman Austen Henry Layard was returning to work after visiting his friend Sheikh Abd-ur-rahman, the head of a local Arab tribe. Layard had been in northern Mesopotamia for only three months, where he had begun to excavate a large mound called Nimrud.a In that time, he had struck up a friendship with the strikingly handsome and philosophical sheikh, with whom he went hunting for gazelle and hare in the steppe. As Layard rode into view of the Nimrud mound, a long low hill with a tower-like structure at its northern end, he was met by a couple of excited Arabs, who galloped towards him shouting, “Hurry, Bey, for they have found Nimrod himself!”

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