Biblical Archaeology Review 10:5, September/October 1984

Woolley’s Ur Revisited

By Richard L. Zettler

Sir Leonard Woolley was, perhaps, the most famous archaeologist of his day. He was a man of enormous energy and a prodigious worker. Between 1907 and 1949 Woolley not only directed five major excavations in Egypt and Nubia, Syria and Iraq, but published the results quickly and in a highly professional manner.

Between 1922 and 1934, Woolley directed 12 seasons of excavations at the site of ancient Ur (Tell el-Mukayyar) in southern Iraq on behalf of the loins Expedition of the British Museum and The University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Even after 12 years, he had uncovered only a small part of the site. By comparison with current excavations, however, his excavations were very large-scale. The scale of operations paid off; the excavations produced an enormous amount of information on the history and topography of the ancient city and on the material culture of ancient Mesopotamia.

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