Biblical Archaeology Review 26:1, January/February 2000

Abraham’s Ur: Did Woolley Excavate the Wrong Place?

By Molly Dewsnap Meinhardt

The ancient woodwork has perished, the metal has been stripped from the walls,” Sir Leonard Woolley wrote in 1936. “The ruins which excavation lays bare are but skeletons from which the skin and flesh have gone, and to re-create them in imagination we must use such evidence as the ruins may afford, eked out by descriptions in the cuneiform texts. A king will boast how he overlaid the doors of a sanctuary with gold, and amongst the ashes on the threshold of a temple gateway there may be found shreds of gold leaf overlooked by plunderers who sacked and burned the building; a fallen scrap of painted plaster can give a hint as to the adornment of a ceiling.”1

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