Puabi: Queen of Ur

Puabi: Queen of Ur

During the first dynasty of Ur (Ca 2600 BCE) a women priestess or queen lived. Ur was an important Sumerian city-state, which is located in Mesopotamia which is present day Iraq.
Puabi is sometimes called Shubad, however this translation from the Akkadiam language was later found to be incorrect.

Her tomb was discovered by Leonard Woolley between 1922 and 1934. The tomb, uniquely for the region,had not been looted and contained bodies of 52 attendants to serve their mistress in the next world.

The jewels discovered in the tomb of Puabi were opulent and plentiful including rings, beads, belts, necklaces and bracelets. The most stunning jewel by far was a wondrous Golden Headdress.

Adorned richly in sliver, gold and stones this queen had laid for 4500 years prior to the discovery of her tomb.

On her head was the intricate and impressive golden headdress, she was wrapped in a cape of beads with lapiz, carnelian and golden examples. Golden pins with inset carnelians held the cylinders which identified her. Belts and Necklaces of beads and golden rings, golden hairpins and circular head bands adorned with beautifully crafted golden leaves.

A leaf themed headdress was also found to adorn an attendant who laid at the feet of the Queen.

A diadem created from a band of tiny lapiz beads which was further adorned with effigies of animals and plants, the apples, palm and grain represented are all believed to be a symbol of fertility.

Pendants of gold and lapiz in the form of fishes, and carved pendants in the form of calves.
Large lunate hooped earrings framing the face. A particular style of lapiz and gold interlocking bead arrangement was worn by Puabi and also those buried with her to be her attendants. A necklace of round ridged beads of lapiz and gold. Ten rings twisted golden wires, a choker pendant with central golden rosette suspended between three strands of gold and lapiz.

Along with the adornments of the deceased queen, we see opulent jewels worn by the attendants who were buried with her to serve her in the afterlife.

Both the queen and her attendants are adorned with crowns featuring eight petaled flowers, an emblem which is prevalent in Sumerian symbolism.

Twenty separate crowns were found during excavations along with plentiful beaded strands, mostly of lapiz, agate and gold. The lapiz was imported at great expense from Afghanistan, and such a large quantity of it shows great wealth.

The bead necklaces of the female attendants featured only bi-cone shaped beads.

Whether this lady was a queen or a priestess, the lavish jewels and the attendants / devotees who went to their death on her burial day communicate to us her extreme power and importance.

Thanks to the Penn museum for images and to Shukur of sumerianshakespeare for references.