The Great Fatted Bull
Tablet #36
Sumerian Images
Sumerian History
The Royal Tombs of Ur
Pu-abi's Regalia
The "Standard" of Ur?
Standard of Ur:  Narrative
Vulture Stele Translation
Sumerian War Chariots
War Chariot Deconstructed
Gudea Translation
The Face of Gudea
The Face of Ur-Ningirsu
The Face of Lugal-agrig-zi
Ur-Namma Translation
The Face of Ur-Namma
Face of Ur-Namma, part II
I am Ur-Namma
The Face of Shulgi
Who Were the Sumerians?
Other Sumerian Kings
The Princess Wife
The Great Fatted Jackass
Mesopotamian Prostitutes
Sumerian Queens
Unknown Sumerian Queen
Pu-abi, the Queen?
A Sumerian Princess
The Divine Right to Rule
Sargon's Victory Stele
Helmet: the King of Kish
The Standard of Mari?
The Battles of Ishqi-Mari
The Invention of Writing
Adventures in Cuneiform
The Sumerian Scribe
A Masterpiece
Site Map

Sumerian necklaces: Click on any of the images to display them in a separate window for additional magnification. Click here to see a high-resolution photograph of these necklaces.

"The archaeologist Leonard Woolley found these beads and pendants in the burial shaft and on the floor of one of the first Royal Graves at Ur to be excavated. The objects on the floor of the tomb may have belonged to human attendants, as discovered in similar tombs, while those found in the shaft may have been left as offerings, when the tomb was being filled with soil after the burial."  The British Museum.

The Sumerians believed it was necessary to bring gifts (bribes) for the gods and goddesses of the underworld to insure the deceased had a comfortable stay in the afterlife. For instance, King Ur-Namma made sure to bring many expensive gifts for the deities of the netherworld (see "The Death of Ur-Namma", lines 76-131). This is the reason why many feminine articles (jewelry) were found in the graves of men, and many masculine articles (daggers) were found in the graves of women.

Queen Pu-abi: When she was found by Leonard Woolley, 4,500 years after she was buried, she was still wearing this elaborate headdress, and the entire upper portion of her body was covered in jewelry.

Queen Pu-abi's beaded cape, belt, and jewelry. The circle on the lower left is her garter; on the lower right is her wrist cuff (bracelet). See an enlarged photograph of the cape.

Queen Pu-abi, in all her regalia: Her jewelry weighed 14 pounds. This is a recent reconstruction (2009) of the queen's finery, done by the UPenn Museum.  See the above photograph additionally enlarged.

For some beautiful high-resolution pictures, see Pu-abi's Regalia on this website.

Katerine Woolley's original construction of Pu-abi's headdress.  Note how it differs in some details to the Penn Museum's version above. See an enlarged view.

Katerine Woolley's original construction of Pu-abi's headdress.  Note how it differs in some details to the Penn Museum's version above. See an enlarged view.

Side view of the headdress.

Gold pin with a carnelian head.  Three similar large pins were found on Queen Pu-abi. They were used to pin her cylinder seals to her cloak. It was Pu-abi's cylinder seals that identified her. They can be seen in the Exploration section.  See an enlargement of this and two other pins. See also a large silver pin, and an enlargement of the "hand" pin.

Silver ring of Pu-abi's headdress.

Gold pin. Probably used to hold Pu-abi's hair at the back of her head.

Circular headband, made of gold, carnelian and lapis lazuli. It was worn by one of the queen's attendants, who was found lying at the foot of Pu-abi's funeral bier. 

Part of Queen Pu-abi's headdress: See a high resolution photo of this item.

Part of the elaborate detail on Pu-abi's diadem.

The entire diadem can be seen under additional magnification at the UPenn Museum.

Details of the diadem. These were originally labeled as "stalks of grain", but were later identified as apples (center) and the male and female flowers of the date palm; all of which are believed to be symbols of fertility.

Miniature twin antelopes similar to the antelopes on the above diadem.

Gold and lapis lazuli fish. They were found on Queen Pu-abi, close to the pins that held her cylinder seals to her cloak. They were part of a decorative pendant like the ones seen below. See where they were found.

Beads of lapis lazuli and agate. The bottom amulet is in the shape of a calf. This pendant was used to hold another of Pu-abi's cylinder seals attached to a pin on her cloak.  Enlarge.

The third bead pendant used to hold Pu-abi's cylinder seals: The bottom amulet would have held a shaft that went through the cylinder seal. The amulet would have served as a handle when rotating the cylinder seal across a damp clay tablet, like the cylinder seal and handle pictured below, from Uruk:

These are either "lunate earrings" or part of a headdress that hung beside the ear. See an enlarged view.

This kind of triangular beads of gold and lapis lazuli were worn by Queen Pu-abi and many of the attendants in other graves.  Enlarge.

More examples of the same triangular beads.  See them additionally enlarged.

Pu-abi's choker necklace.

Detail of Pu-abi's beaded cape:  See a section of the beads under additional magnification.

Pu--abi's beaded belt with gold rings.

Gold and lapis lazuli necklace.  The Sumerians, more than any other people in the world, loved lapis lazuli. For them, it represented fabulous wealth, literally and as well as figuratively. It is not indigneous to Sumer, and was mined in faraway Afghanistan. Because it had to be imported over vast distances, it was very expensive.

Bull amulet. It was found lying loose in the soil outside one of the tombs. Queen Pu-abi had similar amulets on her headdress. Height and width: 1.5 centimeters (.6 of an inch).  See an enlarged view.

Silver fastener. There is also a gold version of the pin.

Two of Pu-abi's gold rings.  Many of the women in the Great Death Pit wore similar rings.

Two more of Pu-abi's gold rings: When found, she was wearing ten rings on her fingers. See an enlargement of the ring on the left.

Gold and lapis lazuli drinking straw.  The straw is several feet in length. It also had an angled silver mouthpiece to make it easier to use.  Enlarge.

Above is a shell plaque found in Queen Pu-abi's tomb. It shows ibexes rearing up on their hind legs to feed on the leaves of a high branch. Note the eight-pointed rosette in the center.

Queen Pu-abi's attendants, who were sacrificed to serve her in the afterlife: 

Many women were buried with Queen Pu-abi.

All of the queen's attendants wore elaborate headdresses and were heavily bejeweled.

Another view of the same attendant. See an enlarged image of her.

Flowers from a headdress. It's not know for certain what particular symbolism the Sumerians attached to the eight-pointed rosette, but it occurs throughout their cultural history. It can be seen on the shell plaque pictured above, on all of the headdresses, and on many other artifacts.

Rosette flowers from the comb of a headdress.

Circular headband.

                                 Gold ear pendants from a headdress.

Detail of a headdress. Not only did Queen Pu-abi's attendants wear this kind of headdress, but so did  many other women in many other tombs. There were so many headdresses that Woolley reported that he was sick of finding them. In the drawing of the "Great Death Pit" there were at least 20 women with similar headdresses. See a high-resolution photograph of the side of the headdress.

A procession of all these bejeweled women, with their headdresses sparkling in the sun, must have been an impressive sight; though a melancholy one, considering the circumstances.

The headdress and jewelry of a female attendant.  This photograph is quite stunning when enlarged.

Gold and carnelian necklace.  See another carnelian necklace.

Part of a headband: made of gold, carnelian and lapis lazuli.  It was found in PG1237, the Great Death Pit, as was the headband shown below:

Detail of a another headdress.

Detail of a headband.

Gold and carnelian beads. The gold beads of this type were made of gold foil wrapped around a bitumen core.

Bands of assorted beads, either necklaces or headbands. The lower strand is from the grave of a male. See another similar band.

Beads: gold, lapis lazuli, and etched carnelian.  Enlarge.  See another bead of etched carnelian.

Beads. The center stone is an agate.

Necklace: Gold, carnelian, jasper, and marble. It looks very modern.  See alternative view of this necklace (with a different arrangement of the beads) along with two similar necklaces.

Necklace of gold, lapis, and carnelian.

Neclace. See the necklace additionally enlarged.

Some Sumerian necklaces are very ornate. See an enlargement of the three necklaces.

Necklace ca 3000 - 2650 B.C.  Not all Sumerian necklaces were made of precious materials. The beads of this neclace are made of steatite stone. Similar necklaces were found in the Tombs of Ur.

Gold and lapis necklaces found in the "Great Death Pit."  See an enlargement of the necklaces.

Necklaces worn by some of the female attendants.  Note the shape of the beads. 

Sumerian necklace.  It wasn't found in the Royal Tombs, but it's typical of Sumerian jewelry of this period. It has swirl patterns similar to the necklace at the top of the page.

Babylonian necklace.  It was made 1,000 years after the Royal Tombs of Ur. Note how the swirl patterns and the shape of the gold beads continue the Sumerian tradition of jewelry.

Gold bead with filigree.

See more high-resolution photographs of necklaces found in the Royal Tombs of Ur.

Gold headband. It wasn't found in a royal tomb, but in a simple burial (PG 153) that contained a single body.  Enlarge the picture to see the details of the drawing.

A gold and lapis lazuli pendant of Imdugud, the lion‑headed eagle. It is part of the "Treasure of Ur", a stash of art works that was found in the Akkadian city of Mari.

Wrist cuffs (bracelets) worn by many of the women in the "Great Death Pit" and in the tomb of Queen Pu-abi.

Child's diadem (seen below) and two other pendants.

Child's royal diadem, made of gold, carnelian and lapis lazuli. The pendant is shown below. Click on either picture to enlarge it.

In case you missed it earlier, see some high-resolution photos of Queen Pu-abi's regalia.

Continue the tour to: Miscellaneous,  or go to:  Exploration,  Lyres,  Vessels,  Weapons.