Wednesday, June 27
Iraq's First Archeologist
"When Hormuzd Rassam went to work in January of 1846 as an assistant to Austen Henry Layard, Rassam was 19 years old and eager to help the man who had come from England to dig out a buried palace near Rassam’s home town of Mosul. Six years earlier, while en route to visit an uncle in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Layard had passed through Mosul, in northern Iraq and then under Ottoman control. There Layard met the British vice-consul for Mosul, Christian Rassam, who showed his guest around the area. The men got along well. Of all he saw, Layard wrote, nothing intrigued him more than the two great sets of mounds called Nabi Younis and Koyunjik that lay across the Tigris river from Mosul, on its east bank, said to be the ruins of ancient Assyrian Nineveh. Days later and a few kilometers downriver, Layard saw the towering cone of Assyrian Nimrud, 'and the impression that it made upon me was one never to be forgotten.' The scenes were so compelling, he wrote, that 'my thought ran constantly upon the possibility of exploring with the spade those great ruins.' ..."
W - Hormuzd Rassam
BBC: The men who uncovered Assyria
This artist’s depiction of the grand entrance to a four-chambered temple built by Ashurnasirpal II at the northwest part of Nimrud was excavated under Layard and Rassam in 1846. It shows the human-headed lions that today stand on display in London (next); the artist also showed the palace in the vivid colors that may have resembled its original condition.