Although the Assyrian kingdom that dominated the Ancient Near East between the ninth and seventh centuries BC had a rich material culture, attested particularly by the distinctive stone wall reliefs and colossal gateway figures, practically nothing is known about Assyrian metalwork. There has been no previous survey of this subject, largely because most of the material was not accessible. This volume makes available for the first time a vast amount of previously unpublished metalwork, much of it from the Assyrian capital city of Nimrud, excavated first by Sir Henry Layard between 1845 and 1851 and then by the British School of Archaeology in Iraq between 1949 and 1963. It emerges that Assyria had a thriving metalworking industry probably superior to any contemporary state in the region, and was producing large quantities of sophisticated bronze and ironwork, of high technical quality and sometimes elaborately decorated. This book will therefore be of interest to archaeologists, art historians and metallurgists. It is the publication of a PhD thesis that was successfully submitted in 1979. It is published here in its original form in order to make the large amount of primary data that it contains available to a wider circle of scholars.
John Curtis is Keeper of Special Middle East Projects at the British Museum and a Fellow of the British Academy. His personal research interests focus on the archaeology and history of Iraq and Iran, c.1000-330 BC. He is the author of a number of books including An Examination of Late Assyrian Metalwork, Ancient Persia, The Oxus Treasure, Forgotten Empire (with Nigel Tallis) and The Horse: From Arabia to Royal Ascot (with Nigel Tallis).
Introduction Chapter I. Review Of The Evidence Introduction A) Nimrud B) Nineveh C) Khorsabad D) Ashur E) Balawat F) Sharif Khan G) Tell Billa H) Tell al Rimah I) Tell Abu Marya J) Sites in the Makhmur Plain K) Assyrian metalwork abroad Chapter II. Tools And Weapons Introduction A) Axes B) Axe-adze C) Adzes D) Pick-axes E) Saws F) Ploughshares G) Sickle-blades H) Hoes I) Knife-blades J) Needles and bodkins K) Wedges L) Miscellaneous tools M) Daggers N) Swords O) Scabbards P) Spearheads Q) Spear-butts R) Arrowheads S) Quivers T) Quiver-pin U) Helmets V) Shields W) Armour scales Chapter III. Fixtures And Fittings Introduction A) Foundation plaques and bosses B) Miniature symbols C) Model dogs D) Masonry clamps E) Brick-stamps F-G) Wall-pegs and plaques H) Pivot-casings I) Gate-post caps J) Holdfasts for doors K) Door-lock(?) L) Bronze gate overlay M) Metal overlay for columns N) Bronze overlay for `hands of Ishtar' O) Ring fixtures P) Movable temple furniture Q) Grappling-irons and chains R) Pulley-wheels S) Altar- and throne-bases Chapter IV. Tripods, Vessels And Weights A) Tripods B) Cauldrons and large vessels C) Bowls and other small vessels D) Buckets E) Strainers F) Spoons G) Lamps H) Weights Chapter V. Furniture And Boxes Introduction A) Complete items of furniture B) Furniture legs and feet C) Furniture finials D) Bronze furniture overlay E) Applied furniture ornaments F) Furniture hinges and connecting rods G) Holdfasts for boxes H) Box hinges I) Box handles J) Decorative plaques for boxes Chapter VI. Horse Harness And Chariot Fittings Introduction A) Horse-bits B) Decorative bosses C) Blinker ornaments D) Bronze bells E) Decorative bronze plaques F) Decorative bronze caps G) Bronze nail-studs H) Tubular beads I) Corrugated caps and their fittings J)`Torques' K) Wire tassel L) Figure-of-eight plaques M) Bronze toggles N) Linch-pins O) Wheel-flange(?) Chapter VII. Personal Ornaments Introduction A) Bracelets B) Anklets C) Finger-rings D) Earrings E) Hair-rings F) Torques G) Fibulae H) Pendants I) Beads J) Moulds K) Garment plaques L) Pins M) Belts N) Belt-buckles O) Mirrors P) Tweezers Q) Spatulae Chapter VIII. Varia A) Mace-heads B) Standards C) Iron ingots D) Statuary E) Cymbals Chapter IX. The Industry A) Organization B) Techniques C) Ore sources Chapter X. Conclusions A) Ironwork B) Bronzework C) Gold, Silver and lead D) The introduction of iron E) An indigenous tradition? F) Status of Assyrian metalwork G) Historical conclusions Catalogue 1) Tools and weapons 2) Fixtures and fittings 3) Tripods, vessels and weights 4) Furniture and boxes 5) Horse harness and chariot fittings 6) Personal ornaments 7) Varia