Archaeological evidence for the queens of Assyria
The most spectacular find of treasures in Iraq during recent times was the Neo-Assyrian queens’ tombs discovered at Nimrud . In 1989-90 the State Organization of Antiquities in Iraq, while reconstructing parts of the palace of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BCE), came upon four vaulted burial chambers. In two of them, Tombs II and III, they discovered the extraordinarily rich burials of several Assyrian queens. The tombs held more than sixty kilograms of gold, bronze, silver and electron objects, hundreds of precious, semiprecious and crystallized stones, textiles and other materials. These objects give an idea of the splendor of Mesopotamian civilization and, in particular, Assyrian culture. Historically speaking, the treasures range in date over a long period. As can be seen from the copies provided here, the inscriptions date from King Kurigalzu II (1332-1308 BC) of Babylonia to the time of King Sargon II (721-705) of Assyria . Inscriptions naming the deceased and physical remains that were well enough preserved to permit scientific study reveal that the Queens’ Tombs, as they are known, contained high-ranking male or eunuch courtiers, children, and generations of elite palace women. The women may have included queen mothers, primary and/or secondary wives, and the sisters and daughters of the king. Luckily, ancient robbers left tombs undisturbed . Indeed, around 119 large pieces of jewellery and gold were recovered (Fig.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 and Fig.9 ).
Nimrud tombs contain inscriptions, seals and different objects of the Assyrian queens Yabȃ, Banītu, Ataliya, Hamȃ and Mulissu-mukannišat-Ninua . Archaeological resources and cuneiform texts revealed the name of the ten Assyrian queens. But unfortunately, we are able to obtain accurate information of only very few of these queens. We know little beyond the names some of the queens . Now let’s examine the individual records of Assyrian queens.