Mausoleum of the 3rd dynasty of Ur Kings

The Third Dynasty Cemeteries

The Mausoleum of King Shulgi and his Son Amar-Sin is the most important monument of the Third Dynasty after the Ziggurat of Ur-Nammu, the Cemeteries were excavated in Woolley’s eighth and ninth season. However, tombs for the rest of the kings, including Ur-Nammu the founder of the Third Dynasty, have not yet been located. The mausoleum was in actuality three distinct baked brick buildings that formed a superstructure measuring 35 meters in length by 27 meters in width.

  1. The Central Building: Stamped bricks bearing the name of King Shulgi are located throughout the largest central building, yet it remains uncertain if he was ever entombed within the structure. Woolley counted twelve rooms and two tomb chambers. He designated the tombs as the northwest chamber and the southeast chamber, and each was accessible via brick staircases. Both tombs had been looted and damaged in antiquity. However, Woolley did recover some human remains that indicated multiple burials. The rooms were in varying stages of preservation, with damage. Much of the structure was heavily damaged, initially by fire from the Elamite invasion, and later when Isin-Larsa builders constructed houses over the tombs.
  2.  The Southeast Annex: the southeast annex were attributed to Amar-Sin, King Shulgi’s son. However, it is not definitively known if this was his tomb. The southeast annex had an identical floor plan to the central building, only on a smaller scale. The building consisted of a paved courtyard, 10 rooms and 2 burial chambers, surrounded by walls with slightly rounded corners. While much of the walls were preserved when Woolley conducted his excavations, he noted that Kassite houses had destroyed the eastern wall. Similarly, many of the floors had been destroyed or had disintegrated into dirt, but the burial chambers still retained floors made of bricks coated with bitumen. However, the tombs had been thoroughly plundered by the time Woolley found them. The most important find was located under room six, the conical stem of a chalice bearing an inscription dedicated to Gilgamesh. Woolley said: “It was an object rare in itself, but unfortunately threw no light on the ownership of the tomb.”
  3. The Northwest Annex: The northwest annex is also attributed to Amar-Sin; however, it is not likely that he would have been in possession of two tombs. Woolley did not find any artifacts that would shed light on the tomb’s occupant, and it remains unknown to this day whose burial chamber was located in the northwest annex. The building consisted of seven rooms, including a courtyard plus three burial chambers.