The Golden Lyre of Ur at the Iraq Museum


Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
published on 21 March 2019
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This is the finest among all lyres found at the Royal Cemetry at Ur and was given to the Iraq Museum; the other lyres were divided between the British Museum in the UK and the Penn Museum in the USA. The head of this bull is a replica and the wood is a modern replacement. However, most of the inlays and decorations are original and composed of mother-of-pearl, shells, lapis lazuli, carnelian, and bitumen. The lyre was destroyed by looters somewhere between April 10 to 12, 2003 CE after the fall Saddam's regime and some parts were found smashed in the Museum's car park. The looters stripped off the gold and silver sheets. The lyre was restored afterwards. The original golden bull's head is stored in the Central Bank in Baghdad and is not on display. The lyre was found in the Great Death Pit, PG1237, at the Royal Cemetry of Ur (in southern Iraq) in 1929 CE by Leonard Wooley. Early Dynastic Period, c. 2500 BCE. On display at the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, Republic of Iraq.

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About the Author

Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
Associate Professor of Neurology and lover of the Cradle of Civilization, Mesopotamia. I'm very interested in Mesopotamian history and always try to take photos of archaeological sites and artifacts in museums, both in Iraq and around the world.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Amin, O. S. M. (2019, March 21). The Golden Lyre of Ur at the Iraq Museum. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Amin, Osama S. M. "The Golden Lyre of Ur at the Iraq Museum." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified March 21, 2019.

MLA Style

Amin, Osama S. M. "The Golden Lyre of Ur at the Iraq Museum." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 21 Mar 2019. Web. 24 Nov 2020.

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