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Altorientalische Forschungen

Ed. by Novák, Mirko / Hazenbos, Joost / Mittermayer, Catherine / Suter, Claudia E.

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Volume 42, Issue 1


After the Court Moved Away: A Reinterpretation of the Ivory Finds within the Royal Palaces of Kalḫu

David Kertai
  • Corresponding author
  • The Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905, Israel
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Published Online: 2016-03-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/aofo-2015-0005


Excavations at Kalḫu (modern Nimrud) have resulted in a collection of ivories that are exceptional in their quantity, quality and diversity. They have been used to assess the appreciation and use of ivories by the Assyrian royal court. A re-examination of the archaeological contexts in which ivories were found within the Northwest Palace and Fort Shalmaneser suggests that most belong to the period after the royal court had moved away. In the few preserved contexts, imported and Assyrian ivories were generally intermixed. These contexts are easiest to explain if one assumes that imported and Assyrian ivories were used side by side. Nimrud’s complicated history during the 7th century B.C., however, argues against such a simple equation. The ivories were rarely found in their original contexts and were much affected by the looting, sack and abandonment of the palaces. The recontextualisation of the ivory finds into their 7th century contexts brings different, non-royal agents to the fore within the Assyrian palaces.

Keywords: Architecture; Ivory; Northwest Palace; Fort Shalmaneser; Kalḫu; Nimrud


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-03-11

Published in Print: 2015-06-01

Citation Information: Altorientalische Forschungen, Volume 42, Issue 1, Pages 112–121, ISSN (Online) 2196-6761, ISSN (Print) 0232-8461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/aofo-2015-0005.

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