Hidden women of history curator of the world’s first museum

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This series focuses on women throughout the ages who are often overlook. It belongs at a museum. These words spoken by Indiana Jones, the most famous fictional archaeologist. He created a long-standing association between archaeologists and antiquities that is rich in history. Jones would amaze at the historical setting of the first museum in the world and the extraordinary woman. Believed to have been its curator Ennigaldi Na, a Mesopotamian princess.

Ennigaldi-Nanna, the Neo-Babylonian King Nabonidus’s daughter, was the priestess for the moon deity Sin. Ennigaldi -Nanna worked to organize and label diverse antiquities in the ancient Mesopotamian town of Ur around 530 BCE. Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, a British archaeologist, considered this collection to be the first museum in existence.

Woolley and his crew were digging at Ur in 1925. The ruins of a Babylonian palace contained a strange collection of artifacts that they discovered. It was particularly remarkable that the pieces were not from the same historical locations and assembled neatly.

Dated From Approximately Women

These items date from approximately 2100 BCE to around 600 BCE. The items include a part of the statue of Shulgi, an early king who rule from 2058 BCE to 600 BCE, some texts, and a ceremonial stone mace-head. Woolley note that the statue had been meticulously restore in order to preserve the writing.

A Kassite boundary stele, also known as a kudurru, was also found. This document was use to make proclamations and mark boundaries. Woolley state that the stele was date around 1400 BCE and carried a terrific curse against anyone who destroy or removed the record.

Labels were attach to many items giving information about the artifacts. These labels were written in three languages including Sumerian. Modern scholarship has described these labels as early examples for the metadata, which is crucial to the preservation and restoration of antiquities.

The museum, which is more than 2,500 years old was centre on cultural heritage and may have had an educational purpose. Ennigaldi Naanna may have also been involve in other roles. She is thought to have manage a scribal school that was open only to elite women.

Woolley pointed out that it was not surprising to find a museum linked with the priestess, considering the close relationship between education and religious specialists. Woolley also mention the antiquarian piiety at the time the museum was built an interest history was a common trait among Neo-Babylonian monarchs.

History Is A Family Fascination

Ennigaldi Naanna’s love for the past may have been a family trait. Nabonidus, her father, was fascinate by history and led him to dig up lost texts and conduct excavations. He discover many of the items in this collection, and is sometimes refer to as the first archaeologist in the world.

Nabonidus, the last king in the Neo-Babylonian Empire was a religious reformer. Belshazzar, his eldest son, was his regent for many decades, but is most famous for his appearance in The biblical Book of Daniel. The famous scene in which the Regent is unable to see the end of Neo-Babylonian Kingdom comes when it is predict by a writing on a wall from a disembodied hands shows the tragic outcome.

King Nabonidus was interest in history beyond archaeology. He was also involve in the revival of ancient cultic traditions related to Sin (Sumerian Naanna). His daughter Ennigaldi, which is an ancient Sumerian name, was an integral part of his efforts.

Ennigaldi’s appointment as high priestess of Ur reaffirmed a historical trend that Sargon of Akkad made famous when he installed his daughter Enheduanna in the same role more than 1000 years ago.

Ennigaldi–Nanna was already in a religious role that had long been vacant and had forgotten the rituals. Nabonidus however describes how he found an ancient stela that belonged to Nebuchadnezzar II and used it to guide him.

Nabonidus, in his research on the requirements of her position, emphasized the historical aspects of Ennigaldi–Nanna’s appointment. According to the king, Ennigaldi-Nanna had consulted the writings of En-anedu’s sister En-sin, a former priestess women.

Rim-Sin ruled for over 1200 years, before Nabonidus was elect. Although some scholars question Nabonidus’ discovery the stela at Nebuchadnezzar, I, the acceptance of his recovery of En-anedu’s writings is greater.