World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Lyres of Ur

Detail of the "Peace" panel of the Standard of Ur showing lyrist, excavated from the same site as the Lyres of Ur.

The Lyres of Ur or Harps of Ur are considered to be the world's oldest surviving stringed instruments. In 1929, archaeologists discovered pieces of three lyres and one harp in Ur, located in what was Ancient Mesopotamia and is contemporary Iraq.[1][2] They are over 4,500 years old.[3]

Leonard Woolley led the team that discovered the instruments as part of his excavation of the Royal Cemetery of Ur from 1922 and 1934. The instrument remains were restored and distributed between the museums that took part in the digs.

Four lyres

The "Golden Lyre of Ur" or "Bull's Lyre" is the finest lyre, and was given to the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad.[4] Its reconstructed wooden body was damaged due to flooding during the second Iraqi War;[5][6] a replica of it is being played as part of a touring orchestra.[1]

The "Queen's Lyre" is one of two that Woolley found in the grave of Queen Pu-abi.[3] It is held in the British Museum.[3]

A silver Boat-shaped Lyre and a lyre with the head of a bull made of gold sheet and a lapis lazuli beard are held by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Ancient Iraqi harp reproduced by Liverpool engineers".  
  2. ^ Golden Lyre of Ur, Bill Taylor
  3. ^ a b c Queen's Lyre - From Ur, southern Iraq, about 2600-2400 BC, British Museum
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  5. ^ Matthew Bogdanos. "The Casualties of War: The Truth about the Iraq Museum | American Journal of Archaeology". Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  6. ^ Carl McTague. "The Lyre of Ur, Carl McTague". Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  7. ^ "Two Lyres from Ur, Maude de Schauensee". Retrieved 2014-03-17. 

See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.