Death and the maidens

From Death and the maidens.

Dozens of maidens, wearing headdresses of gold and lapis lazuli, walked down into a tomb in Mesopotamia 4,600 years ago. Each raised a cup to her lips, drank some poison, and lay down to die, hoping to join a king or other royal figure in the afterlife.

It is an enduring tale from one of archaeology’s most famous excavations, pieced together in the late 1920s after the discovery of several such "death pits" full of jewel-encrusted skeletons with clay cups at their sides.

Last week, Aubrey Baadsgaard set out to prove the story wrong.

(I’ve removed the link to, as this story is no longer on their website.)

One thought on “Death and the maidens

  1. So they weren’t poisoned underground; they were killed, semi-mummified and then taken underneath. That makes it so much better, somehow, and less horrible? I don’t understand the “thrill” of studying ancient civilizations which practiced ritual murder (aka sacrifice). I’m not quite tolerant enough to say that’s ok.

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