The Honolulu Advertiser from Honolulu, Hawaii on November 4, 1928 · 41
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The Honolulu Advertiser from Honolulu, Hawaii · 41

Honolulu, Hawaii
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 4, 1928
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6j3 o u5 o ENTOMBED ALIVE ,i U ' ' y 1 'iff fvoyal. Dead f a .1 Human Victims Interred With Their Monarch to Insure His Comfort in the Land of the Dead, According to the Latest Findings of Archeologists in Excavations at Ancient City of Kish, Site of World's Oldest Known Civilization By Dexter Haynes LATEST reports Irom excavations at the site of the world's oldest known civilization reveal r horrible custom pursued by ancient rulers to Insure their comfort after death--servants en tombed alive with the royal dead! Prof. S. H. Langdon, of Oxford, leader of the Field Museum-Oxford University Joint expedition, now excavating the ancient Mesopotamian city of Kish, Is the authority for this discovery. In one royal tomb into which the expedition has Just penetrated four human skeletons were found under circumstances which Indicate that they were the remains of the victims of this ritual and were thus sacrificed to accompany their rulers Into the land of the dead. Prof. Langdon estimates that this inhuman practice was in vogue between 4000 B. C. and 3000 B. C. He maintains that thj theory regarding the reason , lil-r- - ' - children, all were women, each wearing , the same eliborate headdress, crescent-shaped earrings, a veil and a double string of lapis and carnelian beads from which hung gold pendants in the form .of mulberry leaves. "There could be little doubt that these women comprised the harem of the King," said Mr. Woolley. "It was a curious point that they had with them none of the objects which appear uniformly in common burials and were regarded as necessary for the next world, but the fact that such lack was not due to poverty Is proved by the richness of their headdress ornaments. "It must be concluded that they, like n& a 4 - - -s . 1 4 i , x , TnA frh, n-n v a .ukA.ili - , , m .1 a-Wa fcw ulu-xcu uictCf vvdc ouuwiua ior Pscc J "" ! " r:: nates to a common purpose; it was not royal tomb is supported by discoveries A,, .ac ft recently made in similar tombs at Ur, not far distant from Kish. "The King is dead death to his royal household!" Not an ancient battje-cry, but the grim chant of those faithful W their gruesome religion in. several countries thousands of years ago. When the tomb of a King of the Chaldees was opened earlier in the year, at Ur, under the supervision of C. Leonard Woolley, director of the joint expedition of the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania, the investigators found not a tomb but a hecatomb, the mummied relics of a massacre. The body of the King of Ur himself was not found, probably having been stolen shortly after its burial. But there was plenty of evidence not only that it was a royal tomb but that when the King passed n to his ancestors he took with him not only his war chariot and the asses which had drawn it, his gaming board and dice, but also his grooms, his servitors, his musicians and his wives. OP THE chariot and grave furnishings found there, Mr. Woolley wrote: "We never hoped to recover from the salt-laden soil of Iraq the design of things so perishable as this. Now, for the first time, we can realize the extraordinary richness of the furniture which a Sume-rlan King might possess in the middle of the fourth millennium before Christ. "The chariot had been drawn by two asses, and at the head of each ass lay a groom, as if still holding the reins, while a third groom lay by their side. "The whole group reminded one of the description that Herodotus gives of the funeral of a Scythian King, although whether here the animals and the men, had been impaled as in Scythia or merely killed and permitted to lie in their places there was no evidence to show. "On three sides of a chest and under the offerings piled upon it we found human bodies, not properly laid out for burial but huddled up as if death had overtaken them suddenly. The body at the chest seemed to be that of a person of some standing, for around ito forehead was a frontlet of beads of gold and lapis and two lengths of gold chain, while earrings of gold were on the ears. Perhaps the keeper of the wardrobe carried on nis duties to another world." Mr. Woolley explained that five other bodies lay in a shallow trench near the chariot and a sixth body on the edge of the trench. The rest of the bodies rere in parallel rows, and, except tot the The servitors and wives of an ancient Sumerian monarch were marched to the royal tomb and there buried alive to serve their master in the life after death. While many walked willingly to their doom, there were some who had to be coerced, according to latent discoveries by archeologists enter and hold a short ceremony, wishing the departed monarch a pleasant Journey in his new life and making sure everything is in order for his future comfort. The priests leave alone with measured, tread and the stone slab of the tomb is swung in pface and sealed, leaving tha King with his retainers to serve him. A SIMILAR gruesome and brutal custom was prevalent in Egypt during the First Dynasty, although the number of persons slain to accompany the dead did not equal those found in the tombs of Mesopotamia It was the practice in Egypt to murder the servants buried with the royal body rather than to bury them alive. This custom soon became modified In Egypt, however, and in place of skeletons of servants there have been found, in the later tombs, figures and pictures symbolizing the departed's staff of menials. These later Egyptian Kings paid much attention to the details of f urniture, wardrobe, Jewels and other paraphernalia which they were accustomed to use in this life, and it is through this elaborate burial furniture that archeologists have been able to learn so accurately how they lived. When the tomb of King Tutenkhamun was opened it was heralded as one of the most precious discoveries in Egyptology, '1 v. if y question of supplying their wants in the future life, because they died expressly to satisfy the wants of one greater than themselves. "Por there is no question here of the faithful servant dying and being buried with his master. The grooms and the asses were killed in cold blood. They were chattels which the King took with him in case -he might have need of them in the hereafter. Just as he took his silver and gold vessels, his copper adz, a set of spears, the women of his harem and his gaming board and dice." XTO STAGE setting could sueeest more vividly the action of the tragedy. Not not because its owner was one of the most even the skeletons of the maidens sacrificed to the "Rain God" In the Sacred Well of Yucatan could match in graphic qualities the silent testimony of the slaughtered Sumerians. The definite grouping of the bodies and the easy identification of these groups by their accouterments left little to speculation. Like the defenders of a fortress overwhelmed, they lay as they had died, each man at his post, each woman In her place, making reconstruction of the wholesale ritual of murder possible by cursory examination of the evidence. And yet these skeletons seem not so grisly as the few Just unearthed at Kish, for at Ur they were cleanly murdered by the knife, while at Kish they were burled alive. One visualizes with little effort the solemn march of death of the victims following the King's body into the great chamber which was to be his tomb and theirs. Ladie3 of the harem, radiant in their court regalia, lead the procession with faltering step. " Some of them seem weak and faint and will probably have to be carried into the sacrificial pit. Others are resigned to their fate and walk with firm, unfaltering tread, steadfast in the belief that the King who has provided for them in life will look after them in death. Other attendants, less richly-dressed, are following, and these in turn are followed by a score of servants stripped to the waist. They carry the utensils with which they will serve their master in the hereafter. Warriors in shining helmets walk beside their master's casket, which is drawn on a large ox-cart. Behind these follow the priests and mourners. At last the noble procession stands within the shadow of the tomb, those in the van of the procession enter, the casket is carried within on the shoulders of the guards. The priests ., -W' ;;,! ' -'If ' . j Si ,r-Dirst- 4i4 . 4,, i a - -sr-', VV ,f J gold Ornaments found in a woman's grave at Kish, which include a necklace, lapis-lazuli seal, copper hairpin, bracelet of agate beads, rings of silver and pins of bronze.' These are only a few of the modern vanities discovered at the site of this ancient city, which flourished 3000 to 5000 - years B. C. important rulers, for he was not, but because it was one of the few tombs yet opened that had escaped the vandal hands of grave-robbers and so contained a wealth of detail from which scholars could learn the life and customs of the people of that day with a great degree of accuracy. In this same light are the excavations now progressing ' at Kish regarded by archeologists. Prom their discoveries they . hope to reconstruct the detailed life of the peoples of Mesopotamia 3000 to 5000 years B. C. The season Just closed has been extremely fruitful in the recovery of treasured objects in the lower strata of the great temple mound of Eastern Kish, The excavators, in charge of L. C. Watelin, have attacked the huge complex of mounds which cover the temple area of the principal cult of the ancjent city, that of Harsagkalamma, the Earth Goddess. Two ancient stage towers, built in plano-convex bricks and never restored since before the days of Sargon (twenty-eighth century B. C), have been laid bare. The foundations of one of these towers lie at least forty feet below the top of the walls of a reconstruction of the temple of Harsagkalamma, undertaken first by Nebuchadnezzar and carried on by Nabonidus, last King of the Babylonian empire, and father of Belshazzar. This immense building, large sections of which have now been exposed by the excavators, lies upon the ruins of earlier buildings, and is the best preserved and largest example of a Babylonian temple ever exposed in Mesopotamia, says Prof. Langdon. For the first time in Babylonian excavations it is possible to obtain an idea of the upper part and roof of a temple, and obtain. complete material lor (c) Gebbia Co. Even the barbaric Aztec sacrifices to their "Bain God," reproduced above from a painting by P. Fritel, did not equal In cruelty the custom of living -f burial as practiced by the ancient .TV Sumerians 5- ' reconstructing its appearance, he declares. Walls reaching to the very top of the building and even part of the cornice have been preserved. -"Beneath the Noo-Babylonian temple of Nebuchadnezzar lies the earlier Su- merian temple. The tombs in which the human remains have been found lie thirty feet below the Nebuchadnezzar level. The removal of these remains was conducted under the supervision of Henry Field, assistant curator of physical anthropology at Field Museum. f AMONG the most notable discoveries in the tombs were an almost complete four-wheeled chariot, parts of another four-wheeler, and well-preserved remains of two two-wheeled chariots. With the first of these were found, beside the pole, skeletons of four oxen which drew it, which, liko their drivers, were sacrificed that they might enter the next world to serve their royal master. Copper rein guides ornamented with small figures of asses or bulls were also excavated. All this material is being shipped to Field Museum to be prepared for exhibition. Prof. Langdon says those pieces rank among the "most unique archeological objects ever found in the history of modern excavations." Three monumental gateways standing upon the ruins of earlier reconstructions A cemetery recently uncovered at ancient Kish and photographed witn an Arab standing on the site of each . tomb.. According to science, this district marks the world's earliest civilization yet discovered of the temple have been exposed. These earlier ruins extend right down to water leveL where lie the ruins of the oldest Sumerian kingdom before 3500 B. C It is planned in coming seasons to demolish the entire massive building above and excavate the entire area to this great depth in order to reach the monuments and records of the first dynasties. This will be a gigantic engineering task with the equipment and native labor available. Many priceless relics, which will bo shared between Field Museum and Oxford, have been found in the ancient debris during the last season. One of these is a late Sumerian statuette portrait of a woman holding a goblet and wine decanter, carved in alabaster. Another is a headless male figure in Sumerian dress, with hands folded in tha characteristic prayer gesture of about 3000 B. C. OTHER articles excavated Include similar symbolical seals, gold and lapis-lazuli beads, bracelets, hairpins and buckles. Bowls of alabaster and various types of . pottery have been uncovered. In one of the tombs, believed to date back to 3500 B. O. or further, was found what Prof. Langdon calls "the finest work of art ever recovered from the hand of the earliest civilization in the world." It is a copper candlestick, cast in three pieces, the base being a frog with inset shell eyes, from whose body arises the lotus stem and petals to hold, the candles. A sure proof that feminine nature has not changed3'appreciably in the last 5000 or 6000 years is revealed by the discovery of copper vanity cases containing manicure sets. They consist of pincers, tonga and sometimes nail files. Paint dishes and the remains of brushes for coloring the lips, cheeks and eyebrows have also been previously discovered. Obviously the women of the leisured classes of Kish from the earliest times were models of fashion and the arbiters of modes and elegance. . Thus, from the artifacts so far unearthed, along with the skeletons of servitors in the royal tombs, it Is seen that the ancient Sumerians were a strange mixture of the barbaric past and the ultra-modern. In later times, from 3000 B. C. on, the cruel ritual of entombing the living with the dead was abolished, says Prof. Langdon, as the Sumerians were too civilized to continue this custom. Inscriptions and archeological remains unearthed by the expedition at Jemdet-Nasr, sixteen miles away, prove that the earliest inhabitants of this area were really Elamltes, from whom the Sumerians descended, and it is -among the former that the practice of living burial was carried on, Prof. Langdon's researches indicate. 1( Covuricht tru PmVOo Zfdoer j" .j O 9

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