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Gertrude Bell and IraqA life and legacy$
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Paul Collins and Charles Tripp

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266076

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266076.001.0001

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‘Better than Any Ruined Site in the World’: Gertrude Bell and the Ancient City of Assur

‘Better than Any Ruined Site in the World’: Gertrude Bell and the Ancient City of Assur

(p.77) 4 ‘Better than Any Ruined Site in the World’: Gertrude Bell and the Ancient City of Assur
Gertrude Bell and Iraq

Lisa Cooper

, Paul Collins, Charles Tripp
British Academy

During Bell’s first journeys into Mesopotamia, undertaken in 1909 and 1911, she had occasion to visit the ancient sites of Babylon and Assur when they were being excavated by teams of German archaeologists. This chapter discusses in particular Bell’s visit to the ruins of the Assyrian capital of Assur, and her interactions with the site’s German director, Walter Andrae. Bell greatly admired Andrae’s excavation methods, given his attention to stratigraphy, his focus on both elite and non-elite urban contexts and his comprehensive system of architectural recording. She also valued their scholarly exchanges, which included discussions of the development of architectural forms such as the vault and the Parthian iwān. In all, Andrae had a profound effect on Bell’s archaeological scholarship, especially influencing her understanding of later Islamic architectural features such as those exhibited at the castle of Ukhaidir, and her admiration for Andrae would continue up to the end of her life.

Keywords:   archaeological excavations, Mesopotamia, Assur (Qal`at Sherqat), Walter Andrae, Vaults, Parthian iwān, Hatra, Ukhaidir

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