Gold Headdress, 2600 BC, Gold Leaves, Strings of Lapis and Camelian
This ornate headdress and pair of earrings were found with the body of Queen Puabi in the Royal Cemetery at Ur. The headdress is made up of 20 gold leaves, two strings of lapis and carnelian, and a large gold comb. In addition, she wore chokers, necklaces, and large lunate-shaped earrings.
Her upper body was covered by strands of beads made of precious metals and semiprecious stones that stretched from her shoulders to her belt. Ten rings decorated her fingers. A diadem or fillet made up of thousands of small lapis lazuli beads with gold pendants depicting plants and animals was apparently on a table near her head.
Two attendants were in the chamber with Puabi, one crouched near her head, the other at her feet. Various metal, stone, and pottery vessels lay around the walls of the chamber.
Her name and title are known from the short inscription on one of three cylinder seals found on her person. Although most women’s cylinder seals at the time would have read “wife of ___,” this seal made no mention of her husband. The fact that Puabi is identified without the mention of her husband may indicate that she was queen in her own right. If so, she probably reigned prior to the time of the First Dynasty of Ur, whose first ruler is known from the Sumerian King List as Mesannepada.