ZT Logbook

Update from the lab: lion.

Spread the love

Tina, our faunal analyst, reports that a find unique to Ziyaret Tepe was uncovered last week coming from the building, perhaps the residence of a wealthy person, that Kemalletin is excavating located in the lower town (Operation M). The ulna (lower forearm) of a lion (Panthera leo) was uncovered from inside a tannur (oven) in a room of the residence. It appears that the bone was modified into a tool, and although not evident from this photo, the bone is significantly polished. The shape of the original bone has been modified due to the intense polishing; however, it is unclear at this point what function the tool/ornament played. This discovery is quite exciting since it is rare to have lion bones uncovered from Late Assyrian contexts.

The lion was a symbol for royalty during the Assyrian Empire and one has to wonder what this bone represented in this context at Ziyaret Tepe. Many people are familiar with the Assyrian fascination with lions from the famous wall reliefs of King Ashurbanipal from the North Palace at Nineveh in northern Iraq. While we don’t have any carved limestone wall reliefs at Ziyaret Tepe, we do now have a lion!

Lion bone recovered in 2012 from Operation M.

By matney

Dr. Matney is Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology and Classical Studies at the University of Akron. He is the Director of the Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Expedition.

One reply on “Update from the lab: lion.”

If you can get Tina to add a little, I’d love to hear what features of the bone helped her identify it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *