During the late 1920s, Leonard Woolley, a British archaeologist, discovered a lavish Mesopotamian tomb in southern Iraq that had never been seen before. The tomb, dated back 4,500 years, contained a royal skeleton covered in gold and precious stones, accompanied by three other bodies believed to be servants. What made this discovery extraordinary was the fact that it was a woman’s tomb, and the discovery shocked the world at the turn of the 20th century.
The woman’s name was Queen Puabi, who lived in the peak of Ur’s dominance around 2600 B.C. During her reign, Ur was a prosperous ancient city-state that dominated the Sumerian territory between the Tigris and Euphrates. The city was renowned for its flourishing trade, reaching from India to modern-day Sudan, which made Ur extremely wealthy. Although there are no historical texts that mention Puabi, many historians believe she may have been a ruler in her own right, as her seal does not mention a husband.
The queen’s tomb contained a golden headpiece adorned with intricately crafted leaves and standing flowers, and each finger on the wearer’s hands was adorned with a golden ring. A golden belt with golden loops wrapped around the wearer’s waist, adding to the grandeur of the discovery. The queen’s name has been passed down through the ages due to a lapis-lazuli stamp affixed to her burial robe.
Rita Wright, an archaeologist, textile expert, and emeritus professor of anthropology at New York University, has accomplished the first-ever analysis of Sumer Queen Puabi’s clothing using a single known image of her. Her findings can be found in the book “Art/ifacts and ArtWorks in the Ancient World.”
Wright explains that women of high status in ancient Ur had links to rulers in some way, either as kings’ sisters or other relatives or as their wives. These women were incredibly influential as state representatives, wielding significant power as they traveled the country performing various duties.
Puabi, who passed away before 2400–2350 B.C, was most likely a member of the royal family and the king’s wife. Like most privileged women of the time, she served as an ambassador for her husband and represented the state. These women would travel to different cities, towns, and villages and participate in rituals and banquets, showcasing the types of clothing they wore to the people.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Puabi’s remains were discovered in Egypt alongside Tutankhamun’s, which was a breakthrough for the 20th century. Puabi’s tomb was discovered within the Royal Cemetery at Ur, alongside around 1,800 other tombs. Her tomb contained a vast number of high-quality and well-preserved grave goods and was the only excavation site that looters had not touched over the millennia, making it distinctly different from the other sites. Her severely injured cranium is now housed in London’s Natural History Museum.
Leonard Woolley’s discoveries from his excavation were split between the British Museum in London, the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, and the National Museum in Baghdad. During the Second Gulf War in 2003, several of the magnificent artifacts from Puabi’s grave were looted from the National Museum. These valuable pieces were later featured in a successful exhibition tour of Art and History Museums in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Zechariah Sitchin, a writer, dedicated his life to uncovering and theorizing human origins by involving ancient astronauts. Prior to his passing, Sitchin challenged the Natural History Museum to perform DNA testing on the skeletal remains of Sumerian Queen Puabi, and he was prepared to stake his beliefs on the outcome. Sitchin proposed that the genome of gods and demi-gods could be discovered in the remains of the high-ranking Sumerian woman, which he had been discussing since the 1970s. The discovery of the remains in Iraq could potentially provide evidence that the Annunaki gods, as depicted in ancient Sumerian texts, were responsible for modifying human DNA.
According to Sitchin, the remains of Puabi, an ancient demigod, had a genetic connection with the Annunaki, a group of beings described in ancient texts as having supernatural abilities and long lifespans. Sitchin believed that the extent of human capabilities was intentionally constrained by our creator, and that Puabi’s DNA could provide answers to a missing link in human evolution. He urged scientists to test Puabi’s DNA, hoping to find the missing genes that were deliberately withheld from humans. However, the Natural History Museum would only consider his request if it came from a qualified researcher. Sitchin staked his reputation on the results of DNA testing on Puabi’s remains, but unfortunately, his desire was not fulfilled following his passing.
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