Period: Early Dynastic IIIa

Date: ca. 2600–2500 B.C.

Geography: Mesopotamia, Ur (modern Tell al-Muqayyar)

Culture: Sumerian

Medium: Gold, lapis lazuli

Dimensions: L. 22.5 cm

Classification: Metalwork-Ornaments

Credit Line: Dodge Fund, 1933

Accession Number: 33.35.47


This choker adorned one of the sixty-eight women or young girls laid out in the so-called Great Death Pit at Ur, which was probably part of a royal tomb. The bodies were all ornamented with the most splendid jewelry made of gold, lapis lazuli, and carnelian.

The collar consists of alternating triangles, twelve of lapis lazuli and eleven of gold. Each gold triangle is made from a diamond-shaped and corrugated piece of sheet metal that has been folded back on itself to create seven horizontal tubes. The surface of the lapis lazuli triangles is also corrugated, making it look as if they too have seven horizontal perforations, but in fact there are only three perforations through the stones, so that the collar was held together by three rather than seven threads. Collars like these are too short to have fully encircled the neck. They may have been worn as separate items like chokers, extended by cloth straps around the back, or they may have been attached to jackets.