By Peter Knight
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Transferred the capital here from Nimrud. Here Botta soon discovered Sargon’s palace, its walls resplendent with carved reliefs and gateways guarded by monumental human-headed winged bulls and lions. This success led the French to provide greatly increased funds for further excavations and the services of Eugene Napoleon 26 ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA Engraving from the nineteenth century of the palace built by Sargon II at Dur Sharrukin, rediscovered by the French scholar Paul-Emile Botta in the 1840s.
Rich’s many visitors also took delight in exploring the region, among them the painter Robert Ker Porter, whose admirably readable account of his visits to Babylon, Birs Nimrud, Kish, and Aqar Quf, illustrated with his fine romantic engravings, fired popular interest. In 1818 Rich published a second memoir on Babylon and its relics. Rich’s enthusiastically amassed antiquities was purchased in 1825 by the British Museum for £7,000, the beginning of Britain’s impressive collection of Western Asiatic antiquities.
S. team was working at Bismayah (ancient Adab, a Sumerian town), the British were still investigating Kuyunjik, and the French had initiated work at the important Sumerian city of Kish. At the same time the French had secured a monopoly on archaeological work in Persia, where they 36 ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA Ruins of the great Sumerian city of Ur. Excavations here by Leonard Woolley revealed the early development of urban life in ancient Sumer, cradle of civilization. (Nik Wheeler/Corbis) excavated the great city of Susa, capital of Elam, the neighbor and great rival of Babylonia.