Friday, May 27, 2011

The World’s Oldest Museum

The “world’s oldest known museum” was created by Princess Ennigaldi, the daughter of Nabonidus, king of Babylon from 555 to 539 BC.  The story of its discovery and significance is recounted by Alasdair Wilkins.

In 1925, archaeologist Leonard Woolley discovered a curious collection of artifacts while excavating a Babylonian palace. They were from many different times and places, and yet they were neatly organized and even labeled. Woolley had discovered the world's first museum.

It's easy to forget that ancient peoples also studied history - Babylonians who lived 2,500 years ago were able to look back on millennia of previous human experience. That's part of what makes the museum of Princess Ennigaldi so remarkable. Her collection contained wonders and artifacts as ancient to her as the fall of the Roman Empire is to us. But it's also a grim symbol of a dying civilization consumed by its own vast history.

The story continues here.

HT: Paleojudaica

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