From Iraq Excavations At Babylon -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 02:1 (Winter 1973)
Article: From Iraq Excavations At Babylon
Author: Anonymous

From Iraq
Excavations At Babylon

Beginning with the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, Babylon is mentioned throughout the Bible in both a literal and figurative sense. The ruins of the ancient metropolis are located in Iraq about 60 miles south of Baghdad. Archaeological explorations have been going on there since the end of the 18th century.

Writing in the latest issue of Sumer, the official publication of the Iraqi Directorate General of Antiquities, Dr. Isa Salman of that department described the archaeological work that has been done at Babylon in recent years:

“Since 1968 our department deputed archaeological groups to work on the Southern Palace attributed to King Nebuchadnezzar (604 — 582 B.C.) and debris was cleared out from its various parts. This palace is situated to the left of the ‘Procession Street’. It is composed of numerous ruined building units centered around five big courtyards of which the second one is the reception courtyard and its southern side is the throne-room which is the most important part of this palace.

“On 30th September 1969 a technical expedition from our department resumed work on uncovering of the foundations by digging a trench along each side of the building and cleared out decayed parts of the walls. Great care was exerted in this work while digging down to depths of more than three meters [ten feet] so as to arrive at the sound foundations. It was revealed that some of the walls sustained much damage and [were] about to collapse as a result of quarying bricks by looters who, in the past, excavated the core and did not leave of the walls

Standing in Nebuchadnezzar’s Throne Room at Babylon.

but a thin layer of the external faces. The bonds of the original brickwork were thoroughly cleaned to provide for a firm joint with the new reconstruction. Having prepared all foundations and walls, restoration began under scientific methods used in salvaging ancient architectural remains using building materials analogous to original ones to preserve the antique aspect of the buildings. For this purpose bricks of identical dimensions were used, applying as mortar salt-resistant cement and flintkote all mixed with sand in certain proportions to match the sort of bitumen originally used, as mortar, by the Babylonian mason in the Chaldean time. During the season of 1969–1970, the expedition was able to finish the restoration of most of the palace buildings.”

Dr. Salman’s comment on the mortar used by the ancient Babylonians is interesting in light of You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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