7 June 2012: The Sumerians and the Death Pits of Ur

On 7 June 2012, Professor Colin Hope gave a lecture at Melbourne Museum about Sumerian burial practices and the Great Death Pits at Ur.

The Sumerians developed a distinctive culture in the southernmost part of Iraq. During the Early Dynastic Period (circa 3000-2300 BCE) their influence extended into Syria and Iran.

By the Early Dynastic III period, high-ranking members of the society were buried in elaborate tombs with an astonishing array of highly-crafted and valuable goods. Leonard Woolley's discovery of the Great Death Pits at Ur during the 1920s and 1930s was one of the most controversial of the time because of the inclusion of sacrificial retainers or servants.

Speaker Biography:
Colin Hope is an Associate Professor at Monash University and Director of its Centre for Archaeology & Ancient History. He has participated extensively in archaeological fieldwork around the Middle East, in Jordan, Syria and the Sinai, as well as throughout Egypt and has for many years lectured on the cultural evolution of ancient Iraq and its impact upon the region..

This lecture was proudly supported by the University of Melbourne, University Partner

Listen now to a recording of this lecture (43:17 minutes):


Download audio file (mp3, 19MB)

Download transcript (Word doc, 61KB)