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Upper Chambers at Kalhu

a Pleiades place resource

Creators: Jamie Novotny
Contributors: Jeffrey Becker
Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Jan 19, 2021 09:51 AM History
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This ornately-decorated, elevated building might have been the residence of Sammu-ramat (the legendary Semiramis) in the palace of her son Adad-nārārī III (r. 810-783 BC) at Kalhu (biblical Calah, modern Nimrud). Because these rooms were built noticeably higher than the surrounding area, its first excavator Austen Henry Layard believed that he had uncovered part of an upper floor of an Assyrian palace and, therefore, referred to this area as the “Upper Chambers.”

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The Upper Chambers were excavated by Austen Henry Layard in 1847–51 and William Kennett Loftus in 1854. The area consisted of a large hall and a suite of three small chambers. Its walls have fresco decoration depicting winged bulls, crenellated battlements, and geometric patterns. Julian Reade (2011: 117) has suggested that the Upper Chambers, which would have formed part of the palace of the Assyrian king Adad-nārārī III (r. 810-783 BC), "would have been an appropriate residence for Sammu-ramat, Adad-nirari’s mother, who clearly had great power during at least the early years of her son’s reign. It would be an example of a palace built specifically for a member of the royal family." J. Oates (2004: 70) has suggested that the Upper Chambers would have been "a prestigious and attractive suite, on an upper floor and almost certainly with a fine view of the Tigris valley." The walls excavated by Layard in the mid-nineteenth century have now totally eroded.

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Jamie Novotny, and Jeffrey Becker, 'Upper Chambers at Kalhu: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2021 <> [accessed: 02 March 2024]

            {{cite web |url= |title=Places: 303354808 (Upper Chambers at Kalhu) |author=Novotny, J. |accessdate=March 2, 2024 6:57 pm |publisher=Pleiades}}