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Burnt Palace 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 18, 2021 10:34 AM History
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The Burnt Palace, which was destroyed by fire when Kalhu fell to anti-Assyrian Babylonian and Median forces in 612 BC, has the longest building sequence yet identified at Nimrud (biblical Calah). This royal residence, which was constructed in the southeast quarter of the citadel, had at least nine phases of occupation between the Middle Assyrian and Hellenistic Periods. The so-called Burnt Palace was rebuilt/renovated three times during the ninth to seventh centuries BC and it might have temporarily served as a royal residence during the reign of Sargon II (r. 721–705 BC), while that Assyrian king was building his new capital Dūr-Šarrukīn. An immense collection of burnt ivories (the ‘Loftus ivories’) was discovered in and near the throne room in 1954–55; these are now in the British Museum (London).

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The Burnt Palace was first excavated by William Kennett Loftus in 1854–55. This royal residence at Kalhu was further investigated by Max Mallowan in 1951–57. Nine building phases have been identified: (A–C) pre-Ashurnasirpal II; (D) earliest phase of the Burnt Palace (ninth century, presumably Ashurnasirpal II or Shalmaneser III); (E) second phase of the Burnt Palace, the so-called “box level” (probably Adad-nārārī III); (F) final phase of the Burnt Palace, the so-called “ivory level” (eighth and seventh century), which was destroyed by fire; (G) post-612 BC, squatter occupation; (H) Achaemenid occupation?; and (I) Hellenistic occupation.

The Burnt Palace, which was located in the southeast quadrant of the Kalhu Citadel, might have served as a royal residence of Sargon II. Letters addressed to this eighth-century-BC Assyrian king were discovered in the reception room. Bricks bearing his name were also found in the debris of that building.

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Jamie Novotny, and Jeffrey Becker, 'Burnt Palace at Kalhu: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2021 <> [accessed: 02 December 2023]

            {{cite web |url= |title=Places: 694530902 (Burnt Palace at Kalhu) |author=Novotny, J. |accessdate=December 2, 2023 1:30 am |publisher=Pleiades}}