The North Palace

It is the NP that is sometimes claimed to have contained the Library of Assurbanipal proper, with its literary and scientific texts. It also contained the archives of Sargon II and the post-canonical period. Sargon's archives are there because it was the bet reduti ("Succession House") and Sennacherib spent a long period as crown-prince there between 715-705. They were clearly considered worth keeping. The palace was restored in 646 to be the Palace of Assurbanipal.

In the final days of 1853 Rassam found an archive in Room C (inc. K 309a and K 329). He may have been mistaken when he later claimed to have found the fragments identified by Smith as belonging to the Creation (K 5419c) and Deluge (K 3375) legends there. More tablets were found during Loftus' excavations; sadly no associated records for these survive. Smith found more tablets from 1873-74, especially in the south corner. Rassam found more on his return in 1878-82. The south corner of NP was close to the Nabu temple, however, so there may be some contamination. Scholarly tablets made of fine clay were found especially among the fallen stonework near the southern corner of the palace. At least one state letter was found. Many Ashurbanipal prisms were also found here, unsurprisingly. Reade (1986) p. 221 observed that the clay of some tablets from NP differed from those of the SWP in being light brown rather than reddish. He also noted that the colophons are thus far all long.

Southern corner:

Northern area:

Unspecified area:

The North Palace on Kuyunjik

The North Palace on Kuyunjik. Many of the Library tablets were found here. Published in Thompson and Hutchinson (1929) pl. 5, based on Rassam (1882).

Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor, 'The North Palace', Ashurbanipal Library Project, The Ashurbanipal Library Project, Department of the Middle East, The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG, 2019 []

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