Two Great Households of Old Babylonian Ur
Two substantial houses dating to the early second millennium BCE have recently been unearthed at separate, previously unexplored locations in Ur. Their respective owners occupied important positions of power in different spheres. One flourished ca 1840 BCE and was the chief administrator of the second most important temple in Ur. His house lay near the southern city wall, well removed from the institution with which he was associated. The second was a general named Abisum, who resided near the center of the city. Abisum was closely tied to the monarchy in Babylon and disappeared when the city was abandoned in 1739 BCE, not long after a rebellion had been put down. Small cuneiform archives were left behind in both of these households, demonstrating that literacy was an important mechanism by which they exercised power. The new excavations indicate that much remains to be explored in the urban landscape of Ur.