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Priestesses, Production, and Prostitution: The impact of the local religious temple on gender and status in EDIII Mesopotamia

by Robert Galantucci 1

Religious temples in Mesopotamia played vital a role in the economic, political, and spiritual cultures in EDIII Ur. In these institutions, woman held positions comparable, perhaps even superior, in authority to their male counterparts. Based on visual and textual sources, this paper examines the eras temple institution and considers its function as a counter-hegemony to the military and industrial establishments, which are often perceived as being male dominated. Through spiritual organizations, females were able to amass power and hold even the most prestigious offices in the civilizations administration.

Robert Galantucci has earned a BA in Art History from Villanova University as a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honors society. He was awarded the Art History Medallion for graduating senior and the Procko Prize for Best Undergraduate History Paper. Dr. Victoria Tsoukala served as advisor to his senior thesis, Priestesses, Production, and Prostitution.

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In his The Treasures from the Royal Tombs at Ur, published in 1929, Sir Leonard Woolley describes findings from a cemetery which dates to the EDIII period (2500-2350) in ancient Mesopotamia (Fig. 1). In discussing a seal found in one of the tombs, known as Puabis Seal (Fig. 2), Wooley proposed that the woman buried with it must have been a queen on the basis of her close proximity to the burial of a king, Mes-kalam-dug. If one accepts that this male figure, who served as a ruler and military leader, can be considered a king in the modern sense, then this assumption will influence speculation upon nearby Puabis status. Cultural influences like these, such as the assertion that a powerful female leader must somehow be linked with the nearest male, are what affected Woolleys study he projected his own view of gender roles onto the subjects of his study. The cultural significance of women in EDIII Ur was initially interpreted in an academic environment wherein the social input of women was typically defined in relation to its impact on the masculine societal hierarchy. More recent scholarship, however, suggests that instead of considering gender a cause of division in the overall social structure it is more appropriate to regard feminine and masculine roles in society as interdependent. As Susan Kent argues, it is necessary to challenge the western (male) notions of radical individualism that typically underlies the ideas of production 2 It is

Susan Kent Egalitarianism, equality, and equitable power, Manifesting Power: Gender and the interpretation of power in archaeology. Sweely, Tracy L. ed. (London: Routledge, 1999), 32. et al Endicott 1981.

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such scholarship that acted as an impetus to my focusing on the role of gender in EDIII Ur. 3 By examining images and literary sources from the EDIII period, and employing analogies with later periods that feature similar social structures, I will investigate the roles of women in the society and their means of obtaining positions of power. As a result of a dearth of textual sources from the time and location, I pay particular attention to the iconography and visual culture as seen in motifs, many of which are spiritual. Using archaeological evidence, most notably the tomb of Puabi and its context within the Royal Tombs, I examine an upper class womans burial riches, and scrutinize what I feel are connections to a local religious temple. The empirical evidence compounded by Wooley, and later P.R.S. Moorey, Susan Pollock and Rita Wright, among others, along with the theoretical guidelines endorsed by Gero, Conkey, and Irene Silverblatt, allow conclusions to materialize without compromising the evidence provided by observations of Ur remains, or the hypothesized concepts of attributing status determination. It is within the temples, I argue, that women were offered valuable employment and the opportunity to amass power. Temple positions ranged from low-compensation manual labor, to ritual overseers, to roles of clear political leadership. This institution is where women and their impact on society are most apparent. Through labor associated with the local religious hierarchy, women were able to achieve positions that were indispensable, selective, and dignified; the temple, through its labor force and its sacred

See Margaret W. Conkey and Joan M. Gero, Tensions, Pluralities, and Engendering Archaeology: An Introduction to Women and Prehistory, Engendering Archaeology, (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 1991). This work is a compilation of essays that stressed gender studies as a key component of archeological analysis and a vital element in attempting to recreate societal conditions in prehistoric research.

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functions, would prove to be an organization characterized by femininity that was interdependent with its masculine counterparts.

Images of Women in EDIII Ur Some upper-class women were able to achieve a high level of visibility as shown by much of the existing iconography from Ur. Such depictions of women can be found in mediums which varied in size and rarity. I will focus on a wall plaque, several seals, and what has been identified as a standard. In the discussion of these items I will also draw parallels with significant iconography that occurs on several vases from other periods and locations, in addition to a renowned limestone carving from the Akkadian Period, Enheduannas Disk. On a wall plaque 4 found in a gipar (Fig. 3), the place where priestesses lived and carried out their religious duties, there is evidence of women having similar, perhaps even superior status in relation to the male participants. This limestone slab is divided in two registers. The upper register depicts three women standing behind one nude male who performs a libation in front of a seated deity whose importance is represented by its larger, hieratic scale. The scene of the lower register comprises four figures, two men and two women. It takes place inside a temple, as the presence of architectural elements on the far right implies. As in the register above, the lower features a male figure who pours a libation into a vessel shaped like a small fountain, while three figures observe from behind. One of the women is shown facing towards the viewer, which underlines her importance; however hieratic scale is not used to differentiate the figures viewing the libation. Frontality is not a common attribute in figural representations of the ED III
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Wall Plaque With Libation Scenes. Limestone, H. 22.9 cm; W. 26 cm. The British Museum London, BM 118561.

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period, and is a formal factor that singles her out as the aesthetic focus of the piece.5 While the women of the top register are in smaller scale, suggesting they may be of lesser importance, it is also significant to note that the male is clean shaven and has long hair, two aspects that denote effeminacy. In ED III iconography it is common to see males portrayed with varied attributes according to actions in which they are engaged. Thus, when performing religious function, men are often nude, which is seen in later texts as a position of vulnerability in Ur culture. 6 Zainab Bahraini points out that based on the precedent of the earlier Warka Vase (Fig. 4), it may in fact be fair to say that those standing behind nude subjects giving offerings are actually overseeing the act, not being excluded from it, as some scholars have previously argued. 7 Furthermore, the figures who are not pouring the libation are not necessarily excluded from the ritual. The figures standing behind the libation bearer are also carrying animals; presumably these are sacrifices being offered to the deity as well, an indication of the active participation of all figures, both male and female. On this plaque the women outnumber men, but more importantly the respective depictions of males and females make it clear that the woman were certainly as important, if not more, than the males present in the scene. The females appear to have substantial status, and it is when they are priestesses performing religious duties that this is most clear.

Aruz, Joan and Wallenfels, Ronald, Ed. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of the First Cities: The Third Millenium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2003., 74. Libation scenes are clear parallels to later dynasties in Ur, for instance during Enheduannas tenure. It is of note that such a libation event was common well over two centuries later. Beyond the ritual itself, Irene Winter notes that the aga (headdress) was even consistent from one era to the next evidence of the validity of correlations between religious rites from the various eras. 6 Zainab Bahrani. Women of Babyon, Gender and Representation in Mesopotamia. (London: Routledge, 2001), 61-2 7 Aruz and Wallenfels 2003, 74-5

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The next type of objects that I look at is the cylinder seal. Economic dealings, private correspondences, and imperial decrees all required authentication that could only be provided with these individualized stampings. The images incised on these seals are key sources about contemporary aesthetic and economic trends. 8 As ornaments on ones person, the seals were oriented longitudinally, so while being worn as jewelry they could the images would be clearly visible. 9 Because of their function as the identification of a prominent individual, seals became more than just a tool, they were effectively status symbols. 10 Seals are a key source for feminine iconography in particular, and are the most common objects that contain pictorial decoration among the finds from the Royal Tombs at Ur. Seals from the Cemetery at Ur were decorated with depictions of two specific types of events, animal and human contests and banquet scenes. It is banquet scenes that can be observed on seals that accompanied Puabi, the most prominent woman among the dead of the cemetery. 11 These scenes of feasts are the most prevalent depictions of women in the findings at the cemetery in general, and form the focus of the ensuing discussion. The frequent use of the same type of rituals in the relics from ED III Ur suggest that these motifs were inspired by a particular event, and their consistency over several centuries indicates that the events depicted remained important within the culture. Feasts are among the most common subject matter, and they are an indication of wealth and status on the parts of the guests depicted as well as those bearing the seals themselves. They also were events that would be held in honor of an achievement by the empire, for
Sir Leonard Woolley The Development of Sumerian Art (London: Faber and Faber Limited ,1935), 121 Ibid. 10 Leonard Gorelick and John A. Gwinnett. The near Eastern Cylinder Seal as Social Emblem and Status Symbol, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Jan. 1990), 53 11 Her burial and offerings are discussed in the next section of this paper.
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instance as soldiers arrived after returning from a battle, or as a celebration in honor of a religious event such as a symbolic marriage ritual between a man and woman of privileged status. Dietler and Hayden point out the abundance of feasts held in acknowledgement of temple initiations, and banquets held regularly in praise of the most esteemed gods. 12 They go on to discuss the high frequency of these events, the high levels of popular participation, as well as the immense number of goods that families sacrificed in order to win the good graces of the gods. Without such feasts, it was believed that the deities would perhaps become displeased and thus the city-state would be subject to their wrath. In the section below I argue that people accompanied depictions of these events, such as on seals, including the aforementioned Puabi, held high positions within society. The best known cylinder seal from Ur is Puabis Seal 13 , which was discovered in 1928 by Sir Leonard Woolley (Fig. 2). It was carved from lapis lazuli, most likely imported from Afghanistan. According to the traditions of the gods Inanna and Ishtar, who were especially significant in the Ur region, lapis-lazuli was known as their stone. On the outer parts of the scene are the two inscriptions which declare this seal to be the property of lady, nin, Puabi. 14 Two horizontal lines divide the surface in two registers. The main character, seemingly Puabi (on the basis of the inscription), is seen in profile, seated centrally, wearing a fringed dress with her hair in a bun. As the key figure, Puabi

Michael Dietler and Brian Hayden. Digesting the Feat: Good to Eat, Good to Drink, Good to Think, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power. (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001), 397-400 13 BM 121544, The British Museum, London. H. 4.9 cm; Diam. 2.5 cm; PG 800, U. 10939. Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur Exhibition, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA. (July 14, 2001 to March 24, 2002) 14 The inscription on the seal which helps identify her is an early example of Sumerian cuneiform, which is regarded as the first written language.

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is shown larger than the other figures, indicating her hierarchical significance. 15 She holds her cup with her left hand, high above her head, perhaps in celebration. Seated across from her is a man, who holds a stick with which he strikes a bell held in his other hand. Each figure is flanked by servants of their own sex. Only males are present in the lower register; two of them are likely of greater importance, as they are seated and being tended to by servants. This scene is a feast as well. A large table to the right holds a vessel with meat to be served to the participants. It is important to note that anyone who was buried with an object featuring a personal inscription, a depiction of them serving their post, or showing them engaged in celebration, must have held a position the upper social strata. Some feasts are more easily labeled as they are segregated according to gender, for instance a military victory being celebrated by only males 16 , or as I would argue, a temple ritual attended by those with feminine traits. The most notable male feast scene is seen on the so called Standard or Ur 17 (Fig. 5). The depictions on both sides of the slab show, first, a military leader and followers arriving to town with prisoners, while on the other side the celebration has begun with feasts and music. This feast, all male, is distinct from those attended by females because of its military connotations, whereas female

This stylistic device is used for centuries afterwards, even into the Akkadian period, to assist in denoting characters as en-priestess without disturbing the cult narrative that the artist was aiming to depict. Irene J. Winter, Women in Public: The Disk of Enheduanna, The Beginning of the Office of En-Priestess, and the Weight of Visual Evidence, La Femme dans le Proche-Orient Antique, Editions Recherche sur les Civilizations, (Paris, 1987), 196. 16 Dietler and Hayden 2001, 394 17 Standard of Ur. Mesopotamia, Ur, PG 779, U.11164. Shell, lapis lazuli, and red limestone; H. 20 cm (7 7/8 in.); L. 47 cm (18 1/2 in.). Trustees of The British Museum, London BM 121201.

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iconography is not found in conjunction with military scenes, more often the scenes are spiritual. 18 However Puabis Seal contains members of both sexes, which suggests that the male and female leaders in some way shared political power. But many scholars suggest that she was in fact involved in a sacred marriage ritual. Puabi and the prominent male figure would have participated in a symbolic marriage rite, wherein they were sacrifice to the goddesses, namely Inanna, the deity of fertility and love. As represented on a number of ancient Near Eastern pieces, the marriage ritual, held in the spring of the New Year, consisted of an enactment of a marriage between a divine female and human male. In this context, one may infer that Puabi was the representative of a goddess, and the group sacrifice was an attempt to provide the land with fertility in the upcoming agricultural season. 19 This ceremony is described by Zainab Bahrani, she writes:
During the Ur III period and the Isin kingdom the evidence for an actual copulation between the goddess and the king is certainthe sacred marriage is an epiphany. It is a ritual of substitution where the priestess becomes the goddess and the priest-king becomes the god [perhaps] one object of the rite was to produce a royal heir. 20

This interpretation would suggest that Puabi was certainly the figure depicted on the seal, and the male opposite her was the king Meskalamdug, who was buried in the nearby grave labeled by Wooley as PG 755. One possibility would be that the seal was a relic of the sacred marriage ritual, and now that the two had died, they were buried in close proximity.

Dietler and Hayden 2001, 396. Female feast scenes, particularly those that appear on cylinder seals also at times include deities. While not noticeable on Puabis Seal, it is noteworthy that similar seals at times had a blatant connection with spiritual figures. 19 Bahrani 2001, 137 20 Ibid, although Bahraini is referring to a later period, the rite of sacred marriage was a key practice that persevered, and likely underwent little change in significance and ritual-practice.

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The presence of several other seals, not all belonging to the person buried in the tomb, raises the question of how we know that one in particular belonged to Puabi. As Susan Pollock explains that the relationship between the seal and the body can answer such a question. In Puabis case, not only was the seal located in the immediate vicinity where her body lay, but it also was found in conjunction with several pins which indicate that it was the seal that Puabi actually wore, as opposed to the others which were posthumously placed within her tomb. 21 The iconography of Puabis Seal and the finds from her burial, which are examined in the following section, suggest that her position in society was one of importance. The iconography was consistent, and there are precedents from other eras that support the notion that the visual representations remained because the figures being represented served in specific offices. The seals were found distributed systematically throughout the cemetery, and Moorey suggests that banquet-style seals were only present in tombs that featured the burial of a notable female. 22 One of the seals from Puabis tomb has on it a feasting ceremony that was only attended by women (Fig. 6). 23 This scene is similar in layout to Puabis Seal, however there is no inscription on the outer segments of the upper sequence. The high ranking individuals as well as the servants are all female. This piece is of note because it established the particularly feminine association with feasts, and also because it is illustrative of the power hierarchy that was penetrated at all levels by women, a subject that will be returned to below, in a more general assessment of
Susan Pollock The Symbolism of Prestige: An Archaeological Example from the Royal Cemetary of Ur. (Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Michigan, 1983), 184; Glubok 1969, 80. see also Moorey 1977, 15 where he explains why RT. 800 (Puabis tomb) is the most reliably identified of all the tombs; and Pollock 1991, 175. 22 P.R.S. Moorey "What do we know about the people buried in the Royal Cemetery?" in Expedition. The University Museum Magazine of the University of Pennsylvania. (Vol. 20 Number 1 Fall: 24-40) 1977, 35 23 BM 121544, Trustees of the British Museum, London. H. 4.9cm; Diam. 2.5 cm. PG 800, U. 10939
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womens status. Common throughout is the hair style, and fringed garments. Another seal, found near Puabis tomb, in the so-called Great Death Pit, is double-registered as well (Fig. 7). 24 The bottom register shows a scene that is nearly all women. Thirteen of the figures are identifiable as female, while only one, carrying a staff is male. Variations in status, within the female gender, again are observable as many of the figures simply watch/oversee the festival, while others dance, clap and play the lyre. Within this scene as well, disparities in scale designate certain women, those that are larger, as being of greater importance. Clearly these portrayals were not purely symbolic, because some of the scenes contain ceremonial items that appear to have existed in Puabis era; such as drinking vessels, lyres, and harps that are both illustrated on the seals and physically in the tomb itself. Also corresponding between iconography and burial organization is gender attribution to certain areas within layout of the cemetery. The material that was used for a seal varies according to the ranking and wealth of the individual that is to be represented. Puabis, of lapis-lazuli, was of the most common type seen at the cemetery. 25 It is suggested by Dominique Collon that hoards of extra seals in temples and burials are frequently heirlooms 26 , which would explain the presence of several sets of seals that cannot be identified to Puabi herself. Some scholars have argued that the additional seals are buried with priestesses because the objects are the property of the temple administration, not the people themselves. 27 In Puabis case this

30-12-2, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia. H. 4.5 cm; Diam, 1.5 cm. PG 1237, Great Death Pit, U. 12374. 25 Moorey, 1977. Moorey explains about the seals, It might be anticipated that differences in size, and particularly in iconography, would indicate differences in social status of official function2 are of gold over a core of some other material, 18 are of lapis-lazuli, 7 of shell and two other of composite materials were recorded. 26 D. Collon, First Impressions: cylinder seals in the Ancient Near East. (London: The British Museum Press, 1987), 24 27 Collon 1987, 46

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could mean that her predecessors or perhaps deceased members of her family may have entrusted these personal ornaments to her, and upon her death they were included in her elaborate burial. To the archaeologist, seals such as Puabis are of great importance in identifying the title and status of figures present in the tombs. 28 Much has been written suggesting that Puabi, is an official figure of the city-state, namely a queen. Her seal identifies her as nin Puabi; a label that is ambiguous, as nin can be translated as both lady and queen. Other objects such as the other seals found in her vicinity, and the wall plaque, serve as a firm connection between women and status, but also between females and the religious temple. Later findings along with various observable characteristics of the seal and the archaeological site itself show that women like Puabi did have a key role in her Sumerian culture I will later argue that this role was a spiritual one, as a priestess.

The Royal Cemetery Revisited The population of this cemetery, which contained nearly two thousand burials, was not random; as a matter of fact it must have been rather exclusive based on the small percentages of people, especially children, who were buried there. 29 Investigation into this exclusive cemetery has been able to provide much insight into the methods and degrees of participation upper-class women, like Puabi, enjoyed in EDIII Ur. The socalled Royal Tombs, as opposed to burials of the less illustrious citizens, are the focus of my inquiry into women of the upper socioeconomic classes. Sir Leonard Woolley observed that among the 1,850 graves unearthed in the cemetery there are sixteen which

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Sir Leonard Woolley, The Development of Sumerian Art. (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1935), 73 Pollock 1983, 149

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stand out from the rest not simply because of their richnessbut also for other peculiarities of structure and ritual. 30 The variations that he mentions are the range of more elaborate structures, expendable wealth in the form of precious materials, and wellcrafted objects, as well as individuals and animals intentionally put to death during burial. As Karen Wilson describes, each royal tomb had:
A stone-built chamber with a vaulted or domed ceiling that lay at the bottom of a deep pit, approached from above by a ramp. A body, presumed to be the main burial, lay in the chamber, accompanied by an immense wealth of goods [and] what appear to have been attendants, both male and female, lay in the chamber and/or in the pit adjacent to it, often accompanying by vehicles pulled by oxen or equids. 31

It is inside a tomb of this style that Puabis Seal was found, along with a chariot, and many other decorative and ceremonial treasures including a harp, furniture, a necklace, a headdress, a diadem, and a wealth of gold and lapis-lazuli beads. Furthermore, there are direct relationships between gender and the items situated within the burial space. A general breakdown correlating to gender associates axes, daggers, whetstones, and brims with males, while the feminine objects are earrings, pins, ribbon, and combs. 32 There are further divisions within the inventories of the graves, such as the location of the objects, the way they were originally oriented, the materials used, and so on, but uncertainties arise due to speculation regarding potential removal and tampering of artifacts and adjustments of their placement within the grave contexts. Susan Pollocks categories of objects and corresponding status show that of all the various groups of males and females of different levels of wealth, it was only one grouping that was without seals, and that

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Shirley Glubok, Discovering the Royal Tombs at Ur. (London: The Macmillan Company, 1969). 1969, 43 31 Karen Wilson, Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. The Oriental Institute News and Notes, No. 167, Fall 2000 32 Pollock 1983, 153

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was a selection of modest male graves. 33 Furthermore, as banquet scenes on seals are consistently associated with female graves, they similarly are more prevalent in graves that are viewed as containing the highest status individual. 34 Observations based on empirical evidence such as these are especially significant because they serve in putting to rest any doubts about the potential of women to be exalted within EDIII culture, and additionally they provide insights into how this status was attained. Originally it was suggested that the powerful Puabi was a queen, but as P.R.S. Moorey points out, Only one seal inscription from these tombs mentions both a king and his wife, and [in that instance] she is not titled nin which Puabi is. 35 This draws doubt on the assertion that the term nin was exclusively used to imply a queenly figure. Another individual present in the same tomb also has traditionally been considered a member of the so-called royal family, however his title lugal-sa-pa-da cannot be assumed to be strictly a regal one. 36 Shortly after the life of this man, a ruler by the name of A-ane-pada, a man whose status as king we are certain of, left behind inscriptions where he is not referred to as lugal. 37 A-ane-padas reign was only shortly after lugal-sapa-das, so if lugal was a kingly title then would it not have been consistent from one such leader to the next? Contradictions such as these should make it clear that our present interpretations of the official status of the people buried at the Royal Cemetery are incomplete and not yet entirely coherent. As new information and examination

Pollock 1983, 183-4 Ibid 35 P.R.S. Moorey, 1982. Ur Of the Chaldees: A revised and updated edition of Sir Leonard Woolleys Excavations at Ur. (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1982), 89 36 Moorey 1977, 8 37 Ibid
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becomes available, Woolleys assertion that the Royal Tombs exclusively house the remains of royalty and associated servants is in doubt. 38 One similar instance of a potentially inaccurate labeling of the burial of a king and queen can be seen in PG 755, Mes-kalam-dugs tomb. While the king himself was buried without any human sacrifices, the female figure on the other hand was accompanied by five servants and far more ornamental objects. Moorey forces us to ask the question, Is it possible that this royal lady merited them by virtue of an office other than queen at Ur? (emphasis mine) 39 . In Puabis case it is clear that she was a significant figure in her city-state, and if this power was not accumulated based on her relation to the king, than she must have had an alternative route to civic importance. She instead could have established her authority as leader in the city-states temple. Another fact that must be considered is the body of a nearby woman. During his efforts, Moorey came across a person that seemed to have been disheveled and not fully attired for such a ceremonial occasion. Unlike the surrounding women, she was without a headdress and hair ribbons. He wrote: Why the owner had not put it on one could not say; perhaps she was late for the ceremony and had not time to dress properly. 40 To propose that someone attending a burial ritual of a woman who was clearly of great significance simply ran out of time to prepare seems a bit insufficient. On the other hand, is it possible that she was indeed wearing the typical attire and for some reason she then removed the accessories and her attire? Recalling the famous story of the Goddess
Furthering the prospect that the cemetery and its female inhabitants were connected to a religious institution, or at the very least more concerned with spirituality than their male counterparts, Pollock identifies a reoccurrence of the bodies being positioned to face in a particular direction. The one type of item that does appear in graves of both sexes, which does so more frequently in male graves, is vessels for food. In this instance, it is again clear that this does not imply any sort of gender hierarchy, because the presence of such vessels is also more common in private and less wealthy tombs. Pollock 189-195 39 Moorey 1977, 33 40 Moorey 1977, 79
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Inanna, as she came before her sister to make a plea for favors, she removed her clothes to submit and become vulnerable. Perhaps the woman seen partially undressed was performing a similar rite in honor of her superior, Puabi. Regardless, it is evident that the presence of the sacrificed individuals is an exhibition of Puabis authority; according to Pollock this practice might be a further indication of the lengths to which the leaders of the competing, power-greedy institutions of the temple and palace were willing to go in displaying to themselves, to each other and to the rest of the population their ability to control their subjects. 41 Leaders had to display the extent of devotion that their guards and court had to them, Puabi must similarly show the zeal of her temple workers and followers. On January 19th, 1929 Science Newsletter reported that the body of a baby girl, adorned with a little gold headdress almost exactly like that worn by Queen Shub-ad [Puabi] of Ur was discovered in the royal graves at Ur. 42 Just as the king was found with his soldiers and aides, Lady Puabi would be buried with servants and religious pupils. Drawing further connections between Lady Puabi and Enheduanna, a future priestess who held the chief temple position, Mark G. Hall points out that there is a consistent use of a specific type of water vessel which held spiritual significance. 43 These silver containers were present on both the Disk of Enheduanna 44 (Fig. 8), as well

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Pollock 182 Science Newsletter 1929 43 Hall 1985, 94, 99. In Collons Near Eastern Seals, she points out further correlations between the dress of a person and a particular position, not necessarily an individual. In her example from approximately 2400 BCE, she observes that one way of distinguishing women on seals as en-priestesses was to depict her with a thick headband. 44 Disk of Enheduanna, from Ur. Alabaster, diam. 25.6 cm. The University Museum, Philadelphia, CBS 16665.

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as in the Royal Tombs at Ur. 45 There is also evidence to show that the visual elements in seals, beyond merely water vessels, remained steady between these two periods. 46 Furthermore, Dr. Mehmet-Ali Ata suggests that many of the lavish ornaments found on the bodies in the tombs were actually the property of the temple. 47 The various level clerical positions would undergo changes that coincided with those of public officials. If this is the case, the jewelry found with the bodies was not necessarily owned by the individual, especially in the case of the lower status women sacrificed along with Puabi. If one is to question that some of these were not women of great wealth, an argument based on their lack of personal identification, Atas hypothesis goes great lengths in explaining how they were still able to receive such an abundance of ostentatious spiritual commodities upon their death. Puabis tomb in particular contains as much, if not more, solid evidence of her elevated position within a key social organization when compared to that of the males buried at the Royal Tombs. One might feel that the women were of a privileged class, or were symbolically being married to a deity, or that they served in the temple, but whichever argument historians choose to sympathize with, Wooleys confident assertion that the Royal Cemeterys inhabitants are kings and queens displays a modern bias. Certainly they were elite figures in society, but his assumption that the revered womens status is dependant
Winter 1987, 192. More specifically, Winter cites these vessels as Type 84, as they are known from the Ur graves PG 800 and PG 755. Despite the time elapsed between the two female leaders, the ritualism that remained relatively consistent of the time period indicates that analogies between the spiritual communities still make for valid comparisons. 46 Supporting the notion that seal art was able to remain consistent Briggs Buchanan illustrates to resemblance between the figures gestures, clothes, and hair styles. He goes on to suggest that these seals must be regarded as homogeneous in style and subject matter. (148). Despite the lapse of time, the length of which is in dispute, Buchanans assertion serves a strong evidence that seals not only were of highly valued, but also accurate enough documents to use a evidence for insight into ritual and spiritual truths of the era. (147, 149) Buchanan 1954, 147-153. 47 Mehmet-Ali Ata. The Royal Tombs of Ur and Sumerian 'Song Culture', a lecture at Villanova University (Villanova, Pennsylvania: 12/07/04)
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on that of the male leaders is unfounded. Pollock suggests that symbolic expressions of a society exhibit the interdependence of varying forms and levels of prestige; and in the tombs, the material possessions and practices undergone with these objects are useful determinants of manifestations of symbolic displays of status. 48 Beyond the presence of rare commodities and elaborate decoration, the human sacrifices may be the greatest indicator of power. Of the four most prestigious burials, two are male and two are female; the two females had around 38 attendants sacrificed with them, while the males had eight. 49 Whether these upper-class women were seen symbolically as wives of Nanna or were members of the Urs city-god cult, it seems unlikely that they were merely wives of the wealthy men in the Royal Tombs. They wielded their own political might, and I propose that this authority was gained through employment in the upper echelons of the temples management.

Feminine Roles in Ur Womens impact on EDIII Ur is distinguishable at all levels of the economic spectrum. They are represented in the menial labor workforce, as well as in the upper levels of the city-states administration. The purpose and context of these positions is relevant to determining whether or not the role truly gave the woman a mandate to forward her own agenda, or if she was simply filling a role for, or in the absence of, her husband. Enheduanna for instance was appointed to her position, but it is clear that she then was able to have dissenting views and amass her own social power. Before returning to the situation of those who indisputably came from wealthy backgrounds, it is

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Pollock 1983, 14-5 Susan Pollock, Images of Sumerian Women, in Joan M. Gero and Margaret W. Conkey, Engendering Archaeology (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991), 378-9

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necessary to begin the discussion by considering the condition of the many women who participated in a skilled labor force.

I: Women in the Workforce Women from EDIII Ur who had favorable positions in society were not exclusively priestesses; many of them were engaged in the large industry of temple labor. It is the in the temples workforce where one can observe the circumstances that the citizens of EDIII Ur and similar eras were exposed during the majority of their lives. It is in this context that social and economic circumstances most accurately reflect the interpersonal and interdependent relationship that formed the society. 50 As Rita P. Wright pointed out in Gender and Archaeology, our modern concept of domestic roles and certain production tasks, are key elements in society that are taken for granted, often these same topics have eluded the research of many scholars. 51 Prevalent notions regarding gender and the workforce propose that there was necessarily a biological basis for the division of labor between the sexes, status, and roles, in spite of availability of substantial research. 52 A historical assessment of womens participation in society does in fact lead to the conclusion that there was gender division in labor, but it is unclear whether these divisions were based on biological sex, or social attributes. Many average citizens of the Ur III Dynasty were employed seasonally by the military or temple administration, and throughout the rest of the year they were able

50 51

Conkey and Gero 1991, 15 Rita P. Wright, Gender and Archaeology. (USA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996), 2-3 52 Ibid

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freely to produce and distribute their goods. 53 As a huge number of the workforce was employed by the secular and sacred institutions of the state it is no surprise that many of these workers ranged in status from free to semi-free to utterly dependant of the government for rations . 54 It is the plebian class, those who did not have access to the means of production, many of whom were women, where the gender-based labor segregation is first apparent. Textile production is one such industry that is largely operated by females in the lower socioeconomic strata. In her study on the feminine technology of weaving Rita Wright stresses the spiritual importance of cloth and its role as a signifier of status, and even particular positions within society. 55 Owned and operated by temple leaders, the textile industry is the optimal context for exploring the place in Ur economic culture held by large groups of effeminate workers. 56 Weaving, a business and art form that specifically required a feminine labor force, was a tool of the powerful temple. Despite the apparent low wages and even alienation to which these workers were subject, it does not represent a division of labor

Wright 1996, 90. The Ur III Dynasty is much later than EDIII, 2168-2062, however as its society has strong evidence of social stratification, it is a useful analogy to the earlier period that relates more directly to the inhabitants at the Royal Cemetery. The temple, which evolved into a more structured, roledelineated organization, featuring craft specialization still contained a hierarchy 200 years earlier, despite the fact that the later period appears to have far more administration. 54 Harmut Waetzoldt, Ccmpensation of Craft Workers and Officials in the Ur III period, Labor in the Ancient Near East, ed M.A. Powell. (New Haven Connecticut: American Oriental Society, 1987), 119. Waetzolt notes that upwards of 500,000 people were in the states service; his study focuses on the UR III period, which as noted above is significantly later than EDIII. 55 Winter 1987, 192-3, 195 56 It is certain that this profession did have a bias towards employing workers with feminine qualities; however it was not exclusive to women laborers. While young boys were forced to leave the workshops before puberty, some males had certain feminine characteristics which connect them with women. I.J. Gelb Terms for slaves in Ancient Mesopotamia. Societies and Languages of the Ancient Near East: Studies in Honour of I. M. Diakonoff. (Warminister, England: Aris and Phillips, 1982), 93.

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based on discrimination; the cleavage within the workforce was an ideological and spiritual one, not one of degradation. 57 While strict codes and diminutive wages seem to have been enforced, the textile industry benefited women employees twofold. 58 It first established women as producers, supervisors 59 , distributors, and very often the recipients of the finest and most symbolically significant apparel. This arrangement insures their integral function in an essential religious dynamic. Next, the quantity of clothing items and quality needed in their creation defined this largely female labor force as a skilled, technically advanced, and irreplaceable organization in the Sumerian marketplace. This is not to suggest that these workers were revered, or even received comparatively just compensation for their work in relation to that of men, it is instead to demonstrate the ability of women to employ and be employed in an economic field dissociated from male dominance. It is noteworthy that incentives were provided for those laborers who were able to produce superior quality clothing, or at a faster rate than her coworker. 60 Aside from ones ability to perform a specific task, workers who had the experience and expertise to engage in operations of a higher value within the production process were in turn better compensated. 61 Further emphasizing the lack of bias in production processes, Linda

In a look at weaving as a feminine technology, Rita Wright (Wright 1996, 99) explains the purposeful exclusion of males from the production process and locates a religious source that explains the connection between weaving and women. Her first point is that of the Mesopotamian weaving deity, Uttu. While many gods had male/female representatives, that duality is not historically documented with this particular divinity. Furthermore, ideal female characteristics and those of clothing are mutually described as shapely and decorous; in the erotic song titled My Wool Being Lettuce associated wool with female pubic hair and reproduction. See also, Jacobson, Thorkild. The Harps that OnceSumerian Poetry in Translation. (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1987) 58 It is of note that many scholars feel that womens economic position actually was more favorable in the earlier dynasties in Ur. If that is the case, then the figures I use to show the importance of women in the labor force may actually not do workers from the earlier era(s) justice. 59 Wright 1996, 92-5 60 Wright 1996, 96-7 61 Ibid

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Hurcombe points out that within a given craft women who became highly skilled specialists of a particular facet of the trade were able to achieve recognition based on their skill alone 62 , making experienced experts in a given field critical to the production process, regardless of sex or gender. Emphasizing again that most of these women were on the lowest economic tier, it is interesting to observe how vital their employment contribution was to the state and to their family, assuming such a concept parallels the modern interpretation. Without this labor, the aesthetic element of distinguishing temple hierarchy would be undermined 63 , trade with other city-states would suffer, and the large nuclear families of the women themselves would not be materially sustainable. In short, although limited, a degree of economic self-sufficiency and mobility could be achieved through employment with even low level positions within the temple.

II: Sacred Means to Status for Women In her analysis of visual evidence and its indication of womens participation in public, Irene J. Winter constructs two categories within another group of women, those with either wealth or power. The distinctions made are: the wives of the incumbent ensi or local chief administrative officer, and high ranking priestess[es] with local jurisdiction. 64 However, it is those associated to the temple, like Puabi, that are of key

Linda Hurcombe, Time, Skill, and Craft Specialization, Gender and Material Culture in Archaeological Perspecitve. Donald, Moira, and Hurcombe, Linda ed., (Great Britain: Macmillan Press Ltd, 2000), 107 63 As stated in Wright 1996 (p. 100-1): cloth accrues great significance in ceremony and important meanings become attached to it, providing a source of legitimacy to power-holders. And the high quality grades for women of high rank clearly served to demarcate social status...Cloth states the sameness and difference within and between classes. While Wright argues that the workers are not valued it seems that they are of great significance even if underappreciated. Even if their labor was not given adequate recognition, there were too many documented regulatory practices and requirements applied to the practice for it to be considered irrelevant. For additional information on the role of attire and the en-Priestess see Roberts 2004. 64 Winter 1997, 189

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importance when discerning the impact that religion had on the ability of women to act as leaders and even equals with other administrators, transcending gender lines within a principally male political culture. Unlike many women in EDIII Ur society, who many argue were regarded simply as property, the institution of the temple and its inclination towards femininity exhibits a route by which substantial authority could be held by women. The en-priestesses, the most exalted local females who ranked in authority above many male counterparts, appear not to have been subject to any restrictions, gender-based or otherwise. In many instances upper level priestess can be observed being able to own property and transact business, even in cities other than their primary residences, and were active in many levels of economic and social life. 65 The temples priestess would be a wealthy and admired figure who had the knowledge of rituals, and could take a leading role in sacrifices and hymns of praise. 66 The priestesses were invariably related in some way to the male state-leaders as advisors or co-leaders, and they resided on the temple platform, which is referred to as a giparu. It is argued that the women were symbolically married to the god Nanna as a result of their residence there. 67 The best known example of a female religious figure is Enheduanna, the daughter of the powerful Akkadian leader Sargon, who was selected for the position of enPriestess of Ur during her fathers term. 68 Despite the blatant nepotism that allowed her to attain this high post, his impact on her exercisable power did not seem to be a limiting one. Enheduannas clout as a leading religious personage went far beyond that of a

Winter 1997, 190 Karen Rhea Nemet-Nejat, Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, (Westport, Connecticut: The Greenwood Press, 1998), 178 67 Moorey 1977, 37 68 This evidence is from the Akkadian period, this is simply a useful analogy to the EDIII time period which is relatively close in time and in spiritual practices to the time frame in consideration.
66

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simple political pawn in Sargons imperial ambitions. As Susan Pollock points out, it was through the temple hierarchy that a viable effort to centralize power could be made, thus the appointment of his daughter; despite this, Enheduanna is known to have composed controversial and radical literary works. 69 Her production of liberal and rebellious discourse on the social and spiritual circumstance of the age aimed both to secure womens power and establish what she deems to be her rightful position of authority. 70 In recognizing her own status, and exhibiting willingness to enter into confrontation to protect that rank, Enheduanna acknowledges the power of the priestess and in turn the opportunities for women within the spiritual social order. The magnitude of secular influence of a priest(ess) directly corresponded with the contemporary standing that his or her respective deity was receiving in culture. This concept would obviously maintain its implications with regard to other divinities and their respective cults. Essentially, if the cultural period was one wherein a certain god or goddess was widely doubted or scrutinized, this sentiment would be paralleled with reference to the earthly representatives of the god, those in the deitys cult. This correspondence embodies one of the key modes through which womens social position could improve or degenerate. However, from early in the Ur Dynasty up until the Assyrian influence on the region in the first millennium BCE, the goddesses were of valued standing and as such women of Ur did have an opportunity to advance through the temple system. Noah Samuel Kramer writes, the goddesses of Sumer played a crucial,
Pollock 1991a, 369-70 Ibid. When discussing Enheduannas position as an appointed head-priestess, some scholars argues that she was somehow limited, one reason being that she was not permitted to marry. This cannot be justifiably considered a limitation, for this regulation was in order to allow the priestess to in effect act as wife to a god, in effect, declaring the priestess herself as a semi-deity. Essentially, if high-priestesses were subject to any restrictions, they were not necessarily gender biased. For an earlier example of a symbolic marriage specific to Ur, female bodies at the Royal Tombs have been argued to be wives of Nanna, participants in a sacred tradition for the good of the citys future.
70 69

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pivotal role in the Sumerian religion to the very end God in Sumer never became all male. 71 For instance, a female deity, Nammu, is represented as a key figure in the creation of society. She not only created heaven and earth, but is also thought to have been a paternal personage to her creation, as she protects her followers and is comprised by the oceans of earth. 72 Some especially notable deities include: Nidaba, goddess of writing and learning; Bau and Ninisinna, medicine and healing; and Nanshe, supreme moral judge and goddess of compassion. 73 The correlation between a strong temple presence and power in affairs of the state is plainly evident. As Kramer translates from a myth featuring divinities Inanna and Enki, the former is presented with decrees of the exalted and enduring crown, the throne of kingship, the exalted scepter, the exalted shrine along with many other divine rights, not the least of which were the numerous priestly offices. 74 Later the same goddess is credited with military triumphs against barbarians, as well as being responsible for the general order of the worlds civilizations. Ultimately Inanna was given more specific local roles where she acted as a patron goddess of the Ur and Uruk vicinities, which both were acknowledged as key religious and spiritual centers throughout all Mesopotamia. 75 Inannas particular significance in Ur would have made a local priestesss influence exceptionally potent if her allegiance was specifically to that goddess. 76 In several of the most recognized literary works of Sumer, Inannas role reflects no bias towards gender or sex. She is represented as fiercely independent, courageous,
Samuel Noah Kramer, From the Poetry of Sumer: Creation, Glorification, Adoration, (University of California Press, 1979), 71 72 Samuel Noah Kramer, Mythologies of the Ancient World, (Doubleday, 1961), 38 73 Kramer 1979, 71 74 Kramer 1961, 66 75 William W. Hallo and J. J. A. van Dijk, Exaltation of Ianna, (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1968), 4 76 Hallo and Van Dirk, 5
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cunning, and confident in her own ability to soundly lead. Even when she was an opponent of the god Enki, the god of wisdom no less, she managed to swindle the divine laws, referred to as me, from him and then escape safely back to Erech. Despite her trickery, Enki remained ever friendly and gracious to the goddess, even when at times he had to suffer from her reproachful complaints.77 This depiction of Inanna corresponds to her earthly representative who at times could not be restrained from speaking out against the male dominated political happenings, yet nonetheless was revered in life and death. 78 Beyond her depiction in myths, there are great deals of hymns that also corroborate Inannas religious impact. As opposed to the notions implied by studies which completely rely on economic distinctions when studying the status of Ur women, a focus on spirituality will expose conceptions of women that not only seem to challenge and surpass masculine powers of the day, but they also reveal a more diverse picture of feminine personalities. Common perceptions are based on studies of economic records, which may suggest that women were at times dehumanized; however, religious texts depict goddesses as complex figures who were opinionated, held dissenting views, and were independent. 79 A look at the institutionalization of prostitution in Mesopotamia further supports the assertion that temple positions were valued to a higher degree than others. In an analysis of the profession at all levels of society, Gerda Lerner observes two clear divisions among types of prostitutes, those in service of the temple, and those whom she

77 78

Kramer 1979, 75 Pollock 1991a, 369-70 79 Kramer 1979, 84

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refers to as commercial prostitutes. 80 The spiritual role played by a select group of such women in Ur cannot be overlooked or merely coupled with archetypal prostitutes who engaged in the practice to support themselves. Female temple prostitutes who served the greater powers are distinguishable as they acted in cultic sexual service, as opposed to participating in sexual acts out of financial necessity. In the latter situation, many of the women were either poor or slaves, truly being commoditized, even dehumanized, by being subject to abuse without any means of challenging such treatment. The temple prostitute, or harimtu, Shamhat, who plays a major role in the Epic of Gilgamesh, lived an easier and better life than the harlot who has her stand at town hall and is abused by her drunken customers. 81 Not only is this womans standard of living higher than that of the typical prostitute but she also is depicted in the epic, a major literary work, as a praiseworthy individual. She did not play an insignificant part in the plot as she is credited for civilizing the main male character Enkidu, a fact that seems only more likely when considering the fact that many of the temple prostitutes came from wealthy or upper-class backgrounds. 82 The appearance of the prostitute in the Epic of Gilgamesh, not only concedes that some prostitutes were highly regarded (when acting in the service of the gods), but also that women were at times able to perform functions that are defined, retrospectively, as being masculine. Shamhat, as well as several of feminine characters in the epic were able to transcend any alleged gender boundaries that were either imposed by the society or by modern historians. Rivkah Harris refers to this phenomenon as symbolic inversion,
Gerda Lerner, The Origin of Prostitution in Ancient Mesopotamia, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 11, (University of Chicago Press: Winter, 1986), 238. Lerner, on 246 suggests that this distinction was most likely established at an early date in the organization of prostitution. 81 Lerner 1986, 246 82 Ibid; the wealth of some temple prostitutes is discussed on 244.
80

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wherein the status and function of one character is reversed and he or she takes on an unexpected role. 83 Perhaps it was not inversion in the eyes of the Ur inhabitants, and the alleged reversal that takes place is simply a biased modern conjecture; this possibility becomes apparent, for it does not seem as though this is limited to literary contexts. One historical moment where such an event seems to have taken place again involves highpriestess Enheduanna. Through the study of burial and iconographic evidence it appears that she was granted a dagger and sword, and In this interpretation Enheduanna can be seen as assuming male powers and males roles, and taking on the symbolic trappings of those powers and roles. 84 This is not to suggest that there was an overwhelming amount of female participation in the political and military power structure of EDIII Ur, certainly these realms were dominated largely by men; however, the temple was a potential vehicle for social advancement, and in some instances even provided opportunities to attain a status among the most elite public figures of Mesopotamia. As goddesses and their female representatives on earth, and those acting in their service, acted freely and with a great deal of power, it can no longer be maintained that women in Ur were limited to domestic roles or ones of subservience, though their prestige assumed various degrees. Perhaps the availability of public positions were largely confined to the temple, however the religious sector in EDIII Ur was far from an inconsequential organization. Private and public life were both reliant on, and at times obedient to, the callings of the great powers of feminine deities. In From the Poetry of Sumer Kramer wrote, Inanna is the very epitome of the liberated womenambitious, aggressive, vindictive, but loveable and desirable nonetheless, she allowed no one,
Rivkah Harris, Gender and Aging in Mesopotamia, The Gilgamesh Epic and Other Ancient Literature. (Oklahoma, USA: The University of Oklahoma Press, 2000), 86 84 Pollock 1991a, 370
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neither man nor god, to stand in her way. 85 As she lists the important temples of earth that she has domain over she exclaims, Heaven is mine, earth is mine I, a warrior am I! and then she challenges, Is there a god who can vie with me? 86 Regardless of whether another god could or could not challenge her authority, it is clear that females who devoutly served in her temple were able to achieve power in EDIII Ur.

Conclusion The preceding discussion demonstrates that in EDIII Ur, womens participation in all levels of society was multifaceted. Though, not all are visible in the visual arts, others are only known from material remains and literary sources of the period. It is clear however, the most visible are women who belonged in the higher socioeconomic strata, such as those buried in the Royal Cemetery of Ur. Puabi was definitely a key figure in the society in which she lived, and the consistent iconography found in her tomb leads me to believe that her status was not an isolated circumstance; instead, it appears to be a permanent office that she held. The feasting and ritual iconography, and their respective locations and mediums both confirm the elevated positions of many women. Puabis context within her tomb, and the greater cultural context in which women participated in the city-states economic and political spheres, all display strong connections between the temple and women. These ties force us to ask whether a wealthy woman like Puabi may have been an en-priestess, a possibility that scholars have acknowledged. I suggest that in all likelihood she was. Regardless, the milieu of the local temple was essential for many women and for the

85 86

Kramer 1979, 96 Kramer 1979, 97, et at Pritchard 1969, 578-9

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greater society of EDIII Ur. Putting aside modern concepts of the state, where military and economic issues are paramount, it is clear that the temple also had a major role in the administration of Ur society; these religious organizations appear to have had a bias towards femininity, and in so doing they had an enormous impact on the status of women.

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Figure 1

Figure 2

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Figure 3

Figure 4

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Figure 5

Figure 6

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Figure 7

Figure 8

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Bibliography

Aruz, Joan and Wallenfels, Ronald, Ed. 2003. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of the First Cities: The Third Millenium B.C. from the Mediterranean to the Indus. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ata, Mehmet-Ali. 2004. The Royal Tombs of Ur and Sumerian 'Song Culture', a lecture at Villanova University (Villanova, Pennsylvania: 12/07/04) Bahrani, Zainab. 2001. Women of Babyon, Gender and Representation in Mesopotamia. (London: Routledge). Bloch, Iwan. 1912. Die Prostitution Vol. 1, (Berlin: Marcus) Buchanan, Briggs. 1954. The Date of the So-Called Second Dynasty Graves of the Royal Cemetary at Ur, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 74, No. 3 (Jul. Sep.), 147-153. Claassen, Cheryl. 1992. Questioning Gender: An Introduction, Exploring Gender Through Archaeology, Selected Papers from the 1991 Boone Conference, (Madison, Wisconsin: Prehistoric Press) Collon, D. 1987. First Impressions: cylinder seals in the Ancient Near East. (London: The British Museum Press). Conkey, Margaret W. and Spector, Janet D. 1989. Archaeology and the Study of Gender, Reader in Gender Archaeology, Hays-Gilpin, Kelley, and Whitley, David S. ed. (London: Routledge) Conkey, Margaret W. and Joan M. Gero. 1991. Tensions, Pluralities, and Engendering Archaeology: An Introduction to Women and Prehistory, Engendering Archaeology, (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers) De Shong Meador, Betty. 2001. Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart: Poems of Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna. (Austin: University of Texas Press) Dietler, Michael and Hayden, Brian. 2001. Digesting the Feat: Good to Eat, Good to Drink, Good to Think, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power. (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press) Endicott, K. 1981. The conditions of egalitarian male-female relationships in foraging societies. (Canberra Anthropology, 4:1-10).

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Finkelstein, J.J. 1966. Sex Offenses in Sumerian Laws. Journal of the American Oriental Society, (Vol. 86, No. 4, Oct-Dec, 355-372). Frymer-Kensky, Tikva. 1997. "The Marginalization of the Goddess". in Maier, John, ed. Gilgamesh: a Reader. (Wauconda, Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci) Gelb, I.J. 1982. Terms for slaves in Ancient Mesopotamia. Societies and Languages of the Ancient Near East: Studies in Honour of I. M. Diakonoff. (Warminister, England: Aris and Phillips). Gilchrist, Roberta. 1999. Gender and Archaeology: contesting the past. (London: Routledge) Glubok, Shirley, ed. 1969. Discovering the Royal Tombs at Ur. (London: The Macmillan Company). Gorelick, Leonard; Gwinnett, A. John. 1990. The near Eastern Cylinder Seal as Social Emblem and Status Symbol, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Jan.) Hall, Mark G. 1985. A Study of the Sumerian Moon-God, Nanna/Suen, an unpublished PhD dissertation, (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia) Harris, Rivkah. 2000. Gender and Aging in Mesopotamia, The Gilgamesh Epic and Other Ancient Literature. (Oklahoma, USA: The University of Oklahoma Press). Harvey, Andrew and Anne Baring. 1996. The Divine Feminine, Exploring the Feminine Face of God Around the World. (Berkeley, CA: Conari Press) Hurcombe, Linda. 2000. Time, Skill, and Craft Specialization, Gender and Material Culture in Archaeological Perspecitve. Donald, Moira, and Hurcombe, Linda ed., (Great Britain: Macmillan Press Ltd) Jacobson, Thorkild. 1987. The Harps that OnceSumerian Poetry in Translation. (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press) Kent, Susan. 1999. Egalitarianism, equality, and equitable power, Manifesting Power: Gender and the interpretation of power in archaeology. Sweely, Tracy L. ed. (London: Routledge) Leacock, Eleanor. 1975. Class, Commodity, and the Status of Women, Women CrossCulturally. Change and Challenge. Rohrlich-Leavitt, Ruby, ed. (Paris: Mouton Publishers)

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Lerner, Gerda. 1986. The Origin of Prostitution in Ancient Mesopotamia, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 11. (University of Chicago Press: Winter) Matthews, Roger. 2003. The Archaeology of Mespotamia, Theories and Approaches. (New York, New York: Routledge). Meier, Samuel. 1991. Women and Communication in the Ancient Near East. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol III, No. 3, Jul-Sep, 540-547). Moorey, P.R.S.1982. Ur Of the Chaldees: A revised and updated edition of Sir Leonard Woolleys Excavations at Ur. (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press,). 1977. "What do we know about the people buried in the Royal Cemetery?" in Expedition. The University Museum Magazine of the University of Pennsylvania. (Vol. 20 Number 1 Fall: 24-40) Nemet-Nejat, Karen Rhea. 1998. Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. (Westport, Connecticut: The Greenwood Press). Pelzel, Suzanne M. 1977. Dating the Early Dynastic Votive Plaques from Susa, (Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 36, 1) Pollock, Susan1991a- Images of Sumerian Women, in Joan M. Gero and Margaret W. Conkey, Engendering Archaeology (Oxford: Blackwell), 1991b- Of Priestesses, Princes and Poor Relations: The Dead in the Royal Cemetery of Ur. (Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 1:21, 171-189) 1983- The Symbolism of Prestige: An Archaeological Example from the Royal Cemetary of Ur. (Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Michigan) Pritchard, James B., ed. 1969. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, (Princeton: Princeton University Press) Roberts, Janet. Enheduanna, Daughter of King Sargon Princess, Poet, Priestess 2300 B.C. (Transoxiana Journal de Estudios Orientales). Available online at: http://www.transoxiana.org/0108/roberts-enheduanna.html#ref_pie Sandars, N.K. 1971. Poems of Heaven and Hell from Ancient Mesopotamia. (New York: Penguin Books).

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Silverblatt, Irene. 1991. Interpreting Women in States, Gender at the Crossroads of Knowledge. di Leonardo, Micaela, ed., (Los Angeles: University of California Press) Science Newsletter, The Weekly Summary of Current Science. 1929. (Science Service: January 19) Smith, Monica, ed. 2003. The Social Construction of Ancient Cities. (Washington: Smithsonian Institution). Vivante, Bella, ed. 1999. Womens Roles in Ancient Civilizations. (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press). Waetzoldt, Harmut. 1987. Ccmpensation of Craft Workers and Officials in the Ur III period, Labor in the Ancient Near East, ed M.A. Powell. (New Haven Connecticut: American Oriental Society) Wilson, Karen. 2000. Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur. The Oriental Institute News and Notes, No. 167, Fall. Winter, Irene J. 1987. Women in Public: The Disk of Enheduanna, The Beginning of the Office of En-Priestess, and the Weight of Visual Evidence, La Femme dans le Proche-Orient Antique, Editions Recherche sur les Civilizations, (Paris) Woolley, Sir Leaonard. 1965- Excavations at Ur, A record of Twelve Years Work. (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company) 1935- The Development of Sumerian Art. (London: Faber and Faber Limited) 1934- Ur Excavations Volumme II The Royal Cemetary: Areport on the Predynastic and Sargonic Graves Excavated Between 1926 and 1931. (Great Britain: University of Oxford Press) Wright, Rita P. 1996. Gender and Archaeology. (USA: University of Pennsylvania Press) Ziskind, Jonathon R. 1972. The Sumerian Problem. The History Teacher, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Jan.), 34-41

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Figures

Figure 1- Puabis Seal. BM 121544, The British Museum, London. H. 4.9 cm; Diam. 2.5 cm; PG 800, U. 10939. Figure 2- Map of Mesopotamia. http://www.biblehistory.com/maps/maps/ancient_mesopotamia1.gif Figure 3- Wall Plaque With Libation Scenes. Limestone, H. 22.9 cm; W. 26 cm. The British Museum London, BM 118561. Figure 4- Warka (Uruk) Vase. National Museum, Baghdad. Figure 5"

Standard of Ur. Mesopotamia, Ur, PG 779, U.11164. Trustees of The British Museum, London BM 121201.

Figure 6- BM 121544. Trustees of the British Museum, London. H. 4.9cm; Diam. 2.5 cm. PG 800, U. 10939 Figure 7- 30-12-2. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia. H. 4.5 cm; Diam, 1.5 cm. PG 1237, U. 12374. . Figure 8- Disk of Enheduanna, from Ur. Alabaster, diam. 25.6 cm. The University Museum, Philadelphia, CBS 16665.

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