The discovery of the 18-ton lamassu from Sargon II’s era in northern Iraq redefines our perception of Assyrian culture, but the looters removed its head in the 1990s. How does this discovery reshape our understanding of Assyrian culture?

Iraq Lamassu Sculpture

(Iraq State Board of Antiquities & Heritage)

PARIS, FRANCE—Euronews reports that an 18-ton limestone sculpture of a lamassu dated to the reign of the Assyrian king Sargon II, who ruled from 721 to 705 B.C., has been uncovered in northern Iraq by an Iraqi-French team of archaeologists. A lamassu is a mythical creature with a man’s head, the body of a bull, and the wings of an eagle. Such sculptures served as symbols of intelligence, strength, and freedom. This one was first recorded in the nineteenth century at the entrance to the ancient city of Dur-Sharrukin (present-day Khorsabad).

May be an image of 2 people

Although the head is now detached from the rest of the sculpture, it is believed to have been recovered from looters in the 1990s and is currently housed in the Baghdad Museum. “The rest of the body was found here and is in excellent shape,” said Pascal Butterline of Sorbonne University. “We can now study the whole context of this beautiful gate which might still be in very good condition,” he explained.

25. Lamassu from the citadel of Sargon II, Dur Sharrukin (modern Khorsabad,  Iraq). Neo-Assyrian. c. 720–705 B.C.E. Alabaster.

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