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Brick Vault at Mugheir

Brick Vault at Mugheir.jpg Chaldean TombThumbnailsCuneiform InscriptionChaldean TombThumbnailsCuneiform InscriptionChaldean TombThumbnailsCuneiform InscriptionChaldean TombThumbnailsCuneiform InscriptionChaldean TombThumbnailsCuneiform InscriptionChaldean TombThumbnailsCuneiform Inscription
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Next to their edifices, the most remarkable of the remains which the Chaldaeans have left to after-ages, are their burial-places. While ancient tombs are of very rare occurrence in Assyria and Upper Babylonia, Chaldaea Proper abounds with them. It has been conjectured, with some show of reason, that the Assyrians, in the time of their power, may have made the sacred land of Chai the general depository of their dead, much in the same way as the Persians even now use Kerbela and Nedjif or Meshed Ali as special cemetery cities, to which thousands of corpses are brought annually. At any rate, the quantity of human relics accumulated upon certain Chaldaean sites is enormous, and seems to be quite beyond what the mere population of the surrounding district could furnish.

The brick vaults are found chiefly at Mugheir. They are seven feet long, three feet seven inches broad, and five feet high, composed of sun-dried bricks imbedded in mud, and exhibit a very remarkable form and construction of the arch. The side walls of the vaults slope outwards as they ascend; and the arch is formed, like those in Egyptian buildings and Scythian tombs, by each successive layer of bricks, from the point where the arch begins, a little overlapping the last, till the two sides of the roof are brought so near together that the aperture may be closed by a single brick. The floor of the vaults was paved with brick similar to that used for the roof and sides; on this floor was commonly spread a matting of reeds, and the body was laid upon the matting. It was commonly turned on its left side, the right arm falling towards the left, and the fingers resting on the edge of a copper bowl, usually placed on the palm of the left hand. The head was pillowed on a single sun-dried brick.

Author
The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 1. (of 7): Chaldaea, by George Rawlinson
Available from gutenberg.org
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