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The Khorsbad Barrel, an exceptionally valuable piece consisting of a clay cylinder containing a cuneiform text is the item of the month at the National Museum of Romanian History (MNIR). The text refers to the reign of Assyrian King Sargon II (721 – 705 BC.): his battles and conquests, the organization and administration of his empire, and the history of his newly-founded capital city of Dur-Sarukin (Khorsabad).
The micro-exhibition will open on Wednesday in the presence of French Ambassador to Romania Philippe Gustin, and Mohammed Saeed Al-Shakarchi, Iraq’s ambassador to this country. The barrel was part of the archaeological inventory of diggings at Khorsabad, once the capital of the Sargon II-ruled kingdom. According to the MNIR, the barrel was discovered by Victor Place (1818–1875), while a French diplomatic envoy in Mossoul (1851 – 1855), when he enthusiastically engaged in the study of Assyriology. He was tasked by the French authorities to oversee the diggings at Khorsabad. Victor Place was then appointment consul of France to Moldavia (1855–1863). During his tenure, he dedicated himself to the fulfillment of the Union of Romanian Principalities. After he finished his diplomatic career, he returned to Romania, where he spent the last years of his life. He is buried in the Eternity Cemetery in Iasi.
Assyrian kings used to put in the foundations of new constructions various objects containing messages to the coming generations. The Khorsabad is such piece illustrating the foundation rituals practiced by Assyrians. Victor Place discovered several barrels, of which only seven were preserved, now in museum collections in France, the UK, Israel and Romania. The Khorsabad Barrel also stands out by being the only one with nine sides, while the others are eight or ten-sided.
The Khorsabad Barrel, which the MNIR acquired in 1978 from a descendant of Victor Place, is a valuable documenting source for universal history and unique to Romania.
The micro-exhibition is open February 20 – March 17, 2013, Wednesdays thru Sundays, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.