NICOSIA, Cyprus — Archeologists have unearthed the gold-stuffed tomb of two women in what appears to be the richest discovery ever made at ancient Nimrud in northern Iraq.
The 2,700-year-old tomb in the palace of King Ashurnasirpal II contained more than 55 pounds of gold jewelry, including diadems, necklaces, earrings, belts and anklets, the English-language Baghdad Observer reported.
The official Iraqi News Agency, monitored in Cyprus, carried details of the newspaper report.
Ashurnasirpal II was a ruthless but brilliant military leader who built the vast palace at Nimrud in the 9th Century B.C.
Muzahem Mahmoud, the Iraqi archeologist who made the new discovery, said an inscribed stone tablet found in the 32-by-14-foot burial chamber identified one of the women as Yabaya of the Assyrian royal court, the newspaper reported.
The inscription in wedge-shaped cuneiform script also placed a curse on anyone who opened the tomb.
"If anyone lays his hands on my tomb, or opens my grave, or steals my jewelry, I pray to the gods of the nether world that his soul shall roam in the scorching sun after death. . . . Let the ghost of insomnia take hold of him forever and ever," it said.
The other woman was identified only as a much younger person named Taliya, the newspaper said.
Yabaya's possessions included gold needles, a bronze mirror with its enamel handle encrusted with precious stones and tiny tongs for applying \o7 kohl\f7 , a dark eye makeup, the newspaper said.
"We found more than 100 earrings beside her skull, some small, some large. She had all her personal belongings buried with her in the grave," Mahmoud said.