Sir Austen Henry Layard (1817-1894) was one of the leading British archaeologists of the nineteenth century. His excavations provided important evidence about ancient Mesopotamia, particularly about the Assyrian civilisation, and his books - part travel writing, part specialised archaeological studies - are beautifully evocative. First published in 1853, this two-volume study follows the earlier Nineveh and its Remains (1849). It describes Layard's second expedition to the Near East, in 1845, which led to the identification of Kouyunjik as the great Assyrian capital Nineveh. In this richly illustrated book, Layard focuses on the description and interpretation of ruins, as he tells of the discovery of the lost palace of the Assyrian king Sennacherib (eighth century BCE) in northern Iraq. Volume 1 is an account of the excavations at Kouyunjik, and also describes a journey along the Khabur river in Syria, where Layard assesses the influence of Assyrian art on the region.
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