The Golden Treasures of Nimrud

An Assyrian fortress city yields archaeological prizes of rare delight

The ancient city now called Nimrud, located in what is present-day Iraq, was once the military capital of one of history's fiercest empires. When word first leaked out this summer that Iraqi archaeologists had discovered a major find at the site, scientists around the world were immediately intrigued. The reports told of remarkable archaeological treasures, including royal tombs heaped with gold jewelry of exquisite quality. But reliable information about the site was virtually impossible to obtain. The Iraqis refused to grant visas to the press or let any outsiders photograph the jewelry.

Until now. Through a series of extraordinary turns of...

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