BAR 20:03, May/Jun 1994
Mari (Tell Hariri, Syria)
Goddess, priestess, queen or worshiper? No one knows the identity of this compelling woman from ancient Mari, whose wide, almond-shaped eyes have stared out from under her tall headdress for more than 4,300 years. Lines of bitumen still accentuate her arresting eyes, made of shell and originally inlaid with lapis lazuli pupils. Erosion has damaged the womans nose and chin, and only the remains of one earring project from the braided hair that encircles her face. A dovetail hole in the base of the neck suggests that the head was once attached to a body.
Measuring about 6 inches high, the gypsum sculpture is the largest of several female heads, all with characteristic …