Archaeology of Ancient Assyria - Calah

Gen 10:8-12

8 Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth.

9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD."

10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

11 From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah,

12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city).



It is revealed in the Scriptures that Nimrod first built Calah in the land of Assyria. It later became one of the capital cities of Assyria, and revealed in cuneiform texts as Kalhu. The modern site is called Nimrud and is located 22 miles northeast of the area where the Tigris River and the Upper Zab rivers come together.


Calah was one of the mounds that was excavated by Austen Henry Layard of Britain, the young Assyriological pioneer, in 1845. During his excavations he also uncovered three palaces revealing a great variety of inscriptions, statues and sculpture, among these was the famous Black Obelisk of Shamaneser III (859-824 B.C.). The panels on the obelisk depict the tribute that was brought to king Shalmaneser from various kings (tributaries), including an Israelite king "Jehu, son of Omri" who is shown bowing before the Assyrian monarch (841 B.C.). Layard also uncovered the colossal winged man-headed lions guarding the palace entrance. A statue of Ashurnasirpal II was found in an excellent state of preservation.


The discoveries at Calah can be traced back to the most ancient of times, when civilization first began. The ancient city had been making trade with Ur, the city in Lower Mesopotamia where Abraham was living before he journeyed to Canaan. Shalmaneser I (1274-1245 B.C.) rebuilt Calah and made it his capital giving it fame in his day. Later the city had fallen into decay and the great conqueror Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.) chose to make Calah his capital over Ashur beautifying it with new temples, a new citadel and began the construction of the Great Ziggurat. Shalmaneser III and Tiglath-Pileser also made Calah their capital in Assyria. The Assyrians launched their campaigns against Israel from Calah and there Sargon II brought his booty and captives after the fall of Samaria (722 B.C.). Assyrian annals mention contacts with some nine Hebrew kings: Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Menahem, Pekah, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh.


Ancient Calah covered an area of around 16 square miles. Calah finally fell after Nineveh in 612 B.C.


Priceless discoveries from Calah are on display in the British Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the University Museum at Philadelphia, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.


Also see Archaeological Discoveries


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Welcome to Free Bible: Unearthing the Past, Illuminating the Present! Step into a world where ancient history and biblical narratives intertwine, inviting you to explore the rich tapestry of human civilization.

Discover the captivating stories of forgotten empires, delve into the customs and cultures of our ancestors, and witness the remarkable findings unearthed by dedicated archaeologists.

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Join us on this extraordinary journey through time, where curiosity is rewarded and ancient mysteries await your exploration.

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