Friday, May 8, 2009

Film of Archaeological Excavations at Nippur, Iraq, 1948-1950

The following pieces of film are of the Nippur excavations, first and second seasons after WWII: 1948/1949, 1949/1950. They are from the University of Pennsylvania Museum Archives and are published online by them via the Internet Archive. University of Pennsylvania Museum Archive have a number of other films accessible there as well. Unfortunately these three sequences are incorrectly identified as "(Tell Billa) (1935 circa)".

The material excavated during these two seasons forms the core of the publication Nippur I, which is available online free-of-charge courtesy of the Oriental Institute Electronic Publications Initiative.

If you have knowledge of the persons included in the films, please annotate in the comments below.

See the full Internet Archive entry for this item.

See the full Internet Archive entry for this item.

See the full Internet Archive entry for this item.


mcb170 said...

At least one can see Thorkild Jacobsen and Donald McCown. Carl Haines and Irene Haines should be on the video too.

Maureen Callahan said...

I'm delighted that you were able to identify these films -- we're constantly in the process of refining our cataloging and fixing identifications from the often erroneous labels that were on the canisters.

Charles Ellwood Jones said...

Richard C. Haines, Jr., son of Carl and Irene Haines, sent along the following comments on the videos, and agreed to allow me to post them [-CEJ-]:

Part 1

Thank you very much for tracking this down. It brought back some wonderful, wonderful memories.

I concur with you that these videos are from Nippur, most probably the
1948-1949 season. I have copied this email to my sister (she's 2 1/2
years older than me - and she always will be!) and she may have a better memory. I will tell you what I believe to be true about the videos. (We have some still snapshots of some of the people I mention below in family scrapbooks.)

I was 4 during the 1948-1949 season. I was also out on the dig when I was 6 and then again when I was 8 and 16. One thing that may help date the videos is that I don't see the railway cars for dumping the dirt. If the railway cars didn't come onto the dig until the 1950-1951 season, then these videos are probably from the 1st season.

The people on the dig that year I believe were:

Don McCown, the director
Carl Haines (my father) - Irene, my mother helped glue pot shards together
Francis Steele - his wife (I think her name was Marian) did photography
Frank Hildebrand
Harry Paine Whitney
Muhammad Ali

Looking at the 3 videos, I note the following:

-- Opening scene shows the Ziggurat with the Haynes house on top -
definitely Nippur
-- 5:55 - I do not recognize the woman
-- 6:11 - There appears to be a boat with a mast in the canal. I never saw such a boat in Afak and there were no canals right around the dig.
-- The scene shows 2 vehicles, a blue jeep and a woody. I don't
remember the woody. I do remember that the dig (I'm not sure which
year) had both an blue jeep and a red one.
-- 6:26 - There are marsh huts in scene. I don't recall any such huts
either in Afak or near the dig. However, such huts are in the marsh
area of Iraq.
-- 7:13 - This is Don McCown
-- 7:17 - The Arab standing by the wagon is Abdullah Sultan. He was a Shurgatti who did not dig on the dig, but ran the expedition house.
-- 9:15 - The distinctive Ziggurat.
-- 10:01, ll:30 - More images of Don McCown
-- 11:53 - This video show the Ziggurat in the background and Don McCown in the middle ground.
--12:14 - Khalif Bedoui is standing behind the Arab standing with the
shovel. Khalif was the foreman for the dig.

Charles Ellwood Jones said...

Richard C. Haines, Jr., son of Carl and Irene Haines, sent along the following comments on the videos, and agreed to allow me to post them [-CEJ-]:

Part 2

-- 2:34 - I believe the bearded man is probably Frank Hildebrand
-- 2:50, 3:24, 8:00, 9:17 - I believe the man in the reddish brown coat
with the beret is Muhammad Ali
-- 10:07 - This is my sister Alice with Muhammad Ali
-- 11:25 - This is Khalif Bedoui with the pick. I imagine this picture was posed since I don't think Khalf ever actually dug - he supervised the diggers.
-- 11:38 - I don't know this woman.

-- 4:27 - I think the guard standing above the dig with a rifle over his shoulder is probably Noor. He was the dig's guard for decades and this stance looks familiar.
-- 5:08 - I'm not sure if the little girl in the kafayah is my sister Alice or not. During one of the years on the dig Don McCown had his two children out there and I think one of them was a girl.
-- 6:40 - This is my sister Alice. Since she is wearing the same outfit
and is in the same part of the dig as her picture in the -0555 video, my guess is that this one was spliced out-of-sequence.
-- 7:07 - I'm not sure who this is, but since she's a woman doing photography, I assume she is Francis Steele's wife.
-- More photos of Alice and Marian Steele?
-- 8:47 - The Ziggurat is in the background, so this sequence is still at Nippur.
-- 10:57 - I believe this is Frank Hildebrand.
-- 12:05 - I'm not sure who the woman with the pots is, but since she
ends up photographing them, I assume it is Marian Steele, again.
-- 13:08 - This is Francis Steele
-- 13:36 - This looks like Noor's house at the edge of the dig at

Again, my sister may be able to help you more. Thank you again for
finding these videos. I have such wonderful memories of my time in

Anonymous said...

Richard Carl Haines