INTER-SECTION Volume III - Page 16

| Patterns in the distribution | “Linguistic of graves Landscape in the central Studies” medieval and Archaeology cemetery of Reusel, | the Netherlands | CONTEXT FIRST A STUDY ON THE PURPOSE OF THE NIMRUD WALL RELIEFS, COMBINING THEIR SPATIAL CONTEXT AND IMAGERY Bo K.H. Schubert Leiden University Abstract During the last decades, a large amount of research has been carried out concerning Neo-Assyrian pala- ces. The most well-known features of these palaces are the wall reliefs that adorned the palace walls, which have been extensively studied as well. These wall reliefs are mainly studied in isolation, often focussing on the iconography of the images and their meaning, without looking at their spatial context. The aim of this study is to investigate the purpose of the wall reliefs in the Northwest Palace of Nimrud, combining both the images depicted on the wall reliefs and their spatial context. Since the wall reliefs are often associated with ideologies and propaganda, this study will investigate other possible functions of the wall reliefs as well. First, the wall reliefs and the suites in which they are located will be considered, in order to see if a connection can be detected between them. Second, the wall reliefs will be examined in connection to the rooms that had the same function. Keywords Archaeology of the Near East, Mesopotamia, Assyrian Empire, Northwest Palace, Ashurnasirpall II E-mail: I ntroduction Assyrian palaces have been extensively studied over the past decades, with a main focus on the royal palaces at Nimrud, Khorsabad and Nineveh (Barjamovic 2011; Kertai 2015; Oates and Oates 2001). Many of these studies have concerned themselves with the wall reliefs that adorned the palace walls. These reliefs have mainly been investigated in isolation, concerning the images themselves, their possible meaning, and their iconography (Albenda 1994; Ataç 2010; Watanabe 2014; Winter 2010). The reliefs are often associated hunting scenes and scenes of warfare (Liverani 1979; Reade 1979; Watanabe 2002). It is however problematic to make claims about these matters without studying the reliefs in their spatial contexts. Few visitors were allowed to enter the palace, yet p. 14 | VOL III | INTER-SECTION | 2017 in order for the wall reliefs to be designated as a medium for propaganda, the reliefs needed to be seen by an audience. In this article, Ashurnasirpall II’s (r. 883 – 859) Northwest Palace at Nimrud will be investigated is particularly well suited for this research, since a great range of themes can be recognised within the depictions on the wall reliefs and the locations of the wall reliefs in the palace have been reconstructed by Meuszynski (1981), and Paley and Sobolewski (1987; 1992; 1997). 1 These reconstructions make it possible to study the reliefs in their original context. This article provides an examination of the spatial context of the wall reliefs in association with their imagery.