Musical history: Multi-national project to reconstruct Iraq’s historic golden lyre

Thu, Oct 24, 2013

by Florian Warum

Austrian harp maker Norbert Maier is leading a project to reproduce Mesopotamia’s historic “Golden Lyre of Ur” instrument – an endeavor that involves precise detail, including a mosaic made of 3,000 semi-precious stones and a gold leaf. Maier has been working on the reconstruction of the unique musical instrument for over ten years, using original materials and the same kinds of craftsmanship as the ancient Sumerians might have used.

The Golden Lyre of Ur was discovered by archaeologists between 1922 and 1934, on a site of ancient royal burials between Basra and Baghdad. The burial sites belonged to the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, around 4,000 years old.

All those involved with the project are hopeful of the contribution to a peaceful future in Iraq. “As soon as it’s finished, and if conditions are right in Iraq, we will gift the Golden Lyre to the Iraqi people,” Maier says.

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