Ancient name: Kalhu, Kalchu, Kalach (Kalakh)
  • Site type:

    Settlement site – royal capital city


    Upper Mesopotamia


    Neo-Assyrian period (first half of the 1st millennium BC):
    – reign of Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC)
    – reign of Shalmaneser III (858–824 BC)
    – reign of Tiglath-pileser III (745–727 BC)

Most interesting finds:

– Partly uncovered unknown building from the time of Ashurnasirpal II (the so-called Central Building), probably one of the temples built by this ruler on the citadel
– Lamassu statues from the structure built in the time of Shalmaneser III
– Deposit of reliefs from the time of Tiglath-pileser III
– Large deposit of pottery from one of the rooms of the Central Building

History of research:

Dates of PCMA research:


The site was excavated by numerous expeditions since mid-19th century:
1845–1847, 1849–1851 Austen Henry Layard,
1853–1879 Hormuzd Rassam, William Kenneth Loftus, George Smith
1949–1957 Max Mallowan
1958–1963 David Oates
1959­– Directorate of Antiquities of the Republic of Iraq
1987–1989 Paolo Fiorina
1989 John Curtis

Type of research:

Excavations, conservation

Project director:

Janusz Meuszyński

Co-operating institutions:

– Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw
– Directorate of Antiquities of the Republic of Iraq

Description of site and research results:

Polish excavations in Nimrud concentrated on recreating the relief decoration of the Northwestern Palace from the 9th century BC, built by Ashurnasirpal II. and nearby, in the central part of the citadel. This included drawing of detailed architectural plans and full inventory of stone slabs and their fragments, which had been left in place after the 19th-century excavations, and also identification of hundreds of known fragments of low reliefs which had been taken away from Nimrud in the past. As a result, it was possible to reconstruct whole relief compositions, taking into account also the presumed location of the fragments which had become scattered all over the world.

Excavations were also conducted in the central part of the nearby citadel. The relics of another building from the time of Ashurnasirpal II, probably one of the eight temples built by him on the citadel in Nimrud, were discovered there. Other important finds included a pair of lamassu sculptures from the building of Shalmaneser III (the successor of Ashurnasirpal II) and a deposit of reliefs from the time of one of the later rulers, Tiglath-pileser III.

The palace was destroyed in 2015.

Additional information about the mission:

Plans, 3D visualizations of architecture, photographs and drawings of reliefs from Nimrud, including the ones excavated by the Poles, can be seen on the LEARNING SITES, Inc. website:

March-April 2016 Exhibition on PCMA research in Syria and Iraq

Project bibliography:

Hausleiter, A. (1999). Neo-Assyrian pottery from Kalhu/Nimrud with special reference to the Polish excavations in the “Central Build¬ing” (1974–76), w: A. Hausleiter, A. Reiche (red.), Iron Age Pottery in Northern Mesopotamia, Northern Syria and South-Eastern Anatolia, (=Altertumskunde des Vorderen Orients, 10). (pp. 92–93), Münster

Sobolewski, R. (1982). The Shalmanaser III Building in the central area of the Nimrud citadel, Archiv für Orientforschung, 19, 329–340.

Meuszyński, J. (1981). Die Rekonstruktion der Reliefdarstellungen und ihrer Anordnung im Nordwestpalast von Kalhu (Nimrud) (Raume B, C, D, E, F, G, H, L, N, P), Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

Paley, S. M., & Sobolewski, R. (1981). A New Reconstruction of Room Z in the North-West Palace of Aššurnaṣirpal II at Nimrud (Kalḫu). Iraq, 43, 85–99.

Meuszyński, J. (1976). Neo-Assyrian Reliefs from the Central Area of Nimrud Citadel. Iraq, 38, 37–43.

Meuszyński, J. (1974). The Throne-Room of Aššur-naṣir-apli II. (Room B in the North-West Palace at Nimrud). Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie, 64(1), 51–73


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