- RASSAM, Hormuzd
- (1826–1910)Archaeologist and explorer. Son of an archdeacon of the Assyrian (Chaldean Christian) Church of Mosul, and brother of the English consul there, he became a clerk of Austen Layard in 1848, assisting in the excavations of Nimrud (Kalhu) and Nineveh. He continued digging there for the British Museum after Layard left in 1852, and made the spectacular discovery of the North Palace of Ashurbanipal, with its famous lion-hunt reliefs and the ruins of the library with its substantial collection of tablets. His work for the British government took him also to Arabia and Abyssinia, where he was imprisoned for two years in a failed attempt to free Jewish missionaries.He returned to archaeological work from 1878 to 1882, again on behalf of the British Museum (see his accounts in his book Asshur and the Land of Nimrod, 1897). He had a striking ability to identify the most propitious place for excavations, with often immediate, stunning results, as at Sippar, where his workmen found the remains of the Shamash temple and the foundation deposits of Nabuapla-iddina, or at Balawat, where he found the bronze gates of the palaceof Ashurnasirpal II. His later years were overshadowed by a libel suit claiming that he had kept antiquities for himself, which he fought and won. He died in Hove, near Brighton, where he had retired in 1882.
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. EdwART. 2012.