Austen Henry Layard

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Layard, Austen Henry


Born Mar. 5, 1817, in Paris; died July 5,1894, in London. British archaeologist and diplomat. Envoy extraordinary to Madrid from 1869 to 1877 and ambassador to Istanbul from 1877 to 1880.

In the course of two expeditions (1845–47 and 1849–51, the second with H. Rassam), Layard excavated the ruins of two Assyrian capitals—Calah and Nineveh—and conducted archaeological excavations in Babylon, Borsippa, Nippur, and other ancient cities. Five palaces dating from the ninth to seventh centuries B.C. were discovered in Calah. A palace of the seventh century B.C. with King Ashurbanipal’s library (about 20,000 clay tablets) was found in Nineveh.


Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon. London, 1853.


Ceram, C. Bogi, grobnitsi, uchenye. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from German.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Long shrewdly capitalised on the vogue for all things Assyrian that followed Austen Henry Layard's Mesopotamian excavations and the publication of his bestseller Nineveh and its Remains (1849).