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These colossal stone gateway figures, iconic symbols of the Assyrian empire, were discovered by the English archaeologist Austen Henry Layard in the middle of the 19th century, before being covered up again and re-excavated by Iraqi archaeologists about 15 years ago.
The Ottomans' generosity would have been much appreciated by British archeologists such as Austen Henry Layard (1817-94), who made his reputation by conducting large-scale excavations in Mesopotamia.
The line of scholars investigating the AST begins with Austen Henry Layard who introduced the notion of the 'tree of life' and maintained that the AST was the tree from the Garden of Eden.
Adkins explores his relationships with Irish scholar Edward Hincks, Austen Henry Layard, who excavated Nineveh, and their roles in deciphering cuneiform.
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).