The city of Nimrud, known as Calah in the Bible, became the capital of the neo-Assyrian Empire in 883 B.C., under King Ashurnasirpal II. At the end of the seventh century B.C., the empire collapsed and a coalition of enemies sacked the city. The relief of the priest may have been damaged deliberately in that attack. “We know many things were desecrated as part of the sacking,” says Mark Altaweel, a Mesopotamia expert at University College London.
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