Agatha Christie Linked to Assyrian Treasures

Agatha Christie was known as a famous crime writer, but did you know that she has a connection to ancient treasures that have been recently bought by the British Museum? In this article, you will learn more about the artifacts, as well as their connection to Miss Christie.

Agatha Christie was married to an archeologist who discovered a variety of ancient objects in the city of Nimrud. When Christie came in contact with the ivories that came from the site, she used her face cream in an attempt to restore their appearance. However, the scorching of the treasures were too much for the cream to resolve, as they were damaged by a fire that was responsible for taking down one of the great palaces of the ancient world. Dating back 2,600 years ago, the artifacts were buried under rubble and burnt remains of the structure.

The ivories were found during the 1940s by Max Mallowan, who was the second husband of the writer. The British Museum used fundraising efforts that collected £750,000 in six months from 1,800 members of the museum friends. They also used grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund to acquire the artifacts.

The ivories have been in storage ever since 1963. They first called the Institute of Archeology their first home, and then spent 25 years in hiding at the British Museum. The public has never set their sights on the treasures.

The director of the British Museum has described the ivories as ‘very beautiful’ and notes that there are many stories that come from the pieces that shed light on the culture they are associated with. Soon, a small exhibition will show off some of the most appealing pieces in the collection.

The link to Agatha Christie intensifies the importance of the treasures. Following a sad first marriage, Christie found love and acceptance in her second husband. She once recommended “marrying an archaeologist since he would regard a woman as more beautiful and interesting as she aged.” While Mallowan excavated the site located in northern Iraq, Christie spent long stretches of time on site during the eight years of the excavation.

Mallowan constructed a special “writing hut” for Christie, which is where she penned parts of They Came to Baghdad and A Pocket Full of Rye. During her stays, she also assisted with some of the work on the site, such as cleaning the ivories using an expensive pot of face cream. Some of the pieces that she worked on depicted sphinxes, lions, serpents and flowers. The ivories displayed intricate carving styles that were sometimes no larger than buttons. The finds were quite respected in the world of archeology.

About the Site

When Shalmaneser III built a 200-room palace at the city, it was already considered an ancient location. Around the palace, you’d find a wall measuring five miles that dates back to the 8th century. Other features of the site included temple and palaces of his father.