British Museum

The West’s fascination with things Assyrian began in the 1840s, when the British lawyer Austen Henry Layard (1817–1894) first excavated at Nineveh, sending numerous artifacts back to England. Half a century later, the British Museum sent philologist Leonard William King (at the far left in the photo) to Nineveh to recover clay tablets from Sennacherib’s palace. Despite King’s assertion that he had reburied the northern portion of the throne room, the human-headed bull seen in this photo had disappeared by the time Iraqi archaeologist Tariq Madhloom re-excavated the area in 1965.