British Museum

A kingly chronicle. Discovered in 1846 by Austen Henry Layard at Nimrud, on the Tigris River in modern Iraq, this four-sided, 6.5-foot-high stone stela, known as the Black Obelisk, is carved with five rows, or registers, of relief sculptures. Each register wraps around the stela’s four sides and depicts the tribute of a different kingdom—identified by a line of cuneiform script above the register—to the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III. The second register from the top portrays the tribute of a prostrate “Jehu, son of Omri,” a rare reference to an Israelite king in historical records. Dating to 841 B.C.E., the stela displays 190 lines of text describing 31 military campaigns conducted by Shalmaneser, including forays to the Mediterranean, Cilicia in Asia Minor, Media (modern Iran), Babylonia and the Persian Gulf.