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Andy Lowings

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 253068

March 2009
The Golden Lyre of Ur travels to the USA



On 11 March 2009 the intrepid travellers Andy Lowings and Jennifer Sturdy set off from London Heathrow to Washington DC with the Gold Lyre of Ur. United Airlines were extremely interested and helpful: halfway across the Atlantic there was a message from the pilot, " we have your important cargo safely stowed!"

And so it continued, with support and help from friends in Clifton, Virginia, and the sponsorship of Dr Hadi Al Khalili, the Iraqi Cultural Attache.

There were two performances at the Rasmusson Theatre, in the American Indian Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. This is a very modern, state-of-the-art performance venue, with excellent sound and lighting facilities. It seats around 330 people, and on Saturday 14 March there was a full house. The audience was mainly delegates from an Iraqi-American conference: they knew all about the Gold Lyre of Ur, and clustered round excitedly at the end to have their photographs taken with it and to ask many questions about the making of it and the performance, which had consisted of a brief introduction about the project, given by Andy, then performances by Jennifer of translated Sumerian poetry, a translated dialogue between Andy and Jennifer, and a reading of a poem in Arabic. The latter was read by a lady well-known in Iraq as a newsreader on Iraqi television.

One of the very significant members of the audience who introduced himself at the end was Professor Donny George, formerly director of the Museum of Baghdad. He was very positive about the entire project, which he has apparently followed keenly since its inception. We too have followed his activities in working towards the restoration of the antiquities of Iraq, so it was an exciting moment to meet face-to-face. On Sunday 15 March there was a second concert at the Rasmusson Theatre, with an invited audience from the Iraqi community in Washington DC and the immediate vicinity. Once again, there was an enthusiastic reception. Andy and Jennifer were also interviewed for Iraqi TV.

Thanks must go to Dr Al Khalili and his team for making these events possible. We would very much like to return to the USA in the future.


Talk at the Library of Congress Washington DC


Whilst in America we were contacted to tell the story of the Royal Lyres of Ur at the Library of Congress itself.
It was St Patrick's day at noon when we climbed the steps opposite the US Congress building itself and it was fantastic to see our project up on the announcement board at the entrance.

Andy Lowings had been promoted by the management to "Art Historian"..…perhaps …… but "Art Historian from Oxford" was as wrong as the photograph chosen for the event which showed Bill Taylor !


The talk was filmed and recorded and is available on the internet at:



Vermont University talk to the students


Following on from an invitation from Assistant. Professor of Classics John Franklin of Vermont University, Andy flew up to Burlington in Vermont and talked to a packed-out lecture theatre on the subject of the Lyre.

Unfortunately the aircraft was too small to take the Lyre inside and it had to be left at Ronald Reagan Airport. But the event was a success and the gold bull's head was much admired by staff and students.

To finish off the talk, the love poem "What lies can I offer to my mother?" was performed live by two brave students pulled out of the audience. The students there are hugely interested in the classical worlds of Greece and Rome and we hope to plan some event as a collaborative venture with UV.

Thank you again to John Franklin and his wife for looking after Andy and for making this fine event work so perfectly.