In March 1876 the trustees of the British Museum despatched Smith once more to excavate the rest of Assur-banipal's library.
Bees can excavate timber and make their brood-chambers in hollow plant-stems.
The lowest part of the surface of this rock was reached after excavating through alluvial deposits to a depth of about 70 ft., but owing to its fissured and cavernous nature it became necessary to excavate to much greater depths, reaching in places more than 120 ft.
In many cases, however, it has been found necessary to reopen the mine through the fallen ground, and even to excavate openings through the solid mineral.
These ruins were discovered in 1877 by Ernest de Sarzec, at that time French consul at Basra, who was allowed, by the Montefich chief, Nasir Pasha, the first Wali-Pasha, or governor-general, of Basra, to excavate at his pleasure in the territories subject to that official.
So much slaughter had gone on during that period of storm and stress that it was long impossible to excavate in any direction without coming on human remains.