Botta, Paul Émile (pôl āmēlˈ bôtäˈ) [key], 1805–70, French archaeologist and government official. While consular agent at Mosul (1843) he made his renowned discoveries of Assyrian inscriptions at Khorsabad. The first investigator to uncover an Assyrian palace, Botta believed he was excavating Nineveh when he was actually exposing the palace of King Sargon II. The cuneiform inscriptions and relief pictorials recovered by Botta, now at the Louvre, played a key role in the emerging discipline of Middle Eastern archaeology. Botta wrote Monument de Ninive (5 vol., 1849–50).
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