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3,400 year old palace discovered at Mosul Dam

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3,400 year old palace discovered at Mosul Dam

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:48 pm

3,400 year old palace discovered
under Mosul Dam’s receding water

German and Kurdish archaeologists have uncovered an ancient palace in the Kurdistan Region as the water levels in the Mosul Dam recede

The ruins are located in Kimune, where the ancient city of Zakhiku, ruled over the Mittani Empire, is believed to have been located. The archaeological team-- a joint effort between the Kurdistan Archaelogy Organization (KAO), the University of Tubingen in Germany, and the Duhok Directorate of Antiquities-- announced the discovery of the palace and cuneiform tablets in a press release on Thursday.

The site had originally been discovered back in 2010 when the dam had low water levels. When water levels in the dam’s reservoir hit another low in autumn 2018, the archaeology team launched “a spontaneous rescue excavation”-- the first excavation of the site.

The site shows a carefully designed building with mud-brick walls up to two meters thick, according to Dr. Ivana Puljiz from the Tubingen Institute. Some of the walls also feature bright red and blue paintings.

While murals were likely a typical feature of palace in the Ancient Near East, they are rarely found preserved, said Puljiz, “so discovering wall paintings in Kemune is an archaeological sensation.”

Mural fragment with blue and red paint. Photo: University of Tübingen and Kurdistan Archaeology Organization

The team also discovered ten clay tablets etched in cuneiform, an ancient writing system. They are now being translated and analyzed by a philologist.

"From the texts we hope to gain information on the inner structure of the Mittani empire, its economic organization, and the relationship of the Mittani capital with the administrative centers in the neighboring regions," Puljiz told CNN.

“Discovering the site of the city of Zakhiku of the Mittanis in this area will bring Kurdistan’s civilization to light again,” Dr. Hassan Ahmed Qasim, head of the KAO in Duhok, told Rudaw.

He said that the find is "one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the region in recent decades."

The Mittanis are one of the least researched empires of the Near East, so the discovery is particularly significant in the field of archaeology.

The empire stretched from the eastern Mediterranean coast to the east of what is present-day northern Iraq from the 15 to 14 centuries BCE, with its capital Washukanni located in north-east Syria.

The Mittani empire lost its political significance around 1350 BCE, when its territory was overtaken by the Hittites and Assyrians.

A room in the palace during excavations Photo: University of Tübingen and Kurdistan Archaeology Organization

Though the palace would have sat on the eastern bank of the Tigris River during ancient times, the site was flooded when the Mosul Dam was built in the 1980s. The ruins are now located within the dam’s reservoir.

Heavy rainfalls this past winter and spring have left the site has once again submerged, leaving the researchers unsure of when they will be able to continue the excavation.

Archaeological projects on sites in Garmyan in the Kurdistan Region, dating back 10,000 years, received a grant from the British government’s Cultural Protection Fund to help document and monitor damage caused by recent conflicts in the Region.

Artifacts from ancient Mesopotamian civilizations are threatened after years of conflict. The sites suffered damage during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) and Saddam Hussein’s Anfal campaign against the Kurdish population.

They were threatened again in 2014 by the advance of Islamic State (ISIS).
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3,400 year old palace discovered at Mosul Dam



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