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Archeology: Researchers find a 3,400-year-old lost city in Iraq

3000 years
Severe drought reveals the lost city on the banks of the Tigris River

The ruins of a city thousands of years old

© Universities of Freiburg and Tübingen

The current drought is a big problem for the people of Iraq. But for archaeologists, the draining of the Mosul Dam in the north of the country presented an unexpected opportunity.

Climate change is now visible in many parts of the world. The extreme heat has already caused deaths in India, the Colorado River is drying up in the United States, and water is becoming scarce in Iraq. Where a water tank was previously stored for the Mosul Dam, a sandy desert will stretch this summer. And it came as a surprise to a group of Kurdish and German archaeologists working in the area.

Because where the waters were drawn, there was not only a sandy land – there was a lost city, thousands of years old. After the first excavations, experts date it from 1550 to 1350 BC. Thus, the well-preserved walls and foundations discovered by archaeologists date back 3,400 years!

Archeology: Discovering a Bronze Age City

According to preliminary results, it could be the city of Zakhiko, which was once an important center of Mitanni culture. It is said to be located right on the banks of the Tigris River, a convenient strategic location. In 1350 BC a violent earthquake destroyed large parts of the city and buried it under rubble, dust and stones. What must have been a disaster for people at the time is a stroke of luck for archaeologists – this layer of rubble supposedly protected walls and foundations from the effects of the environment during the following centuries.

The city palace became visible during the drought in 2018 and was examined and documented by experts from Iraq, Freiburg and Tübingen. The fact that it belonged to an entire city was still pure speculation at the time. Now there can also be a warehouse, a kind of industrial zone with workshops, as well as towers and protective walls. In addition, the numerous inscribed clay tablets are likely to be of particular value to understanding the Mitanni culture. “It really is a miracle that these cuneiform tablets, made of unburned clay, have survived under water for so long,” says Peter Pfalzner of the University of Tübingen.

In order to protect the remains of a Bronze Age city if the water level rises again, many of the wall’s remains have now been wrapped in plastic sheeting.

source: “Euro News”

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