November 30, 2022

3,400-year-old city in Iraq emerges after extreme drought

3 min read


Kurdish and German archaeologists Excavated the town. In the reservoirs of Mosul, along the Tigris River in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, in January and February. The project was partnered with the Directorate of Antiquities and Heritage in Dohuk to preserve the area’s cultural heritage for future generations.

Archaeological site Kemune is thought to be the Bronze Age city of Zakhiko, a major center of the Matani Empire that ruled from 1550 to 1350 BC. The kingdom stretches from the Mediterranean to northern Iraq and is one of the directors of the project, according to Ivana Plzez, a junior professor of Near Eastern Archeology and Geology at the University of Freiburg in Bresgau, Germany.

Zakhiko has been submerged since the Iraqi government built the Mosul Dam in the 1980s, and has rarely seen the light of day since.

When Plzeز heard that the city had re-emerged, his team hurried to excavate the site because it was not known when the water level would rise again.

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“Due to the extreme pressure of the time, we dug in frozen temperatures, snow, hail, rain, even storms as well as occasional sunny days, not knowing when the water would rise again and How much time do we have? ” .

The ancient city is now submerged, but researchers were able to catalog most of the site.

When the city briefly emerged in 2018, a palace had already been documented, but several additional structures were documented during the latest excavations. Some of the discoveries include a complete fortification with towers and walls and a multi-storey high-rise storage building.

The researchers said that most of the structures were made of sun-dried clay bricks, which do not normally settle well under water. However, Zakhiko suffered an earthquake around 1350 BC, and parts of the upper walls collapsed and covered the buildings.

Preserving the past

Plzeز said there is little information about the ancient Matani people who built the city, largely because researchers have not identified the empire’s capital or traced its remains. However, some of the specimens discovered during the latest excavations may help provide insights.

Archaeologists found five ceramic vessels containing more than 100 clay uniform tablets, which were found near the site of the quake. According to a news release, they are thought to date from the Middle Assyrian period, which lasted from 1350 to 1100 BC, and may shed light on the demise of the city and the rise of Assyrian rule in the region.

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“It is almost a miracle that cannibalistic bullets made of non-flammable clay have survived underwater for decades,” said Peter Fleisner, professor of archeology at the University of Tوبbingen and one of the directors of excavations. In a statement.

The bullets are not yet understood, but Plzez speculated they belonged to a private archive.

“I am curious to know what the study of uniform texts will reveal about the fate of the city and its inhabitants after the catastrophic earthquake,” he said.

All excavated artifacts, including tablets, are housed in the Dohuk National Museum.

Before the city disappeared into the water again, researchers covered the ruins in plastic sheets covered with rocks and gravel. Pilges hopes the measures will protect the ancient site from water erosion and prevent it from disappearing completely.



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