Iraq is one of the worst-affected countries in the world by the effects of climate change. For several months, a severe drought has been afflicting the Tigris River and a large chunk of the country’s southern region.
Massive volumes of water have been removed from the Mosul reservoir, Iraq’s largest water storage facility, to keep crops from drying up since the beginning of December. This resulted in the discovery of a Bronze Age metropolis after decades of archaeological inquiry. It was found in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, specifically in the city of Kemune.
As a result of this unforeseen calamity, archaeologists were pressed to locate and characterise at least portions of this enormous and important metropolis before it was submerged by the Tigris River once more. The researchers decided to start rescue excavations at Kemune on the spur of the moment.
Digging up the past from the Tigris River.
A crew dedicated to the rescue excavations was assembled in a matter of days. The German and Kurdish archaeological teams were working under strong time limitations due to a lack of knowledge about when the reservoir’s water level will begin to rise again.
A large industrial complex, massive defences, and a multi-story warehouse are all part of the picture.
Thanks to the researchers’ efforts, the majority of the city could be mapped in a relatively short length of time. Aside from the palace, which was discovered during a brief trip in 2018, several other massive constructions were newly discovered. A multi-story storage facility, an industrial complex, and a fortification with walls and towers were among the structures built. The Mittani Empire ruled over much of northern Mesopotamia and Syria between 1550 and 1350 B.C.
The vast storehouse is really significant since it must have housed enormous quantities of supplies supplied from all across the region, according to the researchers. The dig revealed that the site was formerly a prominent Mittani Empire centre.
The walls were made of sun-dried mud bricks and had been buried for more than 40 years, yet remained incredibly well preserved. In 1350 B.C., an earthquake demolished the city, causing the disaster. The earthquake forced the city walls to fall at their highest points, burying the structures beneath the rubble.
Ceramic jars that housed over a hundred cuneiform tablets each.
The discovered five clay containers carrying an archive of over a hundred cuneiform tablets. They were built immediately after the city was destroyed by an earthquake during the Middle Assyrian period.
This discovery, the researchers believe, will shed light on the region’s transition from Mittani to Assyrian authority, which occurred about the same time. The fact that cuneiform tablets made of unfired clay survived for so long while immersed in the Tigris River is almost miraculous.
Avoiding flooding damage in the name of conservation
As part of a comprehensive restoration effort funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the excavated homes were completely covered with tight-fitting plastic sheeting and then resurfaced with gravel.
The project’s purpose was to protect the historically valuable site from damage caused by rising Tigris River water in the future. This is done to prevent flooding of the unbaked clay walls and any other artefacts hidden within the ruins.
The place has now unfortunately been reburied completely, but thankfully the discovery was well documented by the hard work of the team.
Story Source: Original press release by University of Freiburg. Note: Content may be edited for style and length by Scible News.