After water levels fell in drought-hit Kurdistan, locals found remains of a 3400-year-old palace.
Mosul Dam reservoir, where the palace was found, has naturally brought forth a host of archaeologists. The palace is said to belong to the Mittani empire, one of the least researched and talked about empires in the Middle East. And, knowledge of this empire, might be conducive to knowing more about the history of the land, as Kurdish-German mentioned.
(University of Tübingen eScience Centre/Kurdistan Archaeology Organization)
Hasan Ahmed Qasim, the lead Kurdish archaeologist spoke about the importance of this excavation. In an interview with the press, he mentioned how this was quite possibly the most important archaeological find of the recent decades.
The palace, at its pinnacle would have stood 65 feet above water. A mud brick structure on the terrace to provide stability to the building was probably added later to the imposing structure.
Ivana Puljiz from the University of Tubingen’s Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies, highlights the palace as a building that was carefully designed with 2 metres thick mud wall and was called Kemune. This archaeologist further mentions most of the rooms had plastered walls, and most of these walls are above 2 metres in height.
(University of Tübingen eScience Cente/Kurdistan Archaeology Organization)
In an email to CNN, Puljiz writes about the presence of wall painting in the walls of the palace. This is considered to be a ‘sensation’ in the field of archaeology and interestingly, this is just the second instance of a wall painting found while excavating the Mittani period.
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Along with the paintings, ten clay tablets with cuneiform in them has been found and sent to Germany for translation. As Puljiz believes, these would help the experts understand the socio-political and economic conditions of the land under the Mittani empire. It would also help understand the neighborly relations that this empire had with other regions.
Unfortunately, the palace submerged quite soon after the dig was conducted, and archaeologists are in the dark as to when it would resurface again.
Qasim has previously worked with the University of Tubingen and helped excavate a Bronze age city (currently underneath the village of Bassetki) in Northern Iraq in 2016. Quite in the fashion of a Spaghetti western movie, archaeologists excavated the urban space under an ISIS captured region, which the Iraqi security forces recaptured soon.
This urban space measured around a kilometre in length and 500 metres in width, and had grand houses, palaces, an intricate road network and a cemetery.