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The more than 3,400-year-old historical city of Zakhiko arose from the banks of the Tigris River in Iraq, which archaeologists believe belonged to the Mitanni Kingdom (1550 to 1350 BC). The “miracle” is due to the severe drought that the Middle Eastern country is experiencing. Being one of the regions most affected by climate change.
Built in a place still mainly inhabited by Kurds, the city was flooded with the construction of the Mosul Dam in the 1980s, during Saddam Hussein’s regime. This year, when the river’s water level fell unexpectedly due to a severe drought in Iraq, a team of archaeologists had the opportunity to begin excavations in January and February.
The city is often in ruins under water, although it can sometimes be visible in the summer months, such as November, when the climate is more severe and it is necessary to draw water from the Mosul reservoir (along the Tigris) so that the farms in The area survives drought. But it wasn’t so easy to get to before, because higher temperatures required more water to be used and there wasn’t enough rain to rise the river’s flow and refill the reservoir.
Ivana Polges, one of the directors of the archaeological project, did not know when the waters would rise again, and wasted no time: she knew that the team would have to excavate as much of the area as possible against the clock. “Because of the immense pressure of the weather, we dug into freezing temperatures, snow, hail, rain, even storms, and also sometimes sunny days, not knowing when the waters can rise and how much time we have left,” he explains to the company. CNN.
Currently, the city is already under water again, but the team was able to map this archaeological expanse of the empire that stretched from the Mediterranean to northern Iraq. She made some discoveries that excited her a lot, such as five ceramic vases a hundred Cuneiform clay tablets.
“It’s almost a miracle that these plates have held for so many decades underwater,” says Peter Pfälzner, one of the directors of the excavation and professor at Germany’s University of Tübingen.
These artifacts can provide important information about the beginning of the rule of the Assyrians – another ancient civilization that also inhabited the region centuries after the fall of the Sumerians. At present, the unearthed relics of Zakhiku are stored and preserved in Dohuk National Museum.
This is not the first time this city has been studied. A mansion has already been found in 2018When it appeared briefly, but during recent excavations, additional structures were found “in an important center of the kingdom,” Hassan Ahmed Qasim, an archaeologist with the Iraqi Kurdistan Antiquities Authority, told the news site. ScienceAlert. Now the towers and walls have been discovered as well as a multi-storey storage building. in 1350 BCThe city was hit by an earthquake and part of the upper walls collapsed and covered the buildings.
Puljiz reveals her curiosity to know the result of studying texts found on artefacts such as tablets, as she believes that these may contain information about the lives of the inhabitants after the tragedy.
Realizing that the city of Zakhiko can provide unique opportunities to study a cultural matrix that is important to preserve, namely the team, before the city once again disappears into the water, The ruins were covered with plastic and stones, hoping to survive the erosion of the environment.
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