27 May 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

The 3400-year-old city belonging to a mysterious Kingdom emerged from the Tigris river

Archaeologists from Germany and Kurdistan have discovered a 3,400-year-old Mittani Empire-era city on the Tigris River.

The ruins emerged on the waters of the River Tigris during a severe drought. The water level was significantly reduced in the Mosul Dam reservoir, and that is when the settlement appeared.

The extensive city with a palace and several large buildings might be ancient Zakhiku, which was an important location in the Mittani Empire (ca. 1550–1350 BC).

An ancient city dating back to the Mittani Empire-era over 3,400 years ago has resurfaced in the Tigris River in Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province, a local official confirmed.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Bekas Brifkani, head of the Duhok Archaeology Directorate, told reporters that the re-emergence of the city happened due to drought which has significantly affected the water level in the Tigris River.

3400-year-old City Emerges from Tigris River in Duhok Province

“After the water level continued to decrease, the remnants of the city resurfaced, which includes a massive settlement with a large number of buildings and antiquities,” Brifkani revealed, noting that they have so far found nearly 200 clay tablets inscribed with Cuneiform texts.

In the first stages, funding for the work was obtained at short notice from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation through the University of Freiburg. The German-Kurdish archaeological team was under immense time pressure because it was not clear when the water in the reservoir would rise again, according to a report by idw.

The team did not get much time as the water level kept increasing in the Tigris. Nevertheless, the researchers were able to map the city in a very short period of time.  A gigantic fortress with walls and towers, a monumental, multi-story storage building, and an industrial complex were discovered in addition to a palace, which had already been recorded during a brief campaign in 2018.

The excavated large buildings from the Mittani period are measured and archaeologically documented. Photo: University of Tübingen
The excavated large buildings from the Mittani period are measured and archaeologically documented. Photo: University of Tübingen

Of particular interest is the discovery of five ceramic vessels that contained an archive of over 100 cuneiform tablets. They date to the Middle Assyrian period. Some clay tablets, which may be letters, are even still in their clay envelopes. The researchers hope this discovery will provide important information about the end of the Mittani-period city and the beginning of Assyrian rule in the region.

“It is close to a miracle that cuneiform tablets made of unfired clay survived so many decades under water,” Prof. Dr. Peter Pfälzner from University of Tübingen said.

Archaeologists also discovered wall paints in bright shades of red and blue. Photo: University of Tübingen and Kurdistan Archaeology Organization

Another archaeologist Ivana Puljiz of the University of Tübingen putting light on the importance of the discovery said that the Mittani Empire is among the least researched empires of the Ancient Near East. The information on the existence of this particular empire is so little that historians don’t even know the capital of the Mittani Empire.

Archaeologists also discovered wall paints in bright shades of red and blue.

Puljiz mentioned that in the second millennium BC, colorful murals were the prime feature of palaces in the Ancient Near East but they never found any so well-preserved. So, discovering wall paintings in Kemune is no less than an “archaeological sensation”, she mentioned further.

Researchers hoping to find more about the Mittani Empire, which ruled over sections of Syria and northern Mesopotamia, thanks to this finding.

Related Articles

Research Helps İlluminate the History of the Scythians with 111 Ancient Genomes

27 March 2021

27 March 2021

Due to their interactions and conflicts with the major contemporaries of Eurasia, the Scythians enjoyed legendary status in history and...

The 890-million-year-old sponge fossil may be the oldest animal yet discovered

1 August 2021

1 August 2021

890-million-year-old fossil sponges found in the “Little Dal” limestones of northwest Canada may be the oldest animal ever found. According...

Archaeologists are deciphering Roman history along Dere Street, one of the oldest roadways in Britain

17 July 2021

17 July 2021

Final archaeological finds uncovered as part of a major road improvement in the north of England have shed new insight...

High-status Macedonian tomb discovered in ancient Aegae, Central Macedonia

2 April 2024

2 April 2024

In the ancient city of Aegae (present-day Vergina) in Imathia, Central Macedonia, during the construction of the sewerage network, tomb...

A unique golden sun bowl was discovered during an archaeological survey in Ebreichsdorf, Austria

3 October 2021

3 October 2021

A golden sun bowl and several hundred bronze objects were discovered during archaeological excavations in a prehistoric settlement in today’s...

The 3,200-year-old perfume of Tapputi, the first female chemist in history, came to life again

24 July 2022

24 July 2022

One of the scent formulas written in Akkadian on clay tablets by Tapputi, known as the world’s first female perfumer...

A gilded silver Anglo-Saxon object “made by someone with a real eye for loveliness” has the experts baffled

2 January 2024

2 January 2024

An enigmatic Anglo-Saxon object has been unearthed in a captivating discovery near Langham, Norfolk, East of England. This gilded silver...

The first time in Anatolia, a legionnaires’ cemetery belonging to the Roman Empire unearthed

18 November 2022

18 November 2022

In the ancient city of Satala, in the Kelkit district of Gümüşhane in the Eastern Black Sea region of Turkey,...

Archaeologists unearth the Torah Ark of the Great Synagogue of Vilna, destroyed in Lithuania

30 August 2021

30 August 2021

In Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, in excavation exposed the Torah ark and bimah (raised prayer platform) of the Great...

490-Million-Year-Old Trilobites Could Solve Ancient Geography Puzzle

22 November 2023

22 November 2023

The humble trilobites may be extinct, but even as fossils, they can teach us much about our planet’s history. Indeed,...

1400-Year-Old Folding Chair Found in a Woman’s Grave in Germany

30 August 2022

30 August 2022

In Steinsfeld, in the German state of Ansbach, archaeologists have unearthed a 1,400-year-old folding chair from an early medieval woman’s...

Saudi Arabia’s “Gates of Hell” and Mysterious Structures

30 March 2024

30 March 2024

The region of Saudi Arabia, where the mysterious neolithic structures called the “Gates of Hell” are located, has around 400...

Archaeologists may have uncovered a 13th-century castle in Shropshire

7 August 2021

7 August 2021

Archaeologists have been working on a mound of land in Wem, Shropshire, that belongs to Soulton Hall, Elizabethan mansion and...

Archaeologists reveal 4,000-year-old rock-cut tomb, artifacts in Saqqara

8 January 2024

8 January 2024

A team of Egyptian and Japanese archaeologists has unveiled a rock-cut tomb believed to be more than 4,000 years old...

Khirbet Midras pyramid and  Archaeological Site in Israel

28 November 2022

28 November 2022

Khirbet Midras (Arabic) or Horvat Midras (Hebrew) is one of several antiquities sites located within the Adullam Grove National Park,...