3,600-Year-Old Palace Revealed by Drought: Here’s What You Need to Know

The 3,600-year-old palace may even be part of a long-lost ancient city.

Sever draughts in Iraq have revealed the remains of a 3,600-year-old palace in the Mosul Dam reservoir.

It is believed that the ancient palace once stood on an elevated terrain on the easer banks of the Tigris River.

Experts from the University of Tübingen and the Kurdistan Archaeology Organization argue the ancient structure dates back to the so-called Mittani Empire, an ancient civilization that ruled areas of northern Mesopotamia and Syria thousands of years ago.

The Mittani Empire was at its peak between the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries B.C. Curiously, there aren’t any native sources for the history of Mitanni that have been found so far.

In fact, most of what we know is mostly based on Assyrian, Hittite, and Egyptian sources, as well as inscriptions from nearby places in Syria.

“The Mitanni empire is one of the least researched empires of the ancient Near East,” explained Dr. Ivana Puljiz of the University of Tübingen.

One of the rooms researchers managed to excavate. Image Credit: University of Tübingen.
One of the rooms researchers managed to excavate. Image Credit: University of Tübingen.

“Information on palaces of the Mitanni period is so far only available from Tell Brak in Syria and from the cities of Nuzi and Alalakh, both located on the periphery of the empire. Even the capital of the Mitanni empire has not been identified beyond doubt,” revealed Dr. Puljiz.

The Palace’s walls were made of mudbricks and measure more than six feet tall.

The palace was once intricately decorated in vivid colors, as experts have revealed they have discovered traces of bright red, blue wall paintings.

The researchers who participated int eh excavation of the site have revealed that the palace still contains paintings in its interior walls. The discovery has been hailed by scientists as an “archaeological sensation.”

Scholars argue that the wider site is one of the most important archeological discoveries in recent decades.

“Kemune is only the second site in the region where wall paintings of the Mittani period have been discovered,” explained Ivana Puljiz of the University of Tübingen.

In addition to the remains of the ancient palace, archeologists have also discovered a dozen of cuneiform tablets which will hopefully help experts understand more about the economy, history, and politics of the Mittani.

One of the terrace walls of the palace. Image Credit: University of Tübingen.
One of the terrace walls of the palace. Image Credit: University of Tübingen.

Archeologists are hoping that the recently uncovered artifacts will help them better understand the area where the palace has been built.

The artifacts discovered inside the palace hint at the possibility that the palace may have been part of the lost city of Zakhiku a settlement mentioned in ancient sources going back to around 1,800 BC.

The retreating water that revealed the palace has since returned and the palace is once again submerged under water.

“It is unclear when it will emerge again,” Puljiz said.

This is not the first time that the palace has surfaced. Back in 2010. retreating water revealed the palace partially. However, at that time, excavations were not possible.

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