Freiburg/Erbil (dpa) – Thanks to a drought, German and Kurdish archaeologists have uncovered a 3,400-year-old city on the Tigris River in Iraq. The ruins from ancient oriental times were shown again at the beginning of the year when the water level of the Mosul reservoir dropped due to a long drought, the University of Freiburg announced on Monday.
In a race against time, the archaeologists said they uncovered and documented the settlement between January and February of this year. The water level then rose again. According to their own statements, the team excavated a fortification with walls and towers, a multi-storey warehouse and over 100 cuneiform tablets. Much is therefore still well preserved. “The fact that the cuneiform tablets made of unfired clay have survived for so many decades under water borders on a miracle,” said the archaeologist Peter Pfälzner from the University of Tübingen, who was involved in the excavation.
The researchers suspect that the site called Kemmune was an important center of the Mittani Empire. The Mittani Empire ruled much of northern Mesopotamia and Syria in the mid-second century BC. The archaeologists also believe that the site is the ancient city of Zachiku.
Kemmune is one of the Kurdish autonomous regions in northern Iraq and, according to the researchers, was first discovered in 2010 at low water levels. The excavations could only begin in 2019 – at that time the archaeologists uncovered a palace.
To protect the excavations, the archaeologists covered the ruins with tarps and filled them with gravel. The site has now disappeared completely under water after the end of the drought.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220530-99-483881/2