Ancient City in Iraq

Ancient City Discovered Buried Beneath Mound in Iraq

Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient city called Idu, hidden beneath a mound in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, which is thought to have thrived between 3,300 and 2,900 years ago.

The remains of the city were found as part of a mound which rises about 10 metres above the surrounding plain, upon which a modern-day village called Satu Qala now sits. The earliest remains date back to Neolithic times when farming first appeared in the Middle East and the area was under control of the Assyrian Empire.  Idu would have been used to administer the surrounding territory,

The excavations first took place in 2010 and 2011 but the findings have only just been reported in the most recent edition of the journal Anatolica.

"Very few archaeological excavations had been conducted in Iraqi Kurdistan before 2008," said Cinzia Pappi, an archaeologist at the Universität Leipzig in Germany. “Conflicts in Iraq over the past three decades have made it difficult to work there. Additionally archaeologists before that time tended to favor excavations in the south of Iraq at places like Uruk and Ur”.

The art and cuneiform inscriptions uncovered by the researchers have revealed that palaces flourished in the city throughout its history thousands of years ago.  Two works of art hint at the decorations adorning the palaces and depict a bearded sphinx with the head of a human male and the body of a winged lion.  Above and below the sphinx, a surviving inscription reads, "Palace of Ba'auri, king of the land of Idu, son of Edima, also king of the land of Idu."

Another intriguing artefact, which may be from a palace, is a cylinder seal dating back about 2,600 years. When it was rolled on a piece of clay, it would have revealed a vivid mythical scene showing a bow-wielding man crouching down before a griffin, as well as a morning star (a symbol of the goddess Ishtar), a lunar crescent (symbol of the moon god) and a solar disc symbolizing the sun god.

Archaeologists are keen to continue with excavations, however this would require houses to be removed and the researchers will need approval from both local government and the people of the village before any further work can be done.

By April Holloway

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