3,400-year-old city emerges from Tigris River amid drought


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Significantly lower water levels are seen on the Tigris River, in Baghdad, Iraq, May 28, 2022.
AP Photo/Hadi MizbanSignificantly lower water levels are seen on the Tigris River, in Baghdad, Iraq, May 28, 2022.

Over 100 ancient clay tablets found at mud-brick walled settlement dating to Bronze Age

Archaeologists discovered a 3,400-year-old city that emerged from the Tigris River in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

The team of German and Kurdish archaeologists rushed to investigate the site after lower water levels due to drought brought the ancient city, located at the archaeological site of Kemune, to the surface.

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Large quantities of water have been drawn down from the Mosul reservoir since December to prevent crops from drying out, leading to the water level dropping and the ancient city being revealed.

The site was submerged about 40 years ago when the Mosul reservoir was built.

Over 100 ancient clay tablets were found since the mud-brick walled settlement was revealed again.

"The German-Kurdish archaeological team was under immense time pressure because it was not clear when the water in the reservoir would rise again," the University of Freiburg said in a statement Monday announcing the discovery.

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"The extensive city with a palace and several large buildings could be ancient Zakhiku – believed to have been an important center in the Mittani Empire (ca. 1550-1350 BC)," the university said.

The Mittani Empire controlled large parts of northern Mesopotamia and Syria.

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are located where the ancient Mesopotamian civilization developed. The word Mesopotamia translates to "the land between rivers" in ancient Greek.

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