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Drought reveals 3400-year-old Iraq city destroyed in 1350 BC

A 3400-year-old city has been discovered as Iraq’s Mosul reservoir dries up due to climate change. It was previously part of the Mittani empire, an Indo-Iranian state in northern Mesopotamia, and was located on the Tigris River.

After an unprecedented drought hit Iraq and dried up the water in the country’s largest reservoir, a team of German and Kurdish experts were able to expose the city. A palace and numerous other huge buildings, including multi-storey edifices used for storage and industrial complexes, have been discovered during city excavations. The finding came as a shock since the city was thought to have been destroyed in a 1350 BC earthquake.

The most important find is a set of five pottery containers containing the archives of over 100 cuneiform tablets. Many of the tablets, which the experts believe are letters, remain in their clay envelopes.

‘It is close to a miracle that cuneiform tablets made of unfired clay survived so many decades underwater’, Prof Peter Pfalzner, University of Tubingen, said in a statement.

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Prof Ivana Puljiz, University of Freiburg, said, ‘The huge magazine building is of particular importance because enormous quantities of goods must have been stored in it, probably brought from all over the region. The excavation results show that the site was an important centre in the Mittani Empire’.


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