Ruins of a 3,400-year-old palace emerge from river following a drought 

Ruins of a 3,400-year-old palace belonging to a Middle Eastern empire emerge from river following a drought

  • Drought in reservoir on the River Tigris in northern Iraq have revealed ruins
  • The site stretches a kilometre in length and includes a palace, houses and roads
  • German archaeologists believe the find will help provide more information about the Mittani Empire who built the community

Scientists have discovered an ancient palace that emerged from an Iraqi reservoir after a drought dropped water levels.

The 3,400-year-old ruins in the Kurdistan region of the country were described as a ‘sensation’ by archaeologists working on site.

A site stretching a kilometre in length has been identified, and features several grand houses, a palace, an extensive road network and a cemetery.

The 3,400-year-old ruins in the Kurdistan region of Iraq were described as a ‘sensation’ by archaeologists working on site

The discovery on the banks of the Tigris River has inspired a large archeological dig to help improve understanding of the Mittani Empire which spanned the northern areas of Iraq and Syria.

Researchers from University of Tübingen’s Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies said the very little is known about the Mittanis due to a lack of research.

‘The find is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the region in recent decades,’ said Kurdish archeologist Hasan Ahmed Qasim.

Researchers from University of Tübingen's Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies said the very little is known about the Mittanis due to a lack of research

Researchers from University of Tübingen’s Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies said the very little is known about the Mittanis due to a lack of research

The main palace structure sits on an elevated terrace what would have been just 65 feet from the river. It is not known how long the site has been submerged for following the collapse of the empire

The main palace structure sits on an elevated terrace what would have been just 65 feet from the river. It is not known how long the site has been submerged for following the collapse of the empire

Inside the palace, known as Kemune, a team of diggers also found preserved wall paintings in shades of red and blue

Inside the palace, known as Kemune, a team of diggers also found preserved wall paintings in shades of red and blue

The main palace structure sits on an elevated terrace what would have been just 65 feet from the river. 

The walls were made of mud bricks that were up to six feet thick, and gave the building an imposing presence.

Inside the palace, known as Kemune, a team of diggers also found preserved wall paintings in shades of red and blue.

‘Discovering wall paintings in Kemune is an archaeological sensation,’ archaeologist Ivana Puljiz said.

'Discovering wall paintings in Kemune is an archaeological sensation,' said archaeologist Ivana Puljiz said. It is only the second ever site in the region where wall paintings have been found

‘Discovering wall paintings in Kemune is an archaeological sensation,’ said archaeologist Ivana Puljiz said. It is only the second ever site in the region where wall paintings have been found

The site was first noticed in 2010 when water levels dropped, but it is only recently that scientists have been able to excavate at the site. The ruins have now been submerged by rising water, and it is unclear how long it may be until they return

The site was first noticed in 2010 when water levels dropped, but it is only recently that scientists have been able to excavate at the site. The ruins have now been submerged by rising water, and it is unclear how long it may be until they return

‘Kemune is only the second site in the region where wall paintings of the Mittani period have been discovered.’

Clay tablets covered in ancient writing may help scientists gain a better understanding of life in the community, one archaeologist said. 

The site was first noticed in 2010 when water levels dropped, but it is only recently that scientists have been able to excavate at the site.

The ruins have now been submerged by rising water, and it is unclear how long it may be until they return.           

'The find is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the region in recent decades,' said Kurdish archeologist Hasan Ahmed Qasim

‘The find is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the region in recent decades,’ said Kurdish archeologist Hasan Ahmed Qasim


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