An ancient palace about 3,400 years old suddenly emerged in the lake when the amount of water dropped sharply after a prolonged drought.
Kemune Palace, about 3,400 years old, suddenly appeared on the banks of the Tigris River, Iraq, when the water level was significantly reduced after a long drought. It was a Bronze Age site in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, when the Kingdom of Mitanni dominated the region in the Middle East.
While exploring the ruins of the Mosul Dam on the banks of the Tigris River, the research team quickly scouted the surrounding area to learn more about the Mitanni Empire – one of the least known Empires in the ancient Near East.
“The find is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the region in recent decades and illustrates the success of the Kurdish-German cooperation,” said Hasan Ahmed Qasim, Kurdish archeologist.
It was a palace located on an elevated terrace, about 65 feet from the river. The building was preserved with mud-brick walls up to 6.6 feet thick, built to fortify the western area on steep terrain. It is a majestic structure overlooking the Tigris valley on the top floor.
With a length of 1 kilometer and a width of about 500 metres, this area is said to include a palace, wide rows of houses, a system of roads and a cemetery.
The archaeologists team also discovered many rooms inside that were plastered, and they also found red and blue wall paintings which failed to remain intact. Dr Ivana Puljiz, an archeologist from the University of Tübingen’s Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies, said that Kemune Palace is the second place in the area where wall paintings of the Mitanni period can be found.
“Discovering wall paintings in Kemune is an archaeological sensation,” she said in a press release.
In the 2nd century BC, wall paintings were a typical feature of palaces of the ancient Near East, but they were rarely preserved. Therefore, it is important to discover the frescoes at Kemune Palace.
In addition, during the survey, the team unearthed 10 clay tablets written in cuneiform (an ancient language). It was probably part of the ancient city of Zakhiku, a larger city to the north.
Currently, high-resolution photos of the texts are being transferred to Germany for experts to interpret. ” From the texts we hope to gain information on the inner structure of the Mitanni empire, its economic organization, and the relationship of the Mitanni capital with the administrative centers in the neighboring regions,” Puljiz said.
Kemune Palace first appeared in 2010 when the water level in the reservoir lowered, but had not been excavated until this time.
However, the site was submerged shortly after the dig, Puljiz said, adding: “It is unclear when it will emerge again.”
Qasim also worked on another project with the University of Tübingen, uncovering a Bronze Age city in northern Iraq in 2016.
The team unearthed the city, which lies beneath what is now the small village of Bassetki in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, close to territory that was held by ISIS.
Days after the dig was completed, Iraqi security forces began their push to take Mosul back from ISIS.
Measuring a kilometer in length and 500 meters across (about 1,000 yards by roughly 550 yards), the ancient urban area features grand houses, a palace, an extensive road network and a cemetery.
The Mitanni Empire was one of the least known Empires in the ancient Near East. Even the capital of this Empire has yet to be determined. At its peak, the nation of Mitanni stretched from the eastern Mediterranean coast across parts of Syria, Iraq, and Turkey. It existed in between the 15th and 14th centuries BC.