After an extreme drought that hit Iraq, a sprawling 3,400-year-old city emerged from a water reservoir. German and Kurdish archaeologists excavated the settlement in the Mosul reservoir, along the Tigris River in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The project is a joint effort with the Directorate of Antiquities and Heritage in Duhok to preserve the area’s cultural heritage.
The site, Kemune, is believed to be the Bronze Age city Zakhiku, a large hub of the Mittani Empire that reigned from 1550 to 1350 BC. The kingdom’s territory reached from the Mediterranean Sea to Northern Iraq, according to Ivana Puljiz, junior professor in the department of near eastern archaeology and assyriology at the University of Freiburg.
Zakhiku was submerged underwater when the Iraqi government built the Mosul Dam in the 1980s. Puljiz explained that “Due to enormous time pressure, we dug in freezing temperatures, snow, hail, rain, even storms, as well as the occasional sunny day, not knowing when the water would rise again and how much time we would have,”
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