четверг, 16 апреля 2020 г.

Archaeologists discover ancient treasures in Iraq site blown up by Islamic State


German archaeologists have explored an ancient palace in Iraq that they could only access after the area was blown up by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia.

Archaeologists discover ancient treasures in Iraq site blown up by Islamic State
The researchers discovered a total of four such reliefs from Assyrian gatekeeper figures in the corridors
 below the destroyed mosque: Palace gate several metres tall with a winged bull and a large stone
 threshold [Credit: Ali Al-Magasees/Heidelberg University/dpa]




"The extremists caused a great deal of destruction, but we were able to gain insights because of it," Peter Miglus, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Heidelberg, said.

In the summer of 2014, IS supporters overran the city of Mosul in northern Iraq and later blew up a mosque on a hill above the grave of the biblical prophet Jonah. The mosque had been built over a military palace of the Assyrian Empire. After the blasting, the IS followers began to dig a system of several hundred metres of tunnels under the rubble, Miglus said.

Archaeologists discover ancient treasures in Iraq site blown up by Islamic State
Wall panel with a palace inscription of the Assyrian king Asarhaddon (680-669 BC)
[Credit: Ali Al-Magasees/Heidelberg University/dpa]




When Iraqi security forces regained control of the city in 2017, the tunnels were preserved – and with them access to the military palace.

At the Iraqi antiquities authority's request, researchers from the University of Heidelberg began to explore the site. The scientists discovered rare archaeological treasures in the tunnels. Inside the tunnel system, they came across the throne room of the military palace, which was once about 55 metres long. "The palace is partly well preserved," said Miglus.

Archaeologists discover ancient treasures in Iraq site blown up by Islamic State
Stairs to the podium in the throne room of the palace [Credit: Ali Al-Magasees/
Heidelberg University/dpa]


Islamic State destroyed numerous archaeological remains during its rule over large areas of Iraq and Syria. South of Mosul, they blew up an approximately 3,000-year-old Assyrian palace in the former royal city of Nimrud. As elsewhere, they wanted to destroy everything they considered to be the places of "unbelievers". Above all, they reject any form of veneration of saints.




* This article was originally published here

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