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Palace From Mysterious Ancient Empire Exposed by Drought in Iraq

From 1475 BCE to 1275 BCE, the Mitanni Empire ruled over the northern Euphrates-Tigris region in what is now Iraq. It’s only rival at that time was Egypt, but when the Hittite Empire began gaining power, they joined together against it. That wasn’t enough, and Mitanni was eventually defeated by the Hittite and assimilated so completely that very little is known of the dynasty. That may change with the discovery of a MIttani palace in Iraqi Kurdistan after drought exposed it in a reservoir.

“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.”

Cooperation is always a good thing, especially at archeological sites in areas of political strife. Kurdish archaeologist Hasan Ahmed Qasim was working with Dr. Hasan Ahmed Qasim and Dr. Ivana Puljiz on a joint research project between the University of Tübingen and the Kurdistan Archaeology Organization (KAO) in cooperation with the Duhok Directorate of Antiquities after a drought caused the water level of the Mosul Reservoir in northern Iraq to drop unexpectedly and substantially, revealing the remains of a Bronze Age palace which is believed to have once stood on the edge of the Tigris River valley in the Mitanni town of Kemune. The site was first discovered in 2010, but the recent drop in water level was the first change archeologists had to do some serious digging.

According to the press release by the University of Tübingen, the palace was a solid structure with two-meters thick mud walls, some standing over two meters high. A number of rooms were identified and those contained items that may finally shed some light on the Mitanni empire. One contained ten cuneiform clay tablets which suggest that Kemune may have once be the ancient city of Zachiku, which was thought to have existed in that area 400 years before. (Photos of the site here.) However, it’s what was on the walls that got the archeologists most excited, according to Puljiz.

“We also found remnants of murals in bright shades of red and blue. Mural paintings may have been a typical feature of palaces in the 2nd millennium BC, but they have seldom been preserved. Therefore, the discovery of murals in Kemune is an archaeological sensation.”

This is yet another important archeological site covered by the waters of a dam – in this case, the Mosul Reservoir of the Mosul Dam, the largest dam in Iraq. Completed in 1986, provides electricity to the 1.7 million residents of Mosul … and also some anxiety. The dam was briefly taken over by ISIS in 2014 and it has required constant maintenance and repairs due to being built on top of gypsum, a soft mineral that dissolves in contact with water. Whose bright idea was this? Saddam Hussein.

Mosul Dam hydro power plant

“The Mittani empire is one of the least-explored ancient Near Eastern empires. So far, information about the palaces of the Mittani period has only been found in Tell Brak in Syria and in the cities of Nuzi and Alalach on the outskirts of the empire.”

Saddam may be gone, but instability remains – both in the dam and the region. This appears to be an important central palace of the Mittani Empire, and could help locate its capital, which has remained a mystery in an empire of mysteries.

Will the researchers be able to uncover the secrets of the Mittani Empire and outrace the instability of the governments and the dam? Cooperation will help. So will luck. And don’t forget the climate change that caused the drought.

Archeology is a complicated science.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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Ancient

The burning of ancient Jerusalem by Babylon was proven with the help of a magnetic field

Israeli scientists with the help of a magnetic field were able to prove that Jerusalem in ancient times was burned by the Babylonian Empire. This approach can be applied in other archaeological studies in order to clarify the time and causes of catastrophic events in the past. 

Using data from the Earth’s magnetic field, archaeologists were able to confirm the fact of the burning of Jerusalem by the army of Babylon in the 6th century BC. 

Archaeologists, conducting excavations in the Jerusalem National Park, discovered the ruins of a large building several stories high with traces of a strong fire and fragments of utensils of that time. Analysis of the ceramic fragments showed that the structure was destroyed in the same year as the Temple of Solomon in 586 BC.

In addition, the scientists took samples of the floor covering in order to measure the magnetic field encoded in the fragment. According to co-author of the study, Yoav Vaknin, the scientists had two goals: to measure the direction and magnitude of the magnetic field on the day Jerusalem was destroyed and to understand what this data has to say about the history of the place.

According to the results of the study, the scientists found that the temperature during the fire in the building was above 500 degrees Celsius, as a result of which the floor of the upper floor could not withstand such loads and collapsed. In general, scientists were able to confirm that in the VI century BC Jerusalem suffered great destruction. 

“Even without measurements of the magnetic field, we could assume that this grand structure was burned at the same time as the First Temple, but they showed several important details ,” said study author Yoav Vaknin.

Measuring magnetic data is not a common practice for archaeologists, the researchers said. This was a complex work, as a result of which a unique method of decrypting data through measuring the magnetic field was created. 

“Yoav was able to decipher the magnetic code and provide important information for history, archeology and geomagnetic research ,” said Ron Shaar of the Hebrew University Institute of Earth Sciences.

The possibility of linking the destruction of Jerusalem to the earth’s magnetic field seemed unrealistic, Vaknin noted. Nevertheless, the developed method made it possible to learn more about the catastrophe in Jerusalem.

Recall that Jerusalem in 586 BC was captured by the Babylonian state and its king Nebuchadnezzar. The Babylonians devastated the city, destroyed the city walls and burned Solomon’s Temple. Most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were killed, the rest were taken captive and driven into slavery in Babylonia.

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Ancient pyramid found in China- the same age as the Great Pyramid in Egypt

In China, archaeologists in the north of Shaanxi province excavated the city of Simao, previously unknown to science, which possessed not only the most powerful fortress walls, but also a huge pyramid built at the same time as the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

The details of this discovery, already called one of the greatest in archeology in China, are given by National Geographic magazine. For many years, the ruins of this city were considered part of the Great Wall of China. And only the excavations carried out in recent years proved that it was a separate city, and very powerful.

It all began with the fact that local residents began to find jade discs, blades and a scepter in the ruins. But there is no jade in this region. The very first field season allowed the excavation of the powerful fortress walls. Later it turned out that they surrounded a massive pyramid 70 meters high.

Carbon dating has determined that Shimao (as the place is now called, but the original name of the city is unknown) was built about 4,300 years ago, that is, almost 2,000 years before the construction of the most ancient section of the Great Wall and 500 years before the Chinese civilization settled. in the Central Plains.

The pyramid is practically the same age as the city, that is, it was built at the same time as the Great Pyramid at Giza, but was half the size. Its purpose was completely different. This city was built on the hills above the Tuway River. Bloody wars have been going on in this region for thousands of years. Therefore, the city was powerfully fortified.

The pyramid, according to scientists, was one of the elements of defense. It was erected on the highest of the hills, it consisted of 20 tiers and was clearly visible from anywhere in the city. The upper tier was arranged for living, and it was probably used only by the elite.

The upper tier included a luxurious complex with an area of ​​about 81 thousand square meters. m. with its own water tank, craft workshops and temples. Researchers believe that no one lived there permanently. But during the wars, the elite rose to the upper tier to protect themselves from the enemy.

From the Simao pyramid, kilometers of various walls spread out in all directions throughout the city, forming a powerful defensive line. Scientists estimate that only 125,000 cubic meters of stone were needed to build these inner city walls. This compares to the combined volume of the 50 Olympic swimming pools.

How the people of the Neolithic were able to solve the difficult task of construction is still a mystery. According to archaeologists, the population of the city was from 10 to 20 thousand people. At the same time, the city was huge in its time.

It is estimated that the total length of the fortress walls exceeded 10 km. The city had a large sanctuary decorated with frescoes and jade artifacts. In it they found terrible evidence of human sacrifice. Also, archaeologists have discovered 70 stunning relief sculptures made of stone – snakes and mythical monsters.

They resemble the iconography of the late Bronze Age in China. Interestingly, there is no mention of this city in any written source or oral legend. Meanwhile, Simao is currently the largest known settlement of the Neolithic era in China – its area exceeds 4.04 thousand hectares.

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What secrets of the Mayan queen were discovered by a new decoding of ancient records

The Maya are a mysterious people who built their civilization in Mexico long before the coming of the Aztecs. He left behind many books and other inscriptions. Archaeologists can now decipher the documents of the era, and each time new secrets are revealed to them.

An important discovery for Mexico

The city of Coba, once built by the Mayans on the Yucatan Peninsula, has long attracted the attention of archaeologists. It was a large polis, full of pyramidal temples with decorations and inscriptions and connected by many roads with other polis. 

Traces of culture have not yet been able to destroy even the local aggressive jungle, and archaeologists have struggled for decades to understand the history of the city itself and its place in the general history of the Maya.

To date, they have managed to reconstruct the dynasty of rulers of the city-state. It consisted of fourteen people who were in charge of the policy from about 500 to 780. ad. The dynasty was founded by a man named Junpik Tok, but most surprisingly, among the rulers is a woman known as Lady Yopaat.

What secrets of the Mayan queen was opened by a new decoding of ancient records
After the Maya, there are many drawings and inscriptions in stone.

To understand why this discovery is so significant, one must have an understanding of the cultures of America’s major civilizations.In almost all of them, women were in the same humiliated condition as in most cities of Ancient Greece. 

It seems that even the women of royal families were not perceived as something that special. Although it is known that the sisters of the Great Incas were their co-rulers, the ladies did not rule on their own even there. Until now, only three rulers were known on the territory of Mexico.

Archaeologists almost missed this chance

Archaeologist Maria José Con Uribe of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico notes that the establishment of rulers and the sequence of their rule is important in order to understand the historical connections of Coba and other cities and regions.

 Fortunately, a lot of inscriptions dedicated to these rulers remained on the stone ruins of Koba (Mayan books are often so damaged that it is impossible to leaf through them for decoding).

Unfortunately, these ruins were in such a state that archaeologists did not dare to touch them for a long time, so as not to destroy them completely. Modern technology made it possible to study the inscriptions with minimal contact with the ruins that were decorated with letters. 

Deciphering the inscriptions was like a detective investigation. So, in order to better see the half-erased letters, they were photographed with lighting at different angles and then the photographs were superimposed on each other so that the shadows indicated contours that were already invisible to the eye. 

Often, it was impossible to come up to take a picture, and it was necessary to invent something. Archaeologists had to show a lot of ingenuity.

What secrets of the Mayan queen was opened by a new decoding of ancient records
Photo from the website of the institute.

Surprisingly, among the reasons why archaeologists took up the deciphering so late was also the belief that among the policies of this area there cannot be any where many hieroglyphs can be found. That is, scientists did not see the point in deploying large-scale research using the necessary technologies. 

They did not even try to find more inscriptions than they could be seen at a glance. The northern Mayan cities were considered “not very literate”, and new research refutes this long-held belief.

This resembles the situation with the drawings of primitive people in caves. As you know, archaeologists of the nineteenth century, working with cave sites of ancient Europeans, practically ignored these drawings, because they believed that for so long in the past people could not draw – so the multi-colored lines on the ceilings and walls of the caves cannot tell anything about their life. It took a long time for the drawings to attract the attention of scientists.

What the Mayan queens are known for

As for Yopaat, as far as archaeologists can judge, she ruled for quite a long time – about forty years – at the beginning of the seventh century and significantly strengthened the position and influence of her city in the region. That is, her rise and reign were not a brief episode in a series of violent upheavals, as was the case in some Muslim countries in the Middle Ages.

In addition to her, as you know, the warlike queen Kauil Ahau ruled in Kobe, but she already belongs to another, later dynasty. As you know, Kahuil Ahau, competing with the influence of Chichen Itza – another city-state – built the longest road of its era, and also conquered a polis called Yahuna.

What secrets of the Mayan queen was opened by a new decoding of ancient records
Image of Kahuil Ahau

Another famous ruler is considered Mistress Cable, or Mistress Lily Hands, who ruled at about the same time as Kauil Ahau, but in Calakmula. She reigned for about twenty years. 

Although there were no high-profile cases during her reign, the city flourished under her leadership. Two more Maya queens bore the romantic names Mistress of the Heart of the Windy Place and Mistress of the Sixth Heaven.

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