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7 November 2016
Bronze Age city discovered in Iraq

Archaeologists from the Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES) at the University of Tübingen have uncovered a large Bronze Age city not far from the town of Dohuk in northern Iraq.
     The ancient settlement, which is now in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, was established in about 3000 BCE and was able to flourish for more than 1200 years. The archaeologists also discovered settlement layers dating from the Akkadian Empire period (2340-2200 BCE).
    Scientists headed by Professor Peter Pfälzner from the University of Tübingen and Dr. Hasan Qasim from the Directorate of Antiquities in Dohuk conducted the excavation work in Bassetki between August and October 2016. As a result, they were able to preempt the construction work on a highway on this land.
    The excavation work showed how the city already had a wall running around the upper part of the town from approx. 2700 BCE onwards in order to protect its residents from invaders. Large stone structures were erected there in about 1800 BCE. The researchers also found fragments of Assyrian cuneiform tablets dating from about 1300 BCE, which suggested the existence of a temple dedicated to a Mesopotamian god on this site. There was a lower town about one kilometre long outside the city centre. Using geomagnetic resistance measurements, the archaeologists discovered indications of an extensive road network, various residential districts, grand houses and a kind of palatial building dating from the Bronze Age. The residents buried their dead at a cemetery outside the city.
    The settlement was connected to the neighbouring regions of Mesopotamia and Anatolia via an overland roadway dating from about 1800 BCE.
    The excavations and the research work in the region are due to be continued during the summer of 2017. "The area is proving to be an unexpectedly rich cultural region, which was located at the crossroads of communication ways between the Mesopotamian, Syrian and Anatolian cultures during the Bronze Age. We're therefore planning to establish a long-term archaeological research project in the region in conjunction with our Kurdish colleagues," says Pfälzner.

Edited from Past Horizons (4 November 2016)

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