Ruins of Hindu Mittani Empire in Iraq

In Iraq 3,400-Year Old Ruins of Mittani Empire were discovered. Mittani rulers were Hindu.
Photos of the clay tablets found at the site have been sent to Germany for translation.

A 3,400-year-old palace emerged from a reservoir in the Kurdistan region of Iraq after water levels dropped because of drought. The discovery of the ruins in the Mosul Dam reservoir on the banks of the Tigris River inspired an archeological excavation. The dig that may improve understanding of the Mittani Empire, one of the empires of the Ancient Near East. It was one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the region in recent decades.

The palace would have originally stood just 65 feet from the river on an elevated terrace. A terrace wall of mud bricks was later added to stabilize the building, adding to to the imposing architecture. Ivana Puljiz, an archeologist from the University of Tübingen's Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies, describes the palace, known as Kemune, as a carefully designed building with mud-brick walls up to two meters (6.6 feet) thick. Some of the walls are more than two meters high, and various rooms have plastered walls, she added. The team also found wall paintings in shades of red and blue, which were probably a common feature of palaces at the time but have rarely been found preserved. "Discovering wall paintings in Kemune is an archaeological sensation," she said in a press release. Kemune is only the second site in the region where wall paintings of the Mittani period have been discovered.

Ten clay tablets covered in cuneiform, an ancient system of writing, were also discovered. The texts can be source of knowledge of the inner structure of the Mittani empire, its economic organisation, and the relationship of the Mittani capital with the other centers in the neighboring regions.

Archeologists first became aware of the site in 2010 when water levels in the reservoir were low, but this is the first time they have been able to excavate. The site has been submerged again. When the site will be available to explore again is uncertain.

The Mittani Empire is one of the least researched civilizations of the Ancient Near East.

A Bronze Age city
In 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.


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