Archaeologists Unearth Bronze Age City in Iraq

//Archaeologists Unearth Bronze Age City in Iraq

Archaeologists Unearth Bronze Age City in Iraq

From the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, the small Kurdish village of Bassetki was recently Discovered to be the site of a large Bronze Age Town in about 3000 BC. Bassetki is near the city of Dohuk in northern Iraq. Archaeologists in the Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES) in the University of Tübingen made the discovery and noticed that the city managed to flourish for over 1200 years.

Bassetki was discovered between August and October 2016 and the group was headed by Dr. Hasan Qasim in the Directorate of Antiquities in Dohuk and Professor Peter Pfälzner in the University of Tübingen. This find has preempted the building work on a highway on this property.

Finds discovered during the excavation work has emphasized the prior significance of this settlement. From approx. 2700 BC onwards, the town had a wall running round the top portion of the city to protect its occupants from invaders. Large stone structures were also erected in about 1800 BC. The presence of a temple devoted to the Mesopotamian weather god Adad is supposed because of fragments of Assyrian cuneiform tablets dating from about 1300 BC being located at the website. A decrease city of about one kilometer long was also found away from the city center.


Stele of a weather God Adad standing on a bull with a thunderbolt in his hand


The settlement was connected to the neighboring areas of Anatolia and Mesopotamia through an overland roadway dating from about 1800 BC. The city’s dead were buried in a cemetery outside the city.

Bassetki is only known to the public due to this “Bassetki statue,” that was found there by accident in 1975. Up until this new find was created, researchers have never been able to describe the positioning of the Bassetki statue. The premise that an important outpost of Akkadian civilization might have been found there has now finally been substantiated.

It was possible to run the archaeological work with no disturbances although the excavation site is only 45 km from land controlled by the Islamic State (IS). Professor Peter Pfälzner, Director of the Department of Near Eastern Archaeology in the IANES of the University of Tübingen, clarified that the security of their workers is always their top priority. He added that there’s a lot of stability and security in the Kurdish autonomous regions in Iraq, regardless of it being near IS. During the excavation work, the 30 strong research team dwelt in the city of Dohuk, 60 km north of Mosul.

Unravelling down to the Bronze Age layers in the upper part of Bassetki. (Image Credit: P. Pfälzner)

Since 2013, they’ve been conducting an archaeological review of the area in the region surrounding Bassetki as far as the Turkish and Syrian borders. More than 300 websites that have previously been unknown have been discovered. The study work and excavations in the area are scheduled to continue in the summer of 2017 and will be financed by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.

Pfälzner clarified that the region surrounding Bassetki has been shown to be an unexpectedly rich ethnic area. During the Bronze Age, it was situated at the crossroads of communicating manners between the Mesopotamian, Anatolian and Syrian cultures. He added that they’re planning to set up a long-term archaeological research project in the area in cooperation with their Kurdish colleagues.


By | 2017-09-26T10:26:47+00:00 September 26th, 2017|History|Comments Off on Archaeologists Unearth Bronze Age City in Iraq

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