A team of archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania discovered complex stone carvings in the ancient city of Nineveh.
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city in Upper Mesopotamia, located on the outskirts of Mosul in present-day northern Iraq.
It was built on the eastern bank of the Tigris River and was the capital and largest city of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, as well as the largest city in the world for several decades.
Today, the location of Nineveh is marked by two large mounds, Tell Kuyunjiq and Tell Nabī Yūnus “Jonah the Prophet”, which are surrounded by a massive wall of stone and clay brick dating from about 700 BC.
In 2010, a report called Nineveh “on the brink” of being destroyed and irretrievably lost, citing insufficient management by the authorities, development pressures and looting as the main causes.
Nineveh, an ancient Assyrian city in Upper Mesopotamia with intricate stone carvings
The city suffered further damage from militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who destroyed the Mashki Gate of the ancient city, which was rebuilt in the 1970s by the Nineveh Inspectorate of the State Council of Antiquities and Iraqi Heritage, in addition to the destruction of several objects and statues in the Mosul Museum.
In partnership with an Iraqi excavation team, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology worked to reconstruct the Mashki Gate.
During the restoration project, researchers discovered seven marble reliefs depicting finely chiseled war scenes, mountains, vines and palm trees, dating from the reign of King Sennacherib, an Assyrian king who ruled Nineveh between 705 and 681 BC. Hr.
“An incredibly rare and historic find”
Known for his military campaigns, including one referenced in the Bible, King Sennacherib built 18 similar gates around the city, but the Mashki Gate, the ‘Gate of the Waterers’, was important for its direct access to the Tigris, writes HeritageDaily.
“This discovery adds new data and ultimately advances the understanding of Neo-Assyrian history in ancient Mesopotamia. We are excited about the ongoing preservation of this incredibly rare and historic find,” said Christopher Woods, Williams Director of the Penn Museum and Avalon Professor of Humanities in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences.