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Ancient Kingdom of Idu Found Beneath a Mound in Iraq

By Julie S | Oct 02, 2013 09:52 AM EDT

Ancient Kingdom of Idu Found Beneath a Mound in Iraq
The site of Tell Qarqur in northwest Syria was occupied for nearly 10,000 years. The debris that people left behind accumulated into a human-made mound known as a tell. Archaeologists have determined that 4,200 years ago, at a time when cities and civilizations were collapsing in the Middle East, Tell Qarqur actually grew. (Photo : Tell Qarqur Expedition )

Archaeologists found in Iraq an ancient mound and discovered archaeological pieces from the "Tell Qarqur," also known as the Ancient Kingdom of Idu.

Idu's ancient kingdom thrived around the reign of the empire governed by Assyrians dating about 3,000 years ago. It was conquered by the Assyrian Empire but was able to regain its independence.

The archaeological site discovered by the research team goes as far as the Neolithic times and tell the story of Idu's ancient history and its culture. It was the time when Middle East was just starting to be familiar with farming.

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Art pieces showed painted images and cuneiform inscriptions indicating the “Palace of Ba’auri, king of the land of Idu, son of Edima, also king of the land of Idu.” One depicted a sphinx which has a man's head and a lion body with wings. Another portrays a man holding a horse.

Another art piece found was a cylinder with image of a man armed with a bow. He was kneeling to a warrior god symbol called a griffon. The artifact is 2,600 years old and was accompanied by several other mythical symbols like the solar disc, crescent moon, morning star, and the rhomb which represent the sun god, moon god, star god and fertility god.

Other evidences also point to exquisite palaces where they found a plaque bearing zigzaging designs including the inscription "Palace of Assurnasirpal, (king of the land of Assur)."

The archaeological excavations allowed the team to retrieve truly remarkable pieces and shed a great deal of light to the Iraqi's ancient histories. But there is much more that the team wants to learn such as how vast the kingdom was and why the kingdom disappeared.

"At 4,200 years ago, there was an abrupt climate change, and abrupt drying, and abrupt deflection of the Mediterranean westerly winds that transport humid air into the eastern Mediterranean region," Harvey Weiss of Yale University told LiveScience.

However, in exchange to unearthing more of the Idu treasures, this would mean digging under houses where current Iraqi people live in. The team is waiting for approval from the Kurdistan government to continue with the excavation.

The research was presented at the 76th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

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