Archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania discovered intricate rock carvings in Nineveh, an ancient city.
Nineveh was an ancient Upper Mesopotamian Assyrian city located on the outskirts of Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq. It was built on the Tigris River's eastern bank and served as the capital and largest city of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, as well as the largest city in the world for several decades.
Today, two large mounds, Tell Kuyunjiq and Tell Nab Ynus "Prophet Jonah," mark the location of Nineveh, which is surrounded by a massive stone and mudbrick wall dating from around 700 BC.
|Photographer: Penn Museum|
In a report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, Global Heritage Fund named Nineveh as being "on the verge" of irreparable destruction and loss in 2010, citing inadequate government management, development pressures, and looting as primary causes.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology have been working with an Iraqi excavation team to rebuild the Mashki Gate.
The researchers discovered seven marble reliefs depicting finely chiseled war scenes, mountains, grape vines, and palm trees dating from the reign of King Sennacherib, an Assyrian king who ruled Nineveh from 705 to 681 BC, during the restoration project.
King Sennacherib, known for his military campaigns, including one mentioned in the Bible, built 18 similar gates surrounding the city, but the Mashki Gate, the "Gate of the Watering Places," was important for its direct access to the Tigris.
"This discovery adds new data and ultimately advances our understanding of Neo-Assyrian history in ancient Mesopotamia," said Christopher Woods, Williams Director at the Penn Museum and Avalon Professor of the Humanities at Penn's School of Arts and Science. We are ecstatic about the ongoing conservation of this extremely rare and historic find."