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Ancient Iraqi City Unearthed
September 30, 2013

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Archaeologists have unearthed part of an ancient city in northern Iraq.

The remains of the city, known as Idu, were found in a valley in what is now Kurdistan, on a bank of the Zab River. Covering the remains was a tell, a human-created mound more than 30 feet tall. Topping the tell now is a village named Satu Qala. Idu, the ancient city, was in its prime 3,000 years ago, first as a denizen of the Assyrian Empire and then as a non-Assyrian trade center for nearly 150 years. Eventually, however, as was the case with many cities in the area, the Assyrians regained control.

Among the remains were art and cuneiform inscriptions, one of which contained the name of an Idu king, named Ba'ilanu. Another art work references the well-known Assyrian ruler Ashurbanipal. One art work in good condition showed a mythical scene involving a griffon, an archer, and the sun god. Another well-preserved art work featured a bearded sphinx. Both art works hinted at the extravagance of the palaces inhabited by the various rulers of Idu.

Researchers found evidence of the tell, and the city's name, during a 2008 survey of the area. Limited excavations commenced in 2010. Archaeologists said that more extensive excavations would require the permission of residents of the modern village.

A report of the results is in the latest edition of the journal Anatolica.

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