Cu­nei­form ar­chive found in Kur­dis­tan

Timeless Travels Magazine - - ARCHAEOLOG­ICAL NEWS -

Re­searchers from the In­sti­tute for An­cient Near Eastern Stud­ies work­ing in the Kur­dis­tan re­gion of north­ern Iraq have found a cu­nei­form ar­chive of 93 clay tablets dat­ing from 1250 BCE – the pe­riod of the Mid­dle Assyr­ian Em­pire. What the tablets record re­mains a mys­tery for the time be­ing.

The tablets were found at the Bronze Age city site of Bas­setki, which was only dis­cov­ered in 2013 by ar­chae­ol­o­gists from the Tübin­gen col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search cen­ter 1070, Re­source Cul­tures. The Tübin­gen ar­chae­ol­o­gists, led by Pro­fes­sor Peter Pfälzner, con­tin­ued their work undis­turbed even in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber of this year – de­spite the tur­bu­lence caused by the Kur­dish in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum and the sharp re­sponses of gov­ern­ments in the re­gion.

In re­cent months, the re­searchers ex­ca­vated lay­ers of set­tle­ment dat­ing from the Early, Mid­dle, and Late Bronze Age, as well as from the sub­se­quent Assyr­ian pe­riod. “Our finds pro­vide ev­i­dence that this early ur­ban cen­ter in north­ern Me­sopotamia was set­tled al­most con­tin­u­ously from ap­prox­i­mately 3000 to 600 BCE. That in­di­cates that Bas­setki was of key sig­nif­i­cance on im­por­tant trade routes,” Pfälzner says.

The Tübin­gen re­searchers, who are work­ing with Dr. Hasan Qasim of the Do­huk An­tiq­ui­ties Direc­torate, dis­cov­ered sixty of the valu­able clay records in a ce­ramic pot which was pre­sum­ably used for clay tablet stor­age. The ves­sel was dis­cov­ered in a room of a Mid­dle Assyr­ian build­ing which had been de­stroyed; along with two fur­ther pots, it had been wrapped in a thick coat­ing of clay. “The ves­sels may have been hid­den this way shortly after the sur­round­ing build­ing was de­stroyed. Per­haps the in­for­ma­tion in­side it was meant to be pro­tected and pre­served for pos­ter­ity,” Pfälzner ex­plains.

Ex­ca­va­tors at the site in Kur­dis­tan

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