Extreme drought: a Bronze Age city emerges from the Tigris River


Extreme drought: a Bronze Age city emerges from the Tigris River

The discovery made on the banks of the Tigris River was incredible, but unfortunately due to the extreme drought, a consequence of the climate crisis. In late 2021, southern Iraq was hit by a prolonged drought. In order to continue irrigating the fields, large quantities of water were withdrawn from the Mosul basin in northern Iraq.

And as a result, the water level of the basin has dropped to the point that the urban complex reappears at the edge of the water body near the archaeological site of Kemune. Excavation began in early 2022, before the archaeological site disappeared back into the lake.

Archaeologists have found the remains of a city dating back to the Bronze Age, about 3400 years ago. The remains of the city had been submerged for several decades in the Mosul reservoir, which had recently decreased due to an extreme drought.

German and Kurdish researchers in a press release from the University of Freiburg said the city could be ancient Zachiku, an important center of the Mitanni empire. Among the difficulties brought to light, a fortification, a multi-storey warehouse and a workshop complex, with the mud bricks still well preserved.

The good state of conservation was probably caused by a strong earthquake which occurred around 1350 BC.

The Tigris River

It originates in Turkey in the Armenian Taurus mountain range, about 25 km southeast of the city of Elazıg and about thirty kilometers away from the upper course of the Euphrates, the other great river of Mesopotamia with which it will join after a journey of about 1850 km.

Here it then reaches the great alluvial plain of southern Mesopotamia. It bathes important Iraqi cities such as Mosul, and the capital Baghdad, with a regime that is always subject to strong seasonal variations, creating the conditions for catastrophic floods in the spring, contrasted with the construction of several dams along its course.

According to the description of Pliny the Elder and other ancient historians, both the Tigris and the Euphrates flowed directly into the sea, whose coastline was then much further back than the current one, without flowing into each other as in the situation.

today. At the time of the development of Mesopotamian civilizations, such as the Sumerians, many of the most important cities of the period stood on or near the Tigris, such as Nineveh, Ctesiphon, Seleucia and Lagash, which was irrigated by a canal dug in 2400 BC.