Legendary Ancient City Found by AccidentMay 16, 2018 3:10pm

Archaeologists who've spent five years digging up an ancient city in Iraq's Kurdistan region have finally learned its name—and it's legendary. Mardaman, once the capital of a Mesopotamian province and its own independent kingdom, is believed to have begun as early as 4,800 years ago and is cited in sources dating to the Akkadian Empire, the first empire in history, report Smithsonian and Heritage Daily.

Archaeologists from Germany's University of Tübingen, however, didn't know the site they were working on top of until last year, when they discovered 92 cuneiform tablets inside a vessel covered in clay while excavating a ruined palace in Bassetki.

Deciphered from Assyrian, the 3,250-year-old tablets identify the city as Mardaman, then an important commercial hub in the Middle Assyrian Empire, connected by trading routes to Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Syria, reports Live Science.



It was also the administrative seat of an unknown Assyrian province, headed by governor Assur-nasir, per the tablets, which date to the time the palace was destroyed.

"All of a sudden it became clear that our excavations had found an Assyrian governor's palace," lead researcher Peter Pfälzner says in a statement. While it isn't clear why the palace was destroyed—Mardaman was repeatedly razed and rebuilt—the tablets appear to have been purposefully hidden afterward.

"Perhaps the information [contained] was meant to be protected and preserved for posterity," says Pfälzner. He adds the tablets, revealing Assur-nasir's "administrative and commercial affairs," show the city "achieved a final significance as a Middle Assyrian governor's seat" after its heyday between 1900BC and 1700BC, though it would keep flourishing for perhaps another 800 years, per Live Science.

(An extraordinary find was made in a Pompeii bath house.)

More From Newser

This article originally appeared on Newser: Legendary Ancient City Found by Accident

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

By This New Measure, Plants Rule the EarthA first-of-its-kind study reveals that humans make up a minuscule portion of life on the planet. As in 0.01%, reports the Guardian . The flip side of that? Despite the scant figure, humans have reshaped the animal kingdom, helping wipe out about 83% of mammals and half of all plants...
Thousands of human bones discovered in Denmark reveal gruesome 'barbarian' war ritualsArchaeologists made a gruesome discovery when they unearthed an ancient burial site filled with thousands of bones — later identified as victims of a battle fought 2,000 years ago in northern Europe between "barbarian" Germanic tribes.
Great Ape, Extinct Lion Among Top New Species
Wreckage of WWII B-24 bomber discovered 74 years after it was shot downThe wreckage of a World War II B-24 bomber has been discovered in Papua New Guinea 74 years after it was shot down during a fierce battle with Japanese forces.
Ancient Native American village in Louisiana reveals its secretsAn ancient Native American village in Louisiana is revealing its secrets thanks to new research.
Green Shift to Slash Oil Company Income by $19 Trillion to 2040
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices