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

Egyptian mummy reveals incredible embalming 'recipe'A mummy buried in Southern Egypt more than 5,000 years ago has revealed its grisly secrets, shedding new light on prehistoric embalming practices.
Earliest Known Egyptian Mummy Is FoundHe was probably in his 20s and died nearly 6,000 years ago in Egypt. Beyond that, not much is known about the mystery man—except that he has helped scientists rewrite the book on mummification. Chemical analysis reveals that whoever buried him also embalmed him, and that pushes back...
Al Qaeda returns? UN panel warns of new bin Laden threatAs the Islamic State is driven out of its former strongholds, a U.N. panel is warning that the next big terror threat in the region could come, once again, from Al Qaeda -- led by the son of Usama bin Laden.
A woman carrying a child is escorted by authorities to an apartment following the arrest of a 45-year-old Iraqi refugee, Omar Ameen, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Ameen was arrested on a warrant alleging that he killed an Iraqi policeman in 2014 while serving with the Islamic State terror organization. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
US officials: Iraqi refugee was part of terror group
Suspected ISIS member accused of killing Iraqi police officer is captured in Sacramento, officials sayAn alleged ISIS member was apprehended in northern California on Wednesday after being accused in the 2014 murder of a police officer in Iraq, officials announced.
She Shot Off Her Face. Now She Has a New One"The face lies on a surgical tray, eyes empty and unseeing, mouth agape, as if exclaiming, 'Oh!'" It's a line from Joanna Connors' National Geographic September cover story, which follows 21-year-old Katie Stubblefield as she becomes the youngest person on the planet to receive a face transplant. A photo...

Related Searches

Related Searches