Mesopotamian city discovered in Iraqi Kurdistan

Remains of ancient Mespotamian city called Xarab-i Kilashin, dating back to the late 3rd millennium BC, was discovered by Polish archaeologists on the banks of the Great Zab river in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The site of Xarab-i Kilashin (by Dariusz Piasecki and UGZAR)

Archaeologists conducing research as part of the larger Upper Greater Zab Archaeological Reconnaissance (UGZAR) project have discovered this largest settlement in the region before the Middle Ages. The project investigates the area of 3000 square kilometres since 2012. According to the researchers all the previously discovered settlements were rather small in size, rarely exceeding 1 hectare, but Xarab-i Kilashin covers an area in shape of a semi-circle with a diameter of about 300 metres.

Waste fragment of pottery from Xarab-i Kilashin (by Dariusz Piasecki and UGZAR)

The city is thought to have been an independent administrative seat for a dignitary who ruled the vast fertile land near the river. It started to decline with the rise of the Assyrian empire in the 2nd millennium BC. Archaeologists have collected 12000 artefacts from the surface of surveyed area, identifying the age and main industries within the ancient city. According to archaeologists pottery waste in form of melted pots indicates intensive pottery production, and terracotta stamps suggest potential weaving workshops (an industry typical to Mesopotamian cities).

Terracotta stamp from the region of Xarab-i Kilashin (by Dariusz Piasecki and UGZAR)

In course of the project, besides Xarab-i Kilashin, the archaeologists discovered about 260 new settlements, increasing the known number in the little-studied area five times. The team used satellite images, records from the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage in Baghdad, fieldwork and interviews with local people to identify sites of historical importance.

(after International Business Times, Dariusz Piasecki Upper Greater Zab Archaeological Reconnaissance)

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