Accidental discovery of Assyrian tomb

A vaulted tomb dating back to the Assyrian Empire period was accidentally discovered by construction workers in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Ten skeletons with various grave goods were found inside.

Remains of sarcophagi found in the tomb (by Goran M. Amin)

The tomb was constructed with baked bricks. Inside it archaeologists discovered three ceramic sarcophagi holding two skeletons and other eight skeletons on the ground around the tomb. Researchers also found more than 40 intact jars in different shapes and sizes. It is believed that during the Assyrian period, these tombs had been built for the elite and rich people. They were opened several times, when they wanted to bury new dead members of the family.

Entrance to the tomb (by Goran M. Amin)

The tomb dates back to the Neo-Assyrian period, between the ninth and seventh centuries BC. During this time, the Assyrians controlled a vast empire that, stretched from the Persian Gulf to Egypt. During that time Erbil was known as Arbela and was an important city for the Assyrians. It was located by a fertile plain in a strategic position at the foothills of the Zagros Mountains, between the Upper Zab and Lower Zab rivers. It contained the main temple for Ishtar, the Assyrian goddess of war, visited by several Assyrian kings before their military campaigns against the eastern provinces in the Zagros and Elam.

Pottery found among other artefacts in the tomb (by Goran M. Amin)

(after Live Science & Goran M. Amin)

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