Press "Enter" to skip to content

Iraq reveals ancient carvings going back 2700 years

An “archaeological park” of 2,700 year-old carvings was unveiled in northern Iraq on October 16, 2022. The carvings date back to the rule of the Assyrians, an ancient culture, and depict scenes such as kings praying to idols.

The 13 stunning monumental rock-carved bas-reliefs were cut into the walls of an irrigation canal that stretches for some 10 kilometres (six miles) at Faida in northern Iraq.

The panels, measuring five metres (16 feet) wide and two metres tall, date from the reigns of Sargon II (721-705 BC) and his son Sennacherib.

According to the terradininive.com website, “the Faida reliefs portray a procession of statues of seven of the main Assyrian deities standing on podia in the shape of striding animals in the presence of the king – who is depicted twice, at both the left and right ends of each panel.

“The figures are shown in profile facing left and thus looking in the same direction as the current flowing in the channel. The deities can be identified as Ashur, the main Assyrian god, on a dragon and a horned lion, his wife Mullissu sitting on a decorated throne supported by a lion, the moon god Sin on a horned lion, the god of wisdom Nabu on a dragon, the sun god Shamash on a horse, the weather god Adad on a horned lion and a bull, and Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, on a lion.”

“Perhaps in the future others will be discovered”, said Bekas Brefkany, from the department of antiquities in Duhok, in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Faida is the first of five parks the regional authorities hope to create, part of a project aimed to be “a tourist attraction and a source of income”, Brefkany added.

The carvings were unearthed during several digs over recent years, by archaeologists from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq and Italy’s University of Udine.

Last year, Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, professor of Near Eastern archaeology at the university, said that while there were other rock reliefs in Iraq, none were so “huge and monumental” as these.

Iraq was the birthplace of some of the world’s earliest cities.

As well as Assyrians it was once home to Sumerians and Babylonians, and to among humankind’s first examples of writing.

But in recent years it has suffered as a location for smugglers of ancient artifacts.

Looters decimated the country’s ancient past, including after the 2003 US-led invasion.

Then, from 2014 and 2017, the Daesh terror group demolished dozens of pre-Islamic treasures with bulldozers, pickaxes and explosives. They also used smuggling to finance their operations.

Some countries are slowly returning stolen items.

Last year, the United States returned about 17,000 artifacts to Iraq, pieces that mostly dated from the Sumerian period around 4,000 years ago.

The UK also returned a 4,000 year-old Sumerian plate that was smuggled and had  found its way to the British Museum.

More from Art-CultureMore posts in Art-Culture »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *