The Underwater 'Lost City of Zakhiku' Resurfaces 3,400 Years Later On Tigris River
Photo Credit: Spencer Davis

Photo Credit: Spencer Davis

The Underwater 'Lost City of Zakhiku' Resurfaces 3,400 Years Later On Tigris River

Amara Amaryah
Amara Amaryah Jun 1, 2022

A 3,400 year-old city emerged from the Tigris River in Iraq due to a drought, revealing the hidden civilization. A team of archaeologists rushed to the Mosul reservoir, located in northern Iraq and includes the Mosul Dam (once known as Saddam Dam) to investigate the old city. Archaeologists say that the lost city is the ancient city of ‘Zakhiku’.

The lost city actually emerged earlier this year, after a long period of extreme drought in the country led to large amounts of water being drawn from the reservoir to irrigate crops. This all caused water levels to fall. 

Amidst all of the excavated findings were ‘several large buildings, a huge fortification and an extensive city’.

The Universities of Freiburg and Tubingen were fast reacting as the reservoir on the Tigris River dried up, revealing the historical wonder. They had to rush to investigate before the site was submerged again. The excavation was led by Chairman of the Kurdistan Archaeology Organization, Dr. Hasan Ahmed Qasim, Dr. Ivana Puljiz from the University of Freiburg, and Dr. Peter Pfälzner from the University of Tübingen. 

In 2018 archaeologists partially discovered the site. This time was the first time a team of archaeologists thoroughly excavated the site.

Tigris River reveals Iraq is home to submerged Bronze Age ancient city

The university explained that Iraq is “one of the countries in the world most affected by climate change” and that “to prevent crops from drying out, large amounts of water have been drawn down from the Mosul reservoir – Iraq’s most important water storage – since December.”

The university added: “The extensive city with a palace and several large buildings could be ancient Zakhiku – believed to have been an important center in the Mittani Empire (ca. 1550-1350 BC).”

A team was hastily formed in days to explore this Bronze Age ancient city. Funding was also quickly secured from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation through the University of Freiburg.

The university added: “The German-Kurdish archaeological team was under immense time pressure because it was not clear when the water in the reservoir would rise again.”

Reports reveal that researchers covered the excavated buildings with tight-fitting plastic sheets and gravel to avoid damage when underwater. The university confirmed that the site is now once more entirely submerged.

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