Archaeologists decipher ancient clay tablets to find lost city in Iraq

Clay tablets discovered in Iraqi Kurdistan have helped archaeologists locate an ancient lost city. 

Archaeologists form Germany’s University of Tübingen found 92 clay tablets during an excavation in Bassetki, according to Fox News.  

After studying the tablets, researchers say that the site where they were found would have been the ancient royal city of Mardaman. 

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Tablets reveal location of ancient royal city of Mardaman
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Tablets reveal location of ancient royal city of Mardaman

The Assyrian cuneiform tablets in a ceramic vessel

Photo: Peter Pfälzner, University of Tübingen

Discovery and unearthing of the vessel containing the Assyrian clay tablets in Bassetki.

Photo: Peter Pfälzner, University of Tübingen Bassetki

The Bassetki tell on the broad plain of the eastern Tigris with the Zagros mountains in the background.

Photo: Matthias Lang/ Benjamin Glissmann, University of Tübingen eScience-Center

A cuneiform clay tablet on the floor of the 
 Assyrian governor’s palace, and a broken ceramic 
 vessel.

 Photo: Peter Pfälzner, University of Tübingen

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The university said in a statement, “It existed between 2,200 and 1,200 years BC, was at times a kingdom or a provincial capital and was conquered and destroyed several times.” 

University of Heidelberg philologist Dr. Betina Faist who studied the cuneiform on the tablets says they are “an important new contribution to the geography of Mesopotamia.”

And it’s just the latest lost city to be found in Iraq with another ancient city being found via spy satellite imagery and drones in 2017 in Northern Iraq.  

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