Science Ruins of Hidden 3,400-Year-Old City Emerge as Giant Dam Dries Up

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The tightening grip of climate change on our planet is revealing secrets buried for millennia.

As waters and ice recede under warming conditions, the traces of people and civilizations long gone from the mortal realm emerge. In recent months, Iraq has been hit particularly hard, battered by extreme drought, with the Mosul reservoir shrinking as water is extracted to keep crops from drying.

Amid this crisis, the ruins of an ancient city, submerged for decades, are once again on dry land. Since the dam was created in the 1980s before the settlement was archaeologically studied and cataloged, its re-emergence represents a rare opportunity for scientists to explore it. The archaeological site has been named Kemune.

The ruins consist of a palace and several other large structures, dating back to the Bronze Age in the region, around 3,400 years ago. Scientists think the ruins might be the ancient city of Zakhiku, a bustling center for the Mittani Empire, which thrived on the banks of the Tigris River between 1550 and 1350 BCE.

 
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