Thursday, January 7, 2010

Archaeology in the News: Iraq


From NPR News comes a really interesting story about how a drought situation in Iraq is actually uncovering some ancient archaeological remains as the water levels drop. From the article:

"Iraq is suffering one of the worst droughts in decades. While this is bad news for farmers, it is good news for archaeologists in the country.

The receding waters of the Euphrates River have revealed ancient archaeological sites, some of which were unknown until now.
...

In the mid-1980s, Saddam Hussein's government dammed the Euphrates in the area, flooding a 120-mile-long stretch of land near Iraq's border with Syria.

What once was an enormous reservoir that stretched as far as the eye could see has shrunk an astonishing 90 percent since summer, officials say.

Ratib says that at least 75 archeological sites had been partially excavated before the area was flooded. They ran the gamut of civilizations — from 3,000 B.C. to the Sumerian and Roman periods. Ancient Jewish settlements were also submerged in the area. But because of the receding waters, Ratib has been able to access some sites for the first time — including, for instance, a cliff with a series of pre-Christian tombs carved into its face. Though they have been heavily damaged by the water, Ratib says they still have value."

To listen to the entire story, and to see more pictures, go to the original source.

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