Monday, March 24, 2008

Iraqi archaeologists unearth new Babylonian town

"A new Babylonian town has been discovered by Iraqi archaeologists 180km south of capital city Baghdad.

Mohammed Yahya, head archaeologist from the provincial Antiquities Department in the Province of Diwaniya, revealed that the town, which is more than 20,000 square meters in area, is dotted with administrative quarters, temples and other buildings of magnificent and splendid design.

We have dug up a sectional sounding covering more than 20 square meters and have come across fascinating finds, Iraqi paper Azzaman quoted him, as saying.

While the current name of the town is known, Yahya admitted that its ancient name is still a mystery.

One of the most striking finds in the town has been that of a 30-kilogram Babylonian Duck Weight, which is 20 kilograms more than the ones that have been discovered so far.

Mr Yahyas team also found several cuneiform tablets but he acknowledged that it would be some time for them to be deciphered as Iraqi experts with the knowledge to decipher Mesopotamian script have fled the country.

The researchers also found cylinder seals, which could easily be compared with counterparts discovered in Babylon, 90 kilometers away and what seems like an intricate and highly developed sewage system.

The shape of the finds however, indicated to the researchers that the town existed during the Late Babylonian Period, about 1000 BC.

The scientists have also unearthed four graves. However, they have been left somewhat baffled by the positioning of the bodies.

Two bodies had been cut in half, with one part buried in the wall of a house and the other half in an urn.

The other two had iron nails in their hands, feet and necks indicating that they might have been executed, Mr Yahya added."