Thousands of years ago, some of the earliest civilisations arose along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. These rivers formed a region called the Fertile Crescent, where trade routes flourished, agriculture flourished, and cities prospered. Today, these ancient Mesopotamian ruins can be found in Iraq, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. These regions are currently suffering from severe drought, especially as climate change is increasing temperatures in the region. In Iraq, the retreat of the Tigris River reveals history, revealing a 3,400-year-old Bronze Age Mittani Imperial palace complex. The Mitanni Empire was a powerful civilisation in northern Mesopotamia. They ruled the area from 1500 BC to about 1360 BC. It then fell to Assyria before falling to the Hittite Empire. Mitanni was a strong player. They wrote on cuneiform tablets, corresponded with Egyptian pharaohs, and built magnificent palaces. The ancient centre on the banks of the Tigris River was called Zahik.
The city may have reappeared. The Tigris River was dammed in his 1980s to create a reservoir that could supply and provide electricity to downstream Iraqi cities when needed. Floods in the Mosuldam area have covered the ancient ruins of a long-dormant palace. Occasionally, consuming water reduces the reservoir, exposing the ruins again. In 2018, researchers were able to document the magnificent palace on site with a short exposure. When drought in January and February 2022 lowered the water levels in the reservoirs again, archaeologists knew they had no time to waste.
The research team noted that the archaeological site is extremely well preserved. They were made of baked adobe bricks and most were able to survive underwater for 40 years. Unfired clay tablets with cuneiform writing have also been found among pottery. Some are still sealed in clay envelopes as they were mailed to their recipients. Since this stone tablet is from Middle Assyria, it is believed to date to the time when an earthquake struck the city around 1350 BC. Mostly destroyed. These may further reveal the transfer of power between successive empires in the region. Already when the reservoir filled up again, the water level rose and the city was flooded again.