In Iraq, Clues to Long-Lost Temple Emerge

Doctoral student works amid threat of ISIS attack in Kurdistan
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2014 5:05 PM CDT
In Iraq, Clues to Long-Lost Temple Emerge

An archaeologist is closing in on the location of an ancient temple so venerated that when it was sacked in 714 BC, its king tore off his crown, "pulled out his hair, pounded his chest with both hands"—then killed himself, according to an early account. The long-lost temple in question was in the city of Musasir, and Dutch doctoral student Dlshad Marf Zamua thinks he's found its column bases in Kurdistan, in modern day Iraq, LiveScience reports. The temple was dedicated to Haldi, the supreme god of the Uratu kingdom, and its bases were found by villagers and date back 2,500 years to the Iron Age, when several groups competed for control of the region. The aforementioned drama king was the Urartu king Rusa I, after the Assyrians looted it.

Discovery of the column bases isn’t the end of the story. Marf Zamua has found a bronze statuette of a wild goat with cuneiform inscriptions that need decoding, and several 7 1/2-foot-tall statues of bearded men that were once raised above burial sites. An ancient carving of Musasir also revealed architecture similar to that found in modern villages, Marf Zamua says. His discoveries in Kurdistan have been made under the growing cloud of ISIS. LiveScience has photos of the finds here, but it's not the only Iron Age story in the news today. (More Kurdistan stories.)

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