posted on May, 10 2010 @ 04:31 PM
I have been bereft of ideas for the Ancient Civilisations forum of late. I’ve been suffering from ‘writers block’. However once I heard about
this remarkable place I knew it was at least worthy of presenting to my fellow members.
French archaeolgists begin digs in north Iraq
A French-funded archaeology team is working on the first excavations in Iraq's northern Kurdish areas after seven years of conflict, the latest
effort to save the country's treasures from ruin.
Iraq, which the ancient Greeks called Mesopotamia or 'land between the rivers' because of the Tigris and Euphrates that flow through it, is regarded
by archaeologists as a cradle of civilisation.
The French-led team, also responsible for training local archaeologists, will initially carry out digs for a month in Arbil. Iraq's third-largest
city, whose existence can be traced back to the 23rd century BC, is located east of the Tigris.
According to the United Nations cultural organisation, Unesco, the citadel is more than 8,000 years old and successive layers of settlements have
formed the mound that comprises an area of about 10 hectares (10,000 metres sq).
Now come on ATS, how cool is that? 8,000 years old, 10 Hectares
, that's some citadel. I’d like to present a little information on this place
to you here, in small bite size portion as I know I can waffle on some times!!
So I present to you, The Ancient Citadel of Arbil (Erbil)
Full size image found
Erbil Citadel Town, which is situated dramatically on top of an artificial, 32-meters high earthen mound, and visually dominating the expansive
modern city of Erbil, is believed to have been in continuous existence for 7000 years or even more. Thus, it may be regarded as the oldest
continuously inhabited settlement in the world. Because of its past fortifications and steeply inclined mound, which is at some locations nearly
45 degrees, it has managed to survive numerous sieges and fierce attacks. The existing fabric, however, goes back to several hundred years but is,
nevertheless, of extreme vernacular architectural and urban interest, not only for Iraq but also for humanity at large.
Mentioned in Ancient Assyrian texts (1365-612 BC), the town (and Citadel) has been in the possession of some of the greatest kingdoms in history,
including the Sumerian and Babylonian.
Reconstructed portion of the Citadel Wall
Its longer dimension (east-west axis) is about 430 meters long and its shorter one (north-south axis) is about 340 meters long. It encloses an
area slightly more than 10 hectares. The slope, which surrounds the citadel all around, is earthen and steeply inclines between 35 to 60 degrees. The
slope is steeper on the North-western side than other sides.
Several theories have been put forward to how the Citadel and its 32m height were created:
1. Gradual Accumulation:
That the mound represents a gradual accumulation of historical settlement layers, rising slowly to reach its present height of some 30 meters. If one
assumes that the age of the citadel is around 6000 years then this means that its height has been rising at the rate of 1 meter every 200 years.
2. Assyrian Settlement:
That it may have been an Assyrian settlement with a ziggurat in the middle surrounded by temples. And that when it was destroyed and abandoned, it
turned into a heap of ruin..
3. Man-Made Mound:
That the mound was artificially created by people who desired to live in this fertile land but needed a fortified site.
4. Natural Mound:
That the mound was a natural one, perhaps a few meters high and risen gradually by human habitation. The flat land geography of the area, however,
makes this proposition unlikely.
My only wish is that one day Iraq is safe enough for me to visit this remarkable site. Until then I wait for the results of the French Dig.
Archaeologists discover 150 000 year old prehistoric settlement in Iraq
The Czech News Agency has reported that archaeologists have found remains of an about 150,000-year-old prehistoric settlement in Arbil, north
Iraq, which has been the so far oldest uncovered in this part of northern Mesopotamia.
The archaeologists revealed a high number of items, mainly prehistoric stone tools, about nine metres under the ground in Arbil, capital of the
Kurdish autonomous region, said archaeologist Karel Novacek, from the University of West Bohemia in Plzen.
It looks like Arbil really has a lot to offer us!!!
As I promised, short and sweet! You have to agree though, what an awesome place, especially for a city that's 7,000 years old.
All the best ATS, Kiwifoot
High Commission for Erbil Citadel revitalisation
Erbil Citadel - World Heritage