Ancient Assyrian rock sculptures are revealed in Iraq that narrowly prevented the destruction by ISIS

Ancient carvings of an Assyrian king who honors the gods while surrounded by mythical beasts have been safely unearthed in Iraq after being threatened by ISIS.

ISIS seized the city of Mosul in 2014 and investigators were forced to leave the archaeological site of Faida, as the ruthless force was only 15 miles away.

The ten rocky reliefs were found in the Kurdistan region in Iraq and are believed to be the first of their kind discovered in 150 years.

Archaeologists inspected the site in 2012 and it was only at the end of last year, with the self-proclaimed caliphate overthrown, that archaeologists were able to return and dig the remaining treasures.

Ancient carvings threatened by the advance of ISIS have finally been revealed after the defeat of the terrorist group, in the first such discovery in more than 150 years.

Ancient carvings threatened by the advance of ISIS have finally been revealed after the defeat of the terrorist group, in the first such discovery in more than 150 years.

The ten rock reliefs represent Assyrian gods who mount mythical creatures in procession with the king (pictured)

The ten rock reliefs represent Assyrian gods who mount mythical creatures in procession with the king (pictured)

The ten rock reliefs represent Assyrian gods who mount mythical creatures in procession with the king (pictured)

Italian and Iraqi archaeologists discovered the reliefs 12 miles (20 km) south of the Kurdish city of Duhok.

The expedition leader, Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, of the University of Udine in Italy, said that nothing like the carvings had been found since 1845.

“Assyrian rock reliefs are extremely rare,” he said.

“There is no other Assyrian rock art complex that can be compared with this, with the only exception of Khinis, in the northeast part of the region.”

ISIS, or Islamic State, was relentless in the destruction of antiques that it considered idolaters, although it also looted artifacts to sell.

At the height of their powers, their fighters were only 15 miles from the excavation site and with them defeated, rock carvings face new threats.

“The most serious threats are vandalism, illegal excavations and activities in the nearby village that are literally besieging the site,” said Professor Bonacossi.

“ One of the reliefs was illegally excavated and therefore damaged in May 2019, and the owner of a farm has partly destroyed one of the reliefs to expand his cowshed.

‘The only way to protect the site is to fence it and ensure a constant security service that controls the area.

Italian and Iraqi archaeologists discovered the reliefs 12 miles (20 km) south of the Kurdish city of Duhok

Italian and Iraqi archaeologists discovered the reliefs 12 miles (20 km) south of the Kurdish city of Duhok

Italian and Iraqi archaeologists discovered the reliefs 12 miles (20 km) south of the Kurdish city of Duhok

Archaeologists inspected the site in 2012 and it was only at the end of last year, with the self-proclaimed caliphate overthrown, that archaeologists were able to return and dig the remaining treasures.

Archaeologists inspected the site in 2012 and it was only at the end of last year, with the self-proclaimed caliphate overthrown, that archaeologists were able to return and dig the remaining treasures.

Archaeologists inspected the site in 2012 and it was only at the end of last year, with the self-proclaimed caliphate overthrown, that archaeologists were able to return and dig the remaining treasures.

The reliefs (pictured) once decorated the banks of the Faida irrigation canal, which was part of a vast network that carried water to the Assyrian capital, Nineveh. The canal was probably built during the reign of Sargon II

The reliefs (pictured) once decorated the banks of the Faida irrigation canal, which was part of a vast network that carried water to the Assyrian capital, Nineveh. The canal was probably built during the reign of Sargon II

The reliefs (pictured) once decorated the banks of the Faida irrigation canal, which was part of a vast network that carried water to the Assyrian capital, Nineveh. The canal was probably built during the reign of Sargon II

Among the deities represented are Ashur, the main Assyrian god, his wife Mullissu, the moon god Sin and the sun god Shamash. They are astride mythical beasts, including dragons and lions with horns (pictured)

Among the deities represented are Ashur, the main Assyrian god, his wife Mullissu, the moon god Sin and the sun god Shamash. They are astride mythical beasts, including dragons and lions with horns (pictured)

Among the deities represented are Ashur, the main Assyrian god, his wife Mullissu, the moon god Sin and the sun god Shamash. They are astride mythical beasts, including dragons and lions with horns (pictured)

Duhok governorate is committed to ensuring the protection of relief.

The reliefs once decorated the banks of the Faida irrigation canal, which was part of a vast network that carried water to the Assyrian capital, Nineveh.

The canal was probably built during the reign of Sargon II, whose successor, Sennacherib, is believed to have incorporated it into the wider network.

Both kings are named in the Bible for their military feats, and the first conquered the Kingdom of Israel.

The figures on the panels are shown in profile, facing to the left, in the direction in which the water would have flowed.

Among the deities represented are Ashur, the main Assyrian god, his wife Mullissu, the moon god Sin and the sun god Shamash.

They are astride mythical beasts, including dragons and lions with horns.

“The reliefs tell us that the construction of this local irrigation system was celebrated by the royal power through the carving of rocky reliefs,” said Professor Bonacossi.

The excavation of impressive irrigation systems in the central region of the Assyrian empire changed the economic base of the regions involved.

‘He transformed them from extensive dry farming regions into highly productive irrigation agriculture areas.

“But it also profoundly modified the space and settlement patterns in the core of the Assyrian empire.”

Professor Bonacossi believes that the site could contain even more secrets.

“During the excavation of a relief, we found another that was not visible on the surface,” he said.

‘This means that many other reliefs are likely still to be found and that this rock art complex is larger than we expected.

“This explains why the archaeological site of Faida is so important.”

Archaeologists inspected the site in 2012 (pictured), after a previous British excavation in 1973, but the project stopped when ISIS captured the nearby city of Mosul in 2014

Archaeologists inspected the site in 2012 (pictured), after a previous British excavation in 1973, but the project stopped when ISIS captured the nearby city of Mosul in 2014

Archaeologists inspected the site in 2012 (pictured), after a previous British excavation in 1973, but the project stopped when ISIS captured the nearby city of Mosul in 2014

What was the Assyrian empire?

The Assyrian Empire was a complex Mesopotamian civilization dating from 2,500 BC. C. around 600 a.

Mesopotamia, an area of ​​ancient Asia, was where people first met in big cities, created governments and learned to write.

Together with other Mesopotamian groups such as ancient Babylon and the Sumerian cities, the Assyrian Empire was one of the first civilizations in history.

At its peak, the empire extended from Egypt to what is now Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.

At its peak, the Assyrian Empire (red) extended from Egypt to what is now Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.

At its peak, the Assyrian Empire (red) extended from Egypt to what is now Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.

At its peak, the Assyrian Empire (red) extended from Egypt to what is now Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.

The Turkish district of Kültepe was home to a settlement of the ancient Assyrian empire from the 21st to 18th centuries BC. C.

More than 1,000 cuneiform tablets were found in the area in 1925, revealing a rich and complex cultural heritage.

Much of our knowledge of the first human societies comes from stone tablets like these, which leads some scholars to label Mesopotamia as “the place where history began.”

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