During an archaeological survey in 2008, at a site called Satu Qala, a villager brought archaeologists cuneiform inscriptions engraved with the name of an ancient city. The villager reported that the text originated from beneath a mound. The inscriptions identify the city as Idu, dating it to the 12th century BCE. The actual excavations started in the 2010-2011 digging season in cooperation with Leiden University, University of Leipzig, and Iraq’s Salahaddin University. Researchers included students from Erbil and Sulaymaniyah in Iraq.
This latest discovery is quite amazing in that it could add a previously unknown chapter to the history of the Middle Assyrian Empire. Satu Qala is the first identified provincial capital in the eastern part of the empire. Until now, only the western part of the empire had been discovered. Some of the many artifacts found include pottery and a substantial number of cylinder seals.
According to some of the inscriptions deciphered, the flat summit of the mound was the location of the palace of the Middle Assyrian kings. Other inscriptions record the delivery of payments for barley, honey, sesame, and fruit. Though its perimeter has yet to be established, the city turns out to be much larger than previously believed, measuring at least 300 meters (about 984 feet) around the tell. The city of Idu was clearly of great importance and likely used as an administrative center for the surrounding territory.
interestingly, burials were also found oriented in differing directions. The bodies were in various flexed positions, with one on its back with arms crossed over the chest. Archaeologists theorize that these burials may not belong to the Neo-Assyrian or the Middle Assyrian periods since few grave gifts were found. More research will be conducted.
Apart from what has been reported publicly in a recent press release, I have been looking deeply into this story and have uncovered many extraordinary details too voluminous for a simple Facebook, or even blog post. These are details that are not being reported publicly.
Thus, I am compiling a full report, including the translations and pictures of the cylinder seals. Stay tuned…