Thousands of years before city thought to be founded

Discovery of ancient dwelling in Sulaymaniyah could change understanding of its history

SULAYMANIYAH — An ongoing archaeological project in Sulaymaniyah has unearthed the remains of an ancient mansion, potentially reshaping the historical understanding of urban life in the region. The discovery could provide significant insights into the city’s past and the historical events that shaped it.

A team of faculty and students from the Department of Archaeology at the College of Humanities, University of Sulaymaniyah, announced their findings after several years of excavation and research in the Sarchnar neighborhood. The mansion, named “De Kon,” dates back approximately 3,500 years.

Dlshad Zamua, a university professor and head of the archaeological team, stated that the site had been partially destroyed in 2013 due to a development project. However, the Sulaymaniyah Archaeology Department has been working at the site since 2016.

“We have been working here for eight years and have made significant discoveries. We now know that this mansion belonged to the Lulubi people,” Zamua said. The Lulubi were a group of tribes from the 3rd millennium BC, originating from a region known as Lulubum, which is now part of the Sulaymaniyah Governorate in the Kurdistan Region.

“This mansion is of great importance to the history of Sulaymaniyah. When discussing the origins of urbanization in this region, this site must be included,” Zamua added.

Modern Sulaymaniyah was established in 1784 by Ibrahim Pasha of the Baban Principality. However, this discovery suggests that urbanization in the region dates back thousands of years before the modern city was founded.

Zamua explained to 964media that their findings, supported by historical and archaeological evidence, indicate the mansion was burned down in the 12th century BCE during an enemy invasion, which involved looting. Human remains and artifacts have been found at the site.

“There are several cuneiform texts from this period indicating attacks from Assyria and Babylonia on the Sharazur Plain,” Zamua said. The Sharazur Plain is near Sulaymaniyah city. These texts, dating to the 12th century BCE, describe the destruction of ancient cities in the region.

Additional artifacts, including cuneiform tablets and various historical relics, have been discovered at the site. Zamua mentioned ongoing discussions with Sulaymaniyah’s master planning officials to ensure the archaeological site is preserved and not affected by future development projects.

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