Archeologists from Germany’s University of Leipzig have discovered an ancient city called Idu hidden beneath a mound in northern Iraq.
According to the archeological findings, Idu was under the control of the Assyrian Empire about 3,300 years ago, then later gained its independence as the empire declined. The Assyrians reconquered the city roughly 140 years later. Researchers have found artwork, including a bearded sphinx with a human head and the body of a winged lion, and a cylinder seal dating back roughly 2,600 years depicting a man crouching before a griffon, according to NBC News.
Researchers discovered the name of the city during a survey of the area in 2008. A resident from a nearby village brought them an inscription with the name carved in it, and they spent 2010 and 2011 excavating the area. Archeologists plan to continue excavating the site once they reach a settlement between villagers and the Kurdistan regional government.
Iraq is home to several archeological treasures, including Babylon, an ancient Mesopotamian city-state dating to the 3rd millennium BC, which was discovered south of Baghdad by British scholars in the 19th century. During the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, American forces built landing areas for helicopters and parking lots for vehicles, causing irreparable damage to part of the site.