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Islamic State Looting Uncovers Ancient Palace Beneath Jonah’s Tomb

Portion of the victory Stele of Esarhaddon over Taharqa, drawn by Faucher-Gudin (public domain, Wikimedia commons) Victory Stele of Esarhaddon (Photo: wikimedia commons, public domain)

Iraqi archaeologists made a surprising discovery under a site ruined by the Islamic State (IS). While much of the area has been damaged, researchers found artifacts connected to biblical kings Sennacherib and Esarhaddon.

Under a mound covering the ancient city of Nineveh, beneath a shrine destroyed by IS, they found a previously undiscovered palace built in the seventh century BCE for the Biblical Assyrian King Sennacherib and renovated by his son Esarhaddon.

The Nabi Younus shrine in Mosul — which was built on the reputed burial site of a prophet known in the Koran as Yunus and in the Bible as Jonah — was a popular pilgrimage site.

In July 2014, weeks after overrunning Mosul and much of Iraq’s Sunni Arab heartland, IS militants rigged the shrine and blew it up, sparking global outrage…

But IS also dug tunnels beneath the shrine searching for artifacts to plunder.

Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih told Britain’s Daily Telegraph that in the tunnels she discovered a “marble cuneiform inscription of King Esarhaddon thought to date back to the Assyrian empire in 672 BCE.”

Tags: Facts and Findings

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