A high door threshold uncovered in Ancient Iraqi City of Nimrud

Around the northern Iraqi capital of Nīnawā muḥāfaẓah (governorate), northwestern Iraq, Mosul, the transnational Sunni insurgent group operating primarily in western Iraq and eastern Syria, in their hot-headed blind rage against everything that was not according to their beliefs, brought massive destruction to historical artworks, so that evidence of certain cultures was lost for good.

The terrorist group ISIS had declared death for all pagans and destruction for all pagan objects, as there is no place for idol images and idolatry in the world of God lovers. For them, there was a battle to fight between faith and blasphemy, between truth and falsehood. They were not willing to stop until all falsehoods would be exterminated, because in the world there is no place anymore for polytheism. Though they say they are willing to give people the choice to come to Allah, or embrace Islam or maintain their Christian faith and pay a tax.

But in any case, pagan images were to disappear from the streetscape and there were to be no more things anywhere that could lead people down the wrong path or lead them to worship false gods. Therefore, in 2016 the ziggurat of Nimrud (known as Calah, the capital of the neo-Assyrian Empire in 883 B.C. E, under King Ashurnasirpal II, in the Book of Genesis), a towering sacred structure built in the ancient Assyrian city, nearly 2,900 years ago, was levelled between the end of August and the beginning of October 2016, by the militant organisation Islamic State.

The war between Sunnis, the branch that consists of the majority of the Islamic religion’s adherents, and Shias or Shiis, the smaller of the two major branches of Islam, had torn Syria and Iraq apart. Also between the Sunnis there were different organisations or groups, which in the end also went fighting against each other. Mainly in Afghanistan, this caused severe problems.

The various militant Sunni groups wanted to make it absolutely clear that there is no future for Azaris, Yazidi, Christians in Iraq, Syria, Turkistan and Afghanistan. For the Christians there were given some options: either to flee their homes, pay a djiza (special protection tax for non-Muslims), die, or better to convert to the “true faith”.

In the past Christians had survived the Persian, Arabic and barbaric invasions that swept over their lands, but the storm those Islamic fundamentalists brought over their habitat was proving too strong, especially without allies coming to their aid. Their desperate pleas fell on deaf ears, and after they turned to the Kurds (the enemy during the First World War) for protection, they found some allies against destructive evil.

Lammasu.jpg

A human-headed winged bull known as a lamassu from Dur-Sharrukin. Neo-Assyrian Period, ca. 721–705 BC

Peshmerga forces bulldozed extensive earthen embankments and built a large military post on top of visible archaeological remains at Dur-Sharrukin, modern Khorsabad, an ancient Assyrian city located northeast of Nineveh, in Iraq.

With those terrorist acts, those extreme fundamentalists gave a bad impression to the world about Muslims. The world had become so distracted by ISIS or Daesh terrorism many people in the West could not think clearly any more and saw in every Muslim a possible terrorist. Many Europeans and Americans did not see how those Muslim terrorists also ruined Islam’s sacred places and even burned Qurans, the holy book of Muslims. President Obama was right, saying repeatedly that the Islamic State is “not Islamic.”

The city of Mosul, though officially retaken by Iraqi forces in 2017 was totally in ruins. At the end of nearly nine months of gruelling combat, thousands were dead, roughly 900,000 civilians had been displaced, and entire neighbourhoods were destroyed

Iraq considered ISIL effectively defeated by November 2017, though ISIL continued to hold a small amount of territory until March 2019. Now three years later, archaeologists are back on the grounds to search for remnants of past cultures.

In 2018 the Iraq Heritage Stabilization Program (IHSP), based in the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, was formed. It is a project-oriented initiative dedicated to supporting Iraqi communities affected by conflict and cultural cleansing and empowering Iraqi heritage professionals to protect and preserve Iraq’s rich cultural heritage. Their projects in Iraq seek to mitigate the effects of genocide, cultural cleansing, and conflict through the maintenance and promotion of cultural memory, identity, diversity, and freedom of expression. To achieve this goal, they work closely with Iraqi government and civil society groups that are engaged in the protection and preservation of built heritage, particularly in communities directly affected by ISIS and the battle to defeat the group.

**

[Beit al-Tutunji is a traditional Islamic courtyard house, built in the early 19th century (ca. 1812 CE) as the residence of the Ottoman Governor. It was militarised by ISIS after their occupation of Mosul in 2014 and then destroyed in the push to remove them from the city in 2017.

Work to restore the house began in 2019, first clearing the rubble and sorting the marble pieces for those still usable. Mosul marble had decorated most of the building in elaborate designs and Arabic inscriptions. These have been painstakingly restored and the building, as of July 2021, is around 70% rebuilt.]

File:Iraq; Nimrud - Assyria, Lamassu's Guarding Palace Entrance.jpg

Nimrud Lamassu’s at the North West Palace of Ashurnasirpal – Photo M.chohan

The minor king Adad-Nirari III, was a King of Assyria from 811 to 783 BCE and was the builder of the temple of Nabu at Nineveh.

During the first major dig in the area since it was extensively destroyed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2016, archaeologists discovered now in king Adad-Nirari II his palace a 6.5-foot-high door threshold in the ancient Iraqi city of Nimrud.

Michael Danti, the archaeologist leading a team from the University of Pennsylvania, called the find “significant” after excavations began in mid-October.

“Not only because it survived the Babylonian siege and destruction by ISIS intact but also because of its size,”

he told the Art Newspaper, who first reported the news.

“I’ve seen tablets that are smaller than one of the sign forms [cuneiform letters] on this slab.”

A door sill from the palace of King Adad-Nirari III was likely excavated by Austen Henry Layard Courtesy Michael Danti

A door sill from the palace of King Adad-Nirari III was likely excavated by Austen Henry Layard Courtesy Michael Danti

Danti notes that several similar slabs with genealogical inscriptions listing the royal ancestors of the king have been found in the area of the palace since it was first excavated by the British archaeologist Austen Henry Layard in the 1840s. He says that the slab they discovered was one of two excavated by Layard. (The second was taken back to England and is still on display at the British Museum in London.) {First major dig in ancient Iraqi city since Isis destruction unearths ‘significant’ palace door sill}

Map of the three districts which constitute Nineveh plains overlaid over the Nineveh Governorate map.

Map of the three districts which constitute Nineveh plains overlaid over the Nineveh Governorate map.

The ziggurat ruins were the highest point in the surrounding Nineveh plains and could serve as an ideal defensive position, yet the site is in a remote area far from strategic locations. The Islamic State may have destroyed the ziggurat to demoralise local populations. I also am afraid several ISIS combatants took some masterpieces to dell to collectors and as such got more money for buying weapons.

Ziggurats are generally solid masonry structures that don’t contain burials, so in a certain way, they had no good idea or were very naïve to loot a ziggurat.

The archaeologists had to re-excavate the old excavations. Danti’s team discovered a pit in the floor in one of the doorways where Layard removed the slab that is in the British Museum.

“We saw the evidence of what had been taken away preserved under new ruins. At times, it felt like we were excavating the history of 19th-century archaeology,”

Danti says.

Danti knew what the slab was from reading Layard’s books as a young student and recalling them during the excavation work. Another striking thing about the discovery of the door sill is that

“ISIS might well have been aware of its existence,”

Danti said.

“And yet it was so well preserved.”

The vast majority of the excavated areas of the ancient city of Nimrud were destroyed by ISIS through multiple attacks on the area. While buildings, statues, and the site’s iconic ziggurat were destroyed, debris was used to bury some of the buildings nearby. As a result, Danti and his team now have to navigate layers of destruction and construction in order to excavate and reconstruct thousands of years of Iraqi history, including modern elements that had been added in the mid-20th century. He described the work as being

“like a jigsaw puzzle.”

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Preceding

Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo

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Additional reading

  1. Children of Men
  2. Being Charlie 7
  3. Is ISIS a product of American in-action or a product of direct action
  4. Refugee crisis, terrorist attacks and created fear
  5. Coming closer to the end of 2015 and the end for Donald Trump as presidential candidate
  6. 2015 Human rights
  7. 2015 the year of ISIS
  8. Christians at War? Christians using violence?
  9. Before you blame All Muslims for the terrorist attack in Paris
  10. At the closing hours of 2016 #2 Low but also highlights
  11. The 105th Caliph closing the mouths of those who try to speak out
  12. Iraqi Underclass and animosities
  13. ISIS, Mosul Dam and threatening lives of those who want to live in freedom
  14. Do Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, ISIS and ISIL belong to true Islam
  15. Condemning QSIS or the self-claimed Islamic state ruler, al- Baghdadi their extremist ideologies and to clarify the true teachings of Islam
  16. Yazidi, they who were created
  17. Silence of the world about rocket attacks on Israel
  18. To freeze the fighting in Aleppo
  19. Cities not under fear but monuments feared
  20. Rampaging, demolishing sacred sites and cultural heritage
  21. Discipleship to look at
  22. Islamic fundamentalists
  23. Afghanistan – ‘An Anatomy of Reporting’; Twenty-Five Years On: 1996-2021.
  24. Christians, secularism, morals and values

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Related

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  3. Will Mosul ever see better times again?
  4. The Islamic State (Full Length)
  5. Covering the “Islamic State”
  6. The oppressed and the oppressor
  7. The Great ISIS Recession
  8. Never Censorship.
  9. Crazy vs Evil: can we get some consistency please! (Caution, slightly strong language)
  10. Isis will fail to emulate Islam’s great conquests. Here’s why
  11. Clear victory! How?
  12. Kobane Diary: 4 Days Inside the City Fighting an Unprecedented Resistance Against ISIS
  13. Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey List
  14. “THE” Muslims are terrorists?
  15. You call that fighting?!
  16. Establishing Shariah
  17. Analysis: The Retaking of Palmyra from the Islamic State
  18. Too Soon to Celebrate Ramadi
  19. The Long Fight Against ISIS
  20. The War on Nothing
  21. …and the refugee crisis!
  22. Marxist muslim Obama Responds to Jerusalem, Israel Attack “Too many palestinians have Died”!!
  23. Rocket attack hits Baghdad’s Green Zone
  24. Will Mosul ever see better times again?
  25. Iraq’s Sadr forms ‘save the nation’ alliance to push for government formation
  26. Iraqi officers find Islamic State jihadis hidden among the refugees fleeing Mosul
  27. Rebuilding Mosul: Returning Iraqis face danger and difficulty

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