Dohuk (Iraq) (AFP)

The remains were uncovered by a joint mission bringing together Italian archaeologists and their counterparts from the Antiquities Directorate of Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan, at two sites dating back to the reigns of Sargon II (721-705 BC) and his son Sénnacherib, who succeeded him.

King of Assyria in the 8th century BC, Sargon II had established his capital in northern Iraq, on what is now the Nineveh Plain, near Mosul.

Near the site of Khinis, archaeologists have discovered the remains of an "industrial-size wine factory", which dates from the time of Sénnacherib (704-681 BC.), Daniele Morandi Bonacossi told AFP , Italian co-director of the team.

Remains of a wine factory more than 2,700 years old in Iraq, the discovery of which was announced on Sunday, October 24, 2021 by a team of Italian and Iraqi archaeologists - Terra Di Ninive / AFP

"We found fourteen installations used to press the bunches and extract the juice, then transformed into wine", specifies the expert.

According to him, this is the first such discovery in Iraq.

On the site of Faida (northern Iraq), archaeologists have found an irrigation canal nine kilometers long.

"Twelve monumental bas-reliefs" five meters wide by two meters high dating from the end of the 8th century BC and the beginning of the 7th century BC are visible on the walls.

They were sponsored either by Sargon II or by Sénnacherib.

Each panel "represents the Assyrian king praying before the gods", explains Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, with "the seven most important deities of the Assyrian pantheon, represented in the form of statues".

Bas-reliefs more than 2,700 years old carved in the walls of an irrigation canal in Iraq, the discovery of which was announced Sunday, October 24, 2021 by a team of Italian and Iraqi archaeologists - Terra Di Ninive / AFP

"The statues are carried by sacred animals (...) Ishtar the goddess of love and war is on a lion", explains the archaeologist of the University of Udine

From the fabulous palaces and temples built during the reign of Sargon II have survived several mythical winged bulls -Lamassu- and wall frescoes exhibited in the Baghdad museum but also in the Louvre in Paris.

Iraq is the cradle of the civilizations of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon and Assyria, to which humanity owes the writing and the first cities.

The country has suffered for decades from the looting of its antiquities, especially after the American invasion of 2003 and the arrival of the jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) group ten years later.

© 2021 AFP

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