An ancient temple with life-size human statues discovered in northern Iraq

A drawing that depicts the looting of the temple of Haldi by the Assyrians (By Eugène Flandin, in public domain)


Dlshad Marf Zamua, doctoral student at Leiden University (Leiden, Netherlands) who also teaches at Salahaddin University (Erbil, Iraq), recently presented at the 9th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Basel, Switzerland) his studies of an ancient temple that had been discovered in Iraqi Kurdistan. Villagers from the region had accidentally uncovered what is believed to be an important and long-lost temple dedicated to Haldi, one of the three chief gods of Urartu, an ancient kingdom corresponding to the biblical kingdom of Ararat. The temple likely dates back to the Iron Age, over 2,500 years ago. Marf Zamua had taken charge of the fieldwork since 2005. Along with pottery shards, a small bronze statue, and more than a dozen column bases, Marf Zamua examined seven life-size stone human statues, some of them up to 7.5 feet or 2.3 meters tall. He published his research in the archaeology journal Subartu. Based on the results of his research, Marf Zamua maintains that the ancient city of Ardini/Musasir can be located in Mdjeser, a village in Kurdistan.

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