© Dlshad Marf Zamua
Life-size human statues and the remains of an ancient temple dating back some 2,500 years have been discovered in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The region's hilly environment, shown here.
Life-size human statues and column bases from a long-lost temple dedicated to a supreme god have been discovered in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.
The discoveries date back over 2,500 years to the Iron Age
, a time period when several groups - such as the Urartians, Assyrians
and Scythians - vied for supremacy over what is now northern Iraq.
"I didn't do excavation, just archaeological soundings - the villagers uncovered these materials accidentally," said Dlshad Marf Zamua, a doctoral student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who began the fieldwork in 2005. The column bases were found in a single village while the other finds, including a bronze statuette of a wild goat, were found in a broad area south of where the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey intersect. [See Photos of the Life-Size Statues & Other Discoveries in Iraq
For part of the Iron Age, this area was under control of the city of Musasir, also called Ardini, Marf Zamua said. Ancient inscriptions have referred to Musasir as a "holy city founded in bedrock" and "the city of the raven."