AArchaeologists have found the remains of an approximately 2,700 year old “industrial-scale wine factory” in northern Iraq. Italian archaeologist Daniele Morandi Bonacossi told the AFP news agency on Sunday: “We found fourteen facilities that were used to press the grapes and extract the juice, which was then processed into wine.” According to him, it was the first discovery of its kind in Iraq.
The site is therefore near the ancient capital of the Assyrian King Sargon II (721-705 BC) near the present-day city of Mosul in the north of the country. The team of Italian archaeologists and colleagues from the Antiquities Authority in Dohuk in the autonomous Kurdish regions in northern Iraq also found ancient reliefs in an earlier irrigation ditch.
These twelve so-called bas-reliefs are therefore each five meters long and two meters high and were made at the end of the 8th or beginning of the 7th century BC. According to Bonacossi, they showed an Assyrian king praying to various gods. The gods were therefore carried by sacred animals. “Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, is sitting on a lion,” said the archaeologist from the University of Udine.
In the area of what is now Iraq, numerous advanced civilizations such as Sumer, Akkad, Babylon and Assyria emerged during antiquity. Among other things, they left their writing as well as the first large cities. However, due to the political chaos that has persisted for decades, the archaeological sites are often looted and the loot is sold to international collectors.