Iraq is considered one of the countries in the world most affected by climate change, and the south of the country in particular has been suffering from severe drought for months. To prevent the crops from drying out, large quantities of water were withdrawn from the Mousel reservoir, the most important water reserve in Iraq, which led to the emergence of a Bronze Age city that had been submerged in water for decades without any prior archaeological investigations. The unexpected event, put archaeologists under sudden pressure to excavate and document at least parts of this large city and important city as soon as possible before it is re-flooded.
A rescue team was formed within days, and funding for the work was obtained on short notice from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation through the University of Freiburg in Germany.
The archaeological team was under tremendous time pressure because it was not clear when the water in the reservoir would rise again.
Within a short time, the researchers largely succeeded in mapping the city and many other large buildings were revealed such as huge fortifications with walls and towers and a huge storage building.
The research team was amazed by the condition of the well-preserved walls, although the walls are made of sun-dried mud bricks and have been under water for more than forty years .This good preservation is due to the fact that the city was destroyed in an earthquake around 1350 BC as the upper parts of the collapsed walls of the buildings were buried.
Of particular interest is the discovery of five pottery vessels containing a huge archive of more than a hundred cuneiform tablets dating back to the Middle Assyrian period.
It should be noted that in order to avoid further damage to the site due to high water, the excavated buildings were covered with airtight plastic sheets as part of a comprehensive restoration project funded by the German Gerda Henkel Foundation.