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Archaeologists discover 2,700-year-old wine factory in Iraq

Archaeologists discover 2,700-year-old wine factory in Iraq

"It was a sort of industrial wine factory. We have found 14 installations that were used to press the grapes and extract the juice, which was then processed into wine." the archaeologists said.

Archaeologists discover 2,700-year-old wine factory in Iraq Archaeologists discover 2,700-year-old wine factory in Iraq

Archaeologists in Iraq have revealed that they discovered a large-scale wine factory from the rule of the Assyrian kings 2,700 years ago, along with monumental rock-carved royal reliefs.

The stone bas-reliefs, showing kings praying to the gods, were cut into the walls of a nearly nine-kilometre-long (5.5-mile) irrigation canal at Faida in northern Iraq, the joint team of archaeologists from the Department of Antiquities in Dohuk and colleagues from Italy told AFP.

The carvings -- 12 panels measuring five metres (16 feet) wide and two metres tall showing gods, kings and sacred animals -- date from the reigns of Sargon II (721-705 BC) and his son Sennacherib.

"There are other places with rock reliefs in Iraq, especially in Kurdistan, but none are so huge and monumental as this one," Italian archaeologist Daniele Morandi Bonacossi reportedly told AFP.

"The scenes represent the Assyrian king praying in front of the Assyrian gods," he said, noting that the seven key gods are all seen, including Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, who is depicted on top of a lion.

The irrigation canal was cut into limestone to carry water from the hills to the fields of farmers, and the carvings were made to remind people of the king who ordered its construction. "It was not only a religious scene of prayer, it was also political, a sort of propaganda scene," Morandi Bonacossi added.

"The king, in this way, wanted to show to the people living in the area that he was the one who has created these massive irrigation systems, so... the people should remember this and remain loyal," said Bonacossi who is a professor of Near Eastern archaeology at Italy's University of Udine. 

At Khinis, also near Dohuk, the team unearthed giant stone basins cut into white rock that were used in commercial wine-making during the reign of Sennacherib, in the late 8th or early 7th century BC.

"It was a sort of industrial wine factory," Bonacossi said, adding it was the first such discovery in Iraq.

"We have found 14 installations that were used to press the grapes and extract the juice, which was then processed into wine," stated the professor.

Some of the most famous carvings that have survived from the Assyrian period are the mythical winged bulls, with examples of the monumental reliefs seen in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, as well the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London.

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Published on: Oct 25, 2021, 11:59 AM IST
Posted by: Mehak Agarwal, Oct 25, 2021, 11:52 AM IST