Research at the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud continues to reveal surprising finds that allow us to understand more deeply the history and culture of the site. Recently, archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, along with an Iraqi excavation team, discovered a large stone monument depicting the goddess Ishtar. This discovery brings new insights into the religious practices and beliefs of the ancient Assyrians.
Ishtar is one of the most famous goddesses in Mesopotamian mythology. She is the goddess of love, war and fertility. The image of Ishtar on the stone monument allows us to see her inside the symbol of a star, which indicates a connection with the planet Venus, which the ancient Assyrians called the “morning star”. This is the first unambiguous image of the goddess in this aspect, which was found in a temple dedicated to Ishtar.
The excavations at Nimrud also led to the discovery of other important artifacts connected with the cult of Ishtar. During the work, relics from a 3,000-year-old temple dedicated to the goddess were found. It is one of the oldest temples associated with Ishtar and is of great historical significance.
However, Nimrud is not only a place of worship for Ishtar but also an important Assyrian city that flourished in the 8th century BC. During earlier excavations, a palace belonging to the Assyrian king Adad-Nirari III was discovered in this city. This season, the archaeological team continued their work inside the palace and expanded their efforts to uncover its history.
The excavations uncovered two huge stone column bases, indicating that the palace was magnificently decorated with exquisitely carved columns. Inside the throne room, evidence was found of a large stone basin, which researchers believe may have served as a central heating system. These findings confirm the luxury and power of Assyrian rule at that time.
Archaeologists have also found scattered pieces of ostrich egg shells and ivory. These objects were rare and of great value in the Early Bronze Age. They testify about trade relations and prosperity of Nimrud in ancient times.
The discoveries made during the excavations at Nimrud allow us to better understand the history and culture of the ancient Assyrians. They expand our knowledge of the religious practices, beliefs, and luxuries of life in this ancient city. These findings are an important step in the study and preservation of Iraq’s cultural heritage.