English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

2,700-year-old industrial scale wine factory discovered in Iraq

2,700 year old wine factory discovered in Iraq.

Archaeologists in Iraq have discovered a 2,700-year-old large-scale wine factory, along with huge rock-carved reliefs showing Assyrian kings of the times  praying to the gods.

The royal reliefs were cut into the walls of a nearly nine-kilometre-long irrigation canal at Faida in northern Iraq, an AFP report cited the joint team of archaeologists from the Department of Antiquities in Dohuk and colleagues from Italy as saying.

The carvings, 12 panels measuring five metres (16 feet) wide and two metres tall, show gods, kings and sacred animals. They 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," said Italian archaeologist Daniele Morandi Bonacossi.

"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.

Also read:  Taliban launches hunt for ancient Bactrian gold worth billions of dollars

The irrigation canal was cut into limestone to carry water from the hills to the farms, and the carvings were made to remind people of the king who did this good work so that they remained loyal to him.

"It was not only a religious scene of prayer, it was also political, a sort of propaganda scene," Morandi Bonacossi explained.

"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," he added.

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," said Morandi Bonacossi, professor of Near Eastern archaeology at Italy's University of Udine, adding this was the first such discovery in Iraq.

Earlier this BBC had reported of a 1,500-year-old wine-making complex, said to have been the world's largest at the time, that has been discovered in Israel.

Five presses were unearthed at the huge Byzantine-era winery at Yavne, south of Tel Aviv, which is estimated to have produced two million litres a year.

After a sophisticated production process it was exported around the Mediterranean.

Those working at the site said they were surprised by its size.