Archaeological sites unearthed as water levels drop in Iraq’s Mosul Dam, sparking preservation efforts

MOSUL, Iraq — The failure of Iran and Turkey to adhere to water quotas has led to a shortage of water resources in Iraq, resulting in exceedingly low water levels of Mosul Dam Reservoir along the Tigris River. However, this has had an unexpected consequence: the emergence of many archaeological sites in the area.

With around 120 archaeological sites in the region, experts have been forced to launch an emergency preservation process to save these newly exposed artifacts.

Recent discoveries include a historic cemetery with 147 graves dating back over 3,000 years and murals belonging to the Assyrian King Sennacherib.

Unfortunately, the Islamic State (ISIS) previously destroyed almost 80 archaeological sites in Nineveh between 2014 and 2017.

Despite the newfound archaeological sites, post-war reconstruction and ownership disputes over some sites have left these areas vulnerable to theft and neglect.

The director of antiquities in Nohadra (Dohuk) province has warned that grave looting is becoming a threat to the archaeological sites in the province, including tombs found in Jumanki, Mankish, Zawiya, and Samil districts.