The wholesale destruction of the ‘tomb of Jonah’ by Islamic terrorist group Isis has revealed a once opulent palace and inscriptions detailing the life of an Assyrian King.
According to a report in The Daily Mail, seven clay tablets were found in a palace, hidden for nearly 3,000 years under the tomb of Jonah, in the northern city of Mosul.
These describe the rule of a king named Esarhaddon, calling him the ‘king of the world’ and rebuilder of Babylon and Esagil. They also lay out the man’s family history, giving historians a fresh insight into the ancient royal bloodline of Assyria.
The tablets were found in four tunnels dug by Isis looters, looking for Assyrian treasure beneath the ‘Tomb of Jonah’. The site was blown up by the terror group during its occupation of Mosul from June 2014 until January 2017, when the city was retaken by Iraqi forces.
Archaeologists, picking through ancient rubble left behind by the group, found a previously undiscovered palace containing white marble murals of bulls, stone statues of demi-goddesses and seven marble inscriptions.
It had long been rumoured that the shrine shared a site with an ancient palace. Excavations had previously been carried out by the Ottoman governor of Mosul in 1852, and the Iraqi department of antiques also studied the site in the 1950s. But neither excavation had dug as far as the Isis militants, leaving the palace undiscovered for 2,600 years.