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044. Kouyounjik / Nebi Yunis
        (ancient: Nineveh)

Ninawa Province. On the eastern side of Mosul.

Dates: Prehistoric periods (deep sounding uncovered
           prehistoric layers now dated to early Hassuna,
           circa 6,000 BC);
           to the end of Neo-Assyrian Empire, when
           conquered by Babylonians and Medes in 612 BC
           Reoccupied later in Parthian times

Comprised of the two prominent mounds of Kouyounjik, high and steep-sided, bout 45 ha in area and site of the North and Southwest Palaces and temples, and Nebi Yunis, about 15 hectares, which incorporates the Neo-Assyrian arsenal.. Important temples include the Ishtar temple, a major cult center for Ishtar of  Nineveh, and temples to Assur (national god), Nabu (god of wisdom  and scribes) Adad (weather god), and the double Sin-Shamash (moon and sun gods) temple. Sennacherib chose the city to be the new capital. And  completely rebuilt the Southwest Palace, calling it his own “Incomparable Palace”, and using ivory, stone, exotic woods and precious metals. His extensive rebuilding activities. included a city wall, which enclosed an area of 750 hectares, and an estimated population of 120,000. Additionally, he also built an elaborate system of canals to supply water for irrigation  of gardens and parks, and defense. Assurbanipal likewise rebuilt the North Palace, and magnificent relief carvings of scene of warfare and hunting have been recovered from there, as well 24,000 clay tablets from the royal archives, including an account of the Great Flood.

Collections: reliefs primarily at the British Museum; copper head of a Akkadian king (Sargon?) at the Iraq National Museum.

Fieldwork: Layard and/or Rassam, 1840’s-1870’s; Thompson, 1927-32; Madhloom, 1965-71.

Recent site assessment: Unrecorded digging/site destruction: illegal excavations and smuggling of antiquities from the time in whcih sanctions were in force, after first Gulf War. More:

May 2003 University of Chicago / National Geographic Assessment of Nineveh: "This former capital of the Assyrian Empire immediately north of old Mosul, has been increasingly damaged by the expansion of new suburbs. At Sennacherib's SW palace in Nineveh there were three forms of recent damage: a) general decay of the reliefs which appears to have taken place over the roughly the 10-year period including the two Gulf Wars and the intervening period of sanctions when conservation materials were unavailable. The corrugated iron roof which was progressively lost during the 1990s was now completely gone. b) deliberate vandalism of reliefs in the two galleries on display, and c) digging of at least two holes in the floors of chambers (specifically a small room at the SE end of the main hall) apparently to seek valuable artifacts (Gold or ivory?) from beneath the floors of the rooms. Photographic records were made of the damage to the palace reliefs."




  36° 21' 57.6000"
  36.366º N
  43° 9' 10.8000"     
  43.153º E

 GoogleEarth satellite view of  Nineveh (external resource)

 Nineveh can be located on JOG
 map 1501ANJ3813. This GeoPDF
 map contains embedded coordinates
 and other data that can be viewed
 using Adobe Acrobat Reader for
 Windows with the free GeoPDF

 View site photos of Nineveh  provided by the Oriental
 Institute, University of Chicago
 (external resource)

See the  description and photos of Nineveh (external resource)