Ancient fortress found by archaeologists may be a lost royal city

(ORDO NEWS) — The 2,000-year-old fortress built on a mountainside in present-day Kurdistan may be part of a lost royal city called Natuniya. CNN writes about it.

Using drone photography, archaeologists excavated and cataloged the site in a series of excavations between 2009 and 2022.

The stone fortress of Rabana-Merculi, located in the Zagros mountains, includes almost 4 km long fortifications and two small settlements.

The fortress was on the border of Adiabene, a small kingdom ruled by the kings of the local dynasty. These rulers were meant to pay homage to the neighboring Parthian Empire, which stretched across parts of Iran and Mesopotamia roughly 2,000 years ago, according to a study by Michael Brown, a researcher at the Institute for Prehistory, Protohistory and Near Eastern Archeology at Heidelberg University.

According to Brown, the carvings at the entrance to the fortress depict King Adiabene. The carvings are reminiscent of other images of the kings of Adiabene, especially the image found 230 km from the ancient city called Hatra.

Although this is a matter of conjecture, Brown believes that the fort was a royal city known as Natunia or Natunissarokerta that was part of the kingdom of Adiabene.

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“Natunia is really only known for its rare coins, there are (are) no detailed historical references,” Brown said.

Details recovered from seven coins describe a city named after a king named Natunissar and a place on the lower reaches of the Zab River, known in antiquity as the Kapros River.

The king on the carving could be the founder of Natunia, either Natunissar, or his direct descendant, the scientists concluded.


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