Iraqi reports are saying that ISIS took heavy equipment today and started bulldozing the ancient ruins of Nimrud southeast of Mosul along the Tigris river.
According to a UCLA history of excavations at the site, it was “occupied intermittently from the 6th millennium BC to at least the Hellenistic period, but the most significant period of occupation occurred during the Late Assyrian period, when Assurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) built Nimrud as the capital of his empire. The city remained the chief royal residence and administrative capital of the Assyrian empire until the reign of Sargon II (721-705 BC), though Esarhaddon (680-669 BC) later rebuilt much of the citadel.”
“The modern name Nimrud is taken from the biblical account of Nimrod the hunter who, according to Genesis 10:8-12, established the dynasty from which the Assyrians derived. The Assyrians themselves called the site Kalḫu (biblical Calaḫ), a name which first appears in texts from the 13th century BC.”
A tour company that took groups to the site before the Islamic State invasion noted that modern-day visitors would be able to enter the palace “through a couple of doorways, between impressive statuary showing two hawk-winged lions with human heads in the well-known Assyrian style. These huge sculptures were meant to be the guardians of the city.”
“Some beautiful bas-relief slabs are still on the site, though most of them were taken abroad by excavators,” Atlas Tours states. “Most striking is the throne room, measuring 45.5×10.5 m. It was here that a large number of exquisite ivory carvings were found.”
Iraq’s Tourism and Antiquities Ministry reported on its Facebook page that ISIS “assaulted the historic city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy vehicles.”