The tomb of Jonah is a traditional site and unless the prophet lived for more than a hundred years, this tradition has now been undermined by the discovery of a 7th-century palace built by the Assyrian king Sennacherib. The Times of Israel reports:
In July 2014, weeks after overrunning Mosul and much of Iraq’s Sunni Arab heartland, IS militants rigged the shrine and blew it up, sparking global outrage.
In mid-January, Iraqi troops in Nineveh liberated the site.
“(It is) far more damaged than we expected,” Culture Minister Salim Khalaf said.
But IS also dug tunnels beneath the shrine searching for artifacts to plunder.
Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih told Britain’s Daily Telegraph that in the tunnels she discovered a “marble cuneiform inscription of King Esarhaddon thought to date back to the Assyrian empire in 672 BCE.”
Eleanor Robson, head of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, said the terror group’s destruction had opened the way to a “fantastic find.”
“The objects don’t match descriptions of what we thought was down there,” she said, according to a Telegraph report. “There’s a huge amount of history down there, not just ornamental stones. It is an opportunity to finally map the treasure-house of the world’s first great empire, from the period of its greatest success.”
However, IS plundered many of the items that were in the palace. Khalaf estimated that more than 700 items have been looted from the site to be sale on the black market.
The full story has more sad news.
HT: Mike Harney