Archaeologists in Iraq say they have discovered a lost city that was founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, using drone photography and declassified intelligence images.
Nearly 2,000 years after the great Greek King’s death, archaeologists believe the city may have finally been discovered in Iraq. Qalatga Darband, which is believed to have been founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, was discovered by a team of Iraqi and British archaeologists led by experts from the British Museum.
Experts first noticed ancient remains in the Iraqi settlement after looking at declassified American spy footage from the 1960s.
The images were made public in 1996 but, due to political instability, archaeologists were unable to explore the site properly for years.
Now, using more recent drone footage and on-site work, researchers have established there was a city during the first and second centuries BC, which had strong Greek and Roman influences.
They believe Alexander the Great founded it in 331 BC, and later settled in the city with 3,000 veterans of his campaigns.
“The drone yielded excellent information,” Dr John MacGinnis, the archaeologist leading the program, told The Times. “It’s early days, but we think it would have been a bustling city on a road from Iraq to Iran. You can imagine people supplying wine to soldiers passing through.”
Staff from the British Museum have been training Iraqi heritage experts in a government-funded scheme designed to help archaeologists protect sites of historical significance in areas of the Middle East which have been severely impacted by conflict.