Skip to main content

Iraq unveils ancient Assyrian lamassu statue in Nineveh province

The Iraqi government has worked to repatriate smuggled artifacts in recent years. The city of Khorsabad, where the lamassu is located, was one of several ancient sites targeted by the Islamic State.
Iraqi security forces stand guard at the site of a newly-unearthed Assyrian Lamassu (human-headed winged bull) sculpture discovered with its entire wings intact by the French archaeological mission at the archaeological site of Khorsabad (also known as Dur-Sharrukin), the former Assyrian capital in the time of Sargon II (721705 BC) in Iraq's northern Nineveh province on October 24, 2023. (Photo by Zaid AL-OBEIDI / AFP) (Photo by ZAID AL-OBEIDI/AFP via Getty Images)

Iraqi authorities on Tuesday unveiled an ancient Assyrian statue as the government continues to work on preserving the country’s rich archaeological heritage.

The General Authority for Antiquities and Heritage said the excavation of the lamassu took place in Khorsabad, north of Mosul in the Nineveh province. The structure was first discovered in 1992 by an Iraqi excavation team. Its head was stolen in 1995, but was then recovered and placed in the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, where it remains. The remaining structure was reburied for preservation, the authority said in a Facebook post.

The authorities did not specify when exactly the structure was reburied nor when the head was brought to the museum. A joint Iraqi-French team working on excavations in Khorsabad is assessing the lamassu's condition, according to the post.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.