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The General Authority for Antiquities and Heritage in Iraq recently announced the re-discovery of a lamassu from the time of Sargon II at Khorsabad, the site of ancient Dur-Sharrukin. Lamassu are Assyrian deities which is depicted with the head of a human, the body of a lion or bull, and the wings of a bird. The were commonly found in pairs on either side of entrances to palaces or courtyards. This lamassu, located at the sixth gate of Dur-Sharrukin, was first noted by the French archaeologist Victor Place in the 19th century, and excavated in 1992. Shortly afterward the head of the lamassu was stolen but then recovered by police and taken to the Iraqi museum. To protect the body, it was reburied, which likely saved it from ISIS in 2015, when the group systematically destroyed archaeological artifacts throughout the region. The lamassu is estimated to weigh 18 tons, and is carved from one piece of limestone. When Sargon II became king, he set about to construct Dur-Sharrukin as his new capital. Upon his death, Sennacherib took the throne and moved the capital to Nineveh, leaving Dur-Sharrukin incomplete. Sargon II is mentioned only once in the Bible: in Isaiah 20:1, he is named as the king of Assyria who sent his commander to attack and capture Ashdod.




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