Professor Ali Obeid Shilgam, the Director General of the Department of Archaeological Research in Iraq, announced the findings during archaeological survey work in the Diyala region, where three qanat systems dating from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD were uncovered.
Qanats, also known as underground aqueducts, are among the oldest irrigation systems known.
They consist of groups of wells dug in a straight line and interconnected underground through horizontal galleries 20 to 30 meters deep.
Thanks to this network of wells and galleries, rainwater filtered into the ground was captured and distributed to cultivation areas through small channels.
The first system found in Diyala consists of 24 wells connected by a 10-meter-deep gallery dug on one side. The second system also includes 24 wells connected by an underground channel 13 kilometers long.
Finally, the third discovered system comprises 9 wells associated with channels sunk on both sides.
Experts believe that these three qanats could have been built between the 1st century BC and the 3rd century AD by the Parthian and Sassanid empires, serving as examples of water management techniques applied in ancient Mesopotamia.
The discovery in Diyala provides new information about the complex irrigation system that facilitated the flourishing of agriculture and the development of important crops such as wheat and barley in the Mesopotamian region during the peak of the Parthian and Sassanid empires.
This is one of the most significant archaeological discoveries made in Iraq in recent years.
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