Castle of the Sealand kings: Discovering ancient Iraq’s rebel rulers

Iraq 0 Comment 3

British and Iraqi archaeologists identify the first known settlement built under the enigmatic Sealand kings

The Kings of the Sealand sound like they come straight out of a fantasy novel but it’s the name given to a royal dynasty who ruled a swathe of Bronze Age Iraq for almost three centuries (ca. 1730-1460 BCE). Archaeologists know almost nothing about the Sealand Kings or their kingdom; all we have to go on are a tiny number of ancient texts, mostly written about them by other rulers. We know they controlled the swampy land around the head of the Persian Gulf, including several of the great ancient cities of southern Babylonia, and we know that they thoroughly annoyed the Kings of Babylon from whom they’d wrestled their kingdom.

In some ways, the Sealand kingdom is a distant ancestor to the many independently minded communities to have thrived in the Iraqi marshes which, like the English Fens, have always resisted external control and provided a refuge for rebels.

Related: In the field with Iraq’s archaeologists of the future

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