An archaeological find of a 2,700-year-old winery that may belong to ancient Yezidis
Historically, the Yezidi people lived in the territories of ancient Mesopotamia of present-day Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Assyrian is historically considered one of the closest and friendly peoples to the Yezidi people. These two peoples have been united by friendly and fraternal relations for centuries, they lived side by side, fought together against foreign invaders.
Recently, Italian archaeologists announced that they have identified the remains of a 2,700-year-old wine press in the Dahuk province of the Kurdistan Region, which dates to the Assyrian Empire.
The site, which, according to them, is the oldest such discovery made to date in the northern part of ancient Mesopotamia, is located outside the village of New Hanis, about 8 km north of the Sheikhan district.
The striking find is the result of a long-term general survey of archaeological sites in Dahuk, conducted jointly by the Department of Antiquities of Dahuk and the Italian University of Udine. Research began in 2012, but was interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Archaeologists have already identified the site as an ancient one of interest, but it wasn't until the workers who returned to the site completed the initial excavation and cleanup last month that they realized they were at one of the oldest wineries ever found. This winery could belong to both a Yezidi and an Assyrian winemaker. Because it is known for certain that the Yezidis used alcoholic beverages and this is described in ancient verses. It was allowed to drink alcoholic beverages in the Yezidi religion. Many Yezidis owned lands and farms, in addition to cattle breeding, they were engaged in the cultivation of fruit trees, vineyards, olives and dates. Who exactly could belong to the found winery remains unknown.
The director of the Department of Antiquities of Dahuk, Dr. Bekas Brifkani, said that the find dates back to the reign of the Assyrian king Sennacherib.
He explained that the ancient winery found was carved right into the rock and consists of 14 tanks, with two large rectangular tanks in which workers squeezed the juice from the grapes, forcing it to flow into other round tanks, which were collected and stored in large vessels for fermentation.
This is a completely unique archaeological find, because for the first time in northern Mesopotamia, archaeologists were able to determine the area of wine production.
According to Dr. Brifkani, the Department of Antiquities of Dahuk is instructed to protect this place while archaeological groups study this territory. Rain and other natural factors can negatively affect the historical find, a plan is being developed for the best protection of the area until the end of excavation work, after which it will probably be transformed into a future local tourist attraction.
As part of the joint efforts of the Department of Antiquities of Dahuk and the Italian University of Udine, 1,140 archaeological sites have been discovered so far in the districts of Dahuk Zaho, Sumel, Sheikhan and Bardarash, as well as 560 additional sites where the Department of Dahuk works with other academic institutions, including the universities of Tubingen and Freiburg in Germany.