One of 7 wonders of the world finally tracked down

Karim Kadim, AP

An Iraqi armed soldier walks in front of Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon about 50 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, Sept. 18, 2008. Babylon was once among the greatest cities in the world.

USA Today
Mon, May 6, 2013

by Kate Seamons, Newser

There has long been a slight problem with the declaration of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world -- there was no proof it actually existed. Now, an Oxford University researcher says she's tracked down evidence the garden did indeed grow in what is now Iraq, just some 300 miles north of where legend placed it.

Stephanie Dalley spent roughly two decades pinpointing its location, which she has identified as being located 300 miles from Babylon in Nineveh, and built by an entirely different king -- an enemy one at that, reports the Guardian.

Though the story went that Babylonia's King Nebuchadnezzar constructed the gardens to appease his homesick wife, Dalley asserts that it was instead Assyria's King Sennacherib behind them. Using her expertise in the region's ancient language, Dalley translated a number of Babylonian, Assyrian, Greek, and Roman texts, and found what the Independent describes as "four key pieces of evidence."

Among them: indications that Nineveh may have been seen as a "new Babylon" after the Assyrians conquered the Babylonians in 689 BC, studies of the topography near the respective locations, and signs that the historians who wrote about the gardens a few centuries later actually visited locations near Nineveh.

The Guardian also reports that, by Dalley's translation, a 7th-century BC Assyrian inscription that had been woefully deciphered about a century ago revealed Nineveh was home to an intricate system of waterways that would have transported water 50 miles to the gardens. Recent digs have uncovered signs these aqueducts existed, notes the Guardian, which says the dangerous nature of the area has prevented much exploration of it.

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