Archaeologists in Iraq believe they may have found the lost tomb
of King Gilgamesh - the subject of the oldest "book" in history.
The Epic Of Gilgamesh - written by a Middle Eastern
scholar 2,500 years before the birth of Jesus - commemorated the
life of the ruler of the city of Uruk, from which Iraq gets its
name [although this is disputed].
Now, a German-led expedition has discovered what is thought to
be the entire city of Uruk - including, where the Euphrates once
flowed, the last resting place of its famous King.
"I don't want to say definitely it was the grave of Gilgamesh, but it looks very similar to that described in the epic," Jorg Fassbinder, of the Bavarian department of Historical Monuments
in Munich, said.
In the book - actually a set of inscribed clay tablets -
Gilgamesh was described as having been buried under the Euphrates,
in a tomb apparently constructed when the waters of the ancient
river parted following his death.
"We found just outside the city an area in the middle of the
former Euphrates river the remains of such a building which could be
interpreted as a burial," Mr Fassbinder said.
He said the amazing discovery of the ancient city under the
Iraqi desert had been made possible by modern technology.
"By differences in magnetisation in the soil, you can look into
the ground," Mr Fassbinder added.
"The difference between mud bricks and sediments in the
Euphrates river gives a very detailed structure."
This creates a magnetogram, which is then digitally mapped,
effectively giving a town plan of Uruk.