Qatalga Darband, located in the Kurdish region of Iraq, is believed to have once been a very flourishing trade and well established and naturally fortified settlement back in 331 B. C. However, what makes this place so interesting is not just it once being ruled by Alexander the Great, but also the fact that the name of this settlement has been missing from the records of history, despite it being so important commercially. What is even more fascinating is that many scholars believe that there is no solid link or historical evidence to establish that it was Alexander who founded this settlement.
Alexander III of Macedonia, who is popularly known as “Alexander the Great” is said to have changed the fate of the ancient world in a decade. He was a military genius and a conqueror, born in Pella, to Philip II, King of Macedonia, and Olympias. Alexander the Great has the impression of being the most influential and powerful people in the History who is said to have been an inspiration to conquerors like Julius Caesar and Napoleon. According to the popular belief, Alexander conquered this plateau while he was on his way to defeat Darius III, a Persian King, in then Mesopotamia and his successors, the Seleucids, developed it.
Interestingly, this site too, was initially discovered during the cold war in 1960s, by the US military through photographs captured by Corona satellites, used for monitoring the activities of Soviet Union and its allies, a program which was highly classified until 1995. However, they could not start with the excavation until the year 2016 because of the U. S. led invasion, 2003. John MacGinnis, from the British Museum, and his team have taken the responsibility for the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme and are expected to continue till the year 2020.
This project is called “Darband-I Rania Archaeological Project” and it aims at examining the first millennium BC’s major routes from the Northern part of the ancient Mesopotamia to Iran and also study the fortifications and occupations of that time. Though their initial focus has been on the settlement of Qatalga Darband, this project covers the areas around it as well. It wishes to strengthen the knowledge of the chronology of the historical events and also investigate the smaller sites present around Qatalga Darband. Eventually, these undertakings will help in restructuring the subtleties of the first millennium BC.
The discovery of this lost city will definitely provide more historical data regarding Alexander the Great’s visit to Iraqi Kurdistan. The excavations have already brought out many dismantled and disfigured statues and figurines of deities and forts. The archaeologists and historians are waiting to discover and unravel many other mysteries of the ancient Mesopotamia.