LONDON: Archaeologists have discovered a city in Iraq that is thought to have been founded by Alexander the Great and was lost for more than 2,000 years.
Researchers at the British Museum in London used drones to find the remains of Qalatga Darband, a fortified settlement in northern Iraq with a thriving wine trade, that went unrecorded in history.
According to John MacGinnis, an archaeologist at the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Programme, it was established for the first time that there was a city dating back to the first and second centuries BC.
"It is early days, but we think it would have been a bustling city on a road from Iraq to Iran. You can imagine people supplying wine to soldiers passing through," said MacGinnis.
The archaeologists stumbled across the lost city while poring over declassified spy satellite photographs taken by the US government for military purposes in the 1960s but made public only in 1996.
The city was built on the likely route that Alexander took in 331 BC as he was pursuing Darius III of Persia, whom he had defeated in battle at Gaugamela, 'The Times' reported.
Statues of Greco-Roman deities and terracotta roof tiles show a strong Greek influence, indicating that its early residents were Alexander's subjects and those of his successor, researchers said.
They confirmed the location of the buried city by flying a drone equipped with a camera.
When images were processed to exaggerate contrasts in colour, the team found outlines of a large rectangular building hidden beneath fields of wheat and barley.