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Archaeological excavations have found traces of a vast system of aqueducts attributed to Sennacherib by an inscription on its remains, which Dalley proposes were part of a 80-kilometre (50 mi) series of canals, dams, and aqueducts used to carry water to Nineveh with water-raising screws used to raise it to the upper levels of the gardens.
There are five principal writers whose descriptions of Babylon exist in some form today.
These writers concern themselves with the size of the Hanging Gardens, their overall design and means of irrigation, and why they were built.
The area has been used as a military base in recent times, making it difficult to investigate further.
The irrigation of such a garden demanded an upgraded water supply to the city of Nineveh.
Parts of the palace were excavated by Austin Henry Layard in the mid-19th century.
His citadel plan shows contours which would be consistent with Sennacherib's garden, but its position has not been confirmed.
According to one legend, the Hanging Gardens were built alongside a grand palace known as The Marvel of Mankind, by the Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II (who ruled between 605 and 562 BC), for his Median wife Queen Amytis, because she missed the green hills and valleys of her homeland.
This was attested to by the Babylonian priest Berossus, writing in about 290 BC, a description that was later quoted by Josephus.