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In the Parthian and Sassanid eras Kirkuk was capital of the small Assyrian state of Beth Garmai (c.160 BC-250 AD).
The Parthians seemed to only exercise loose control, and a number of small Neo-Assyrian kingdoms sprang up in the region between the 2nd century BC and 4th century AD, one such kingdom named "ܒܝܬܓܪܡܝ", (that is Bit Garmai in Syriac) had Arrapha as its capital.
Christianity also arose during this period, with Arrapha and its surrounds being influenced by the Assyrian Church of the East.
After the 7th century, Muslim writers used the name Kirkheni (Syriac for "citadel" A cuneiform script found in 1927 at the foot of Kirkuk Citadel stated that the city of Erekha of Babylonia was on the site of Kirkuk.
Other sources consider Erekha to have been simply one part of the larger Arrapha metropolis.
It is suggested that Kirkuk was one of the places occupied by Neanderthals based on archeological findings in the Shanidar Cave settlement.