digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

A tank guarding the National Museum of Iraq following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. A hole caused by a shell can be seen in the wall above the tank. The museum was looted after the invasion, and thousands of items remain missing. A great many antiquities were destroyed as well, by looters, as well as by shells and the like.[citation needed]

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, archaeological looting has become a problem.Though some sites, such as Ur and Nippur, are officially protected by US and Coalition forces, most are not. Saddam Hussein treasured his national heritage immensely and acted to defend these sites and the artifacts within them; with the fall of his government on 9 April 2003, these sites have been left completely open to looting. Looters have therefore descended upon many of these sites and are in the process of destroying them and extracting artifacts to sell to collectors and dealers. Past archaeological research is being destroyed in the process, as is the potential for future research.

A series of international agreements banned the trade in looted antiquities in 1970, and in 2003 the United Nations passed UN Resolution 1483, which called upon all member states of the UN to act to prevent the trade of Iraqi cultural properties without verifiable provenance. However, this has done little to put a dent in the looting and international sale of Iraqi artifacts.

Recovered artifacts on display in late 2008

Authorities have recovered shipments on a number of occasions, but overall a ban such as this one is very difficult to enforce. Four hundred items, most stolen from the National Museum of Iraq, were captured by Iraqi paramilitary units in May 2003 when they stopped a car near the Iranian border purely by chance. By June, customs inspectors and other authorities in the United States had seized over six hundred of the museum's artifacts. Nearly everything stolen from the museum still had its accession number, preceded by the letters "IM" for "Iraqi Museum," written on it; this way the buyers of the stolen goods could be assured of their provenance. Italy has recovered many of these items as well. Meanwhile, Jordan recovered over one thousand artifacts in those few months, and is one of Iraq's only neighbors to be taking great measures to prevent themselves being used by the looters and their buyers for shipping or concealing the stolen goods.

Sites affected[edit]

  • Adab - an ancient city plagued by hundreds of looters.
  • Babylon - saw the construction of "a 150-hectare camp for 2,000 troops. In the process the 2,500-year-old brick pavement to the Ishtar Gate was smashed by tanks and the gate itself damaged. The archaeology-rich subsoil was bulldozed to fill sandbags, and large areas covered in compacted gravel for helipads and car parks. Babylon is being rendered archaeologically barren" (Simon Jenkins in The Guardian, 8 June 2007).[1]
  • Hatra - looters with stonecutters have stolen elements of friezes and reliefs straight off the ancient architecture here.
  • Isin - over two hundred looters' pits are organized around the former site of the Temple of Gula; countless artifacts have been removed from the site here, including innumerable cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals, and votive tablets, some of which could sell for as much as $30,000.
  • Nimrud - home of the palace of Assurnasirpal II and described by the Old Testament as the "principal city" of Assyria, Nimrud is one of the few sites that is militarily protected. However, weeks before the arrival of the site's US guards, looters attacked the friezes and statues with stonecutting tools, stealing images distinctly belonging to Nimrud, and thus unmistakenly known to any potential buyers to be stolen; the items have been sold, presumably, nevertheless. Those few looters that managed to break into this site despite its protection have given every indication that they know precisely what they are looking for, where to find it, and how to get at it. Like many looters throughout Iraq and across the world, they have presumably been hired to obtain specific images; this separates them from the looters who dig up and sell whatever they can find.
  • Nineveh - one of the more thoroughly researched sites, experts have little difficulty identifying objects stolen from Nineveh. The site was severely looted and damaged nevertheless after the first Gulf War, and chunks of its unique and ancient friezes have appeared on the European and American art markets.
  • Nippur - the great ziggurat here has only three major looters' pits cut into it, which are the first in over forty years of valuable research and excavation.
  • Umma - looters descended upon the site as soon as Coalition bombing began; the site is now pockmarked with hundreds of ditches and pits. When archaeologists "tried to remove vulnerable carvings from the ancient city of Umma to Baghdad, they found gangs of looters already in place with bulldozers, dump trucks and AK47s".[2]
  • Ur - one of the few sites protected by a US military presence. According to Simon Jenkins, "its walls are pockmarked with wartime shrapnel and a blockhouse is being built over an adjacent archaeological site".[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Atwood, Roger (2004). Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the Ancient World. New York: St. Martin's Press.
  • Bogdanos, Matthew. Thieves of Baghdad: One Marine's Passion to Recover the World's Greatest Stolen Treasures. Bloomsbury USA (October 26, 2005) ISBN 1-58234-645-3
  • Looting of ancient sites threatens Iraqi heritage 6/29/2006

The Global Heritage Fund website

  • [4]
  • U.S.-Led Troops Have Damaged Babylon, British Museum Says, New York Times article [5]
  • Zainab Bahrani. 2004. Lawless in Mesopotamia. Natural History 113(2):44-49
  • Farchakh, Joanne The massacre of Mesopotamian archaeology: Looting in Iraq is out of control, Tuesday, September 21, 2004 [6]
  • The massacre of Mesopotamian archaeology [7]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeological_looting_in_Iraq — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
262 videos foundNext > 

US Looted Thousands of Iraq's Cultural Treasures

US Looted Thousands of Iraq's Cultural Treasures. An Iraqi archaeologist and architect says the United States has stolen thousands of Iraq's cultural treasur...

Catastrophe! Ten Years Later: The Looting and Destruction of Iraq's Past

An exhibition preview with Dr. Clemens Reichel, Professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology at the University of Toronto, Associate Curator of Ancient Near East in...

Scholar fights archaeological looting in Egypt

In the aftermath of Egypt's 2011 revolution and resulting political turmoil, the nation's treasured antiquities have been increasingly under threat of lootin...

Lost treasures of the Iraq Museum - Dan Cruickshank & The Raiders of the Lost Art - BBC

The BBC's Indiana Jones goes in search of Iraq's lost art following the invasion in 2003. Once home to priceless artefacts, the Iraq Museum in Bagdad is now ...

4 Thousand Year old Archaeology found in Iraq

www.thepeoplesunderground.com.

Egypt: Hundreds of priceless artefacts destroyed in museum looting

Hundreds of ancient Egyptian artefacts have been vandalised and looted from a museum outside... euronews, the most watched news channel in Europe Subscribe f...

Looting of Baghdad Museum Donny George and the looters

Iraq Looters

TELL LAHAM, Iraq — Archeologist John Russell (search), flying in a U.S. military helicopter, looked out over the barrel of the gunner's machine gun and saw h...

World of Dig Craft: Illegal Trade & Looting

Welcome to World of Dig Craft. In this series Liv Westring discusses current issues facing Archaeology, in Sweden and around the world. Today, Liv examines i...

Beyond the Iraq Museum: Protecting our Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis

The tragic looting of the Iraq National Museum in 2003 shocked cultural heritage professionals into action and led to the U.S. ratification of the 1954 Hague...

262 videos foundNext > 

We're sorry, but there's no news about "Archaeological looting in Iraq" right now.

Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Archaeological looting in Iraq

You can talk about Archaeological looting in Iraq with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!