The damage wrought by the construction of an American military base in the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon must rank as one of the most reckless acts of cultural vandalism in recent memory. And all the more so because it was unnecessary and avoidable... but given that it was, the US authorities were very aware of the warnings of archaeologists of the historic importance of the site. Yet, as a report by Dr John Curtis of the British Museum makes clear, they seem to have ignored the warnings. Dr Curtis claimed that in the early days after the war a military presence served a valuable purpose in preventing the site from being looted. But that, he said, did not stop "substantial" damage being done to the site afterwards not just to individual buildings such as the Ishtar Gate, "one of the most famous monuments from antiquity", but also on an estimated 300,000 square metres which had been flattened and covered in gravel, mostly imported from elsewhere. This was done to provide helicopter landing places and parking lots for heavy vehicles that should not have been allowed there in the first place...
Graffiti Archaeology Pretty cool flash app that lets you view photos of the same walls in San Francisco over time, as the many layers of graffiti accumulate. To anyone that has ever ridden the Caltrain, a lot of these walls should look familiar.
posted by mathowie
on Dec 20, 2003 -
Save Thousands Of Years And Preserve Graffiti Now:Bijan Omrani playfully argues for the preservation of contemporary graffiti in Oxford's august Bodleian Library. Perhaps they're the modern equivalent of the Lascaux cave paintings. "Kilroy was here" notwithstanding, witty graffiti can be found on walls all around the world. Shouldn't some sort of repository be created to safeguard this undeniably pure - and unfairly overlooked - form of popular expression? I'm sorry to say I couldn't find one single good written graffiti site on the Web. Does anyone know of one - or at least have a memorable graffito to share with the rest of us?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on May 4, 2002 -