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3 posts tagged with archaeology by y2karl.
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The Smash of Civilizations

'...Today, such famous sites as the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, the ziggurat at Ur, the temple precinct at Babylon, and a ninth-century spiral minaret at Samarra have been scarred by violence, while equally important ancient sites, particularly in the southern provinces, are being ravaged by looters who work day and night to fuel an international art market hungry for antiquities. Historic districts in urban areas have also suffered from vandalism, looting, and artillery fire. In response to such widespread damage and continuing threats to our collective cultural heritage and the significance of the sites at risk, World Monument Fund has taken the unprecedented step of including the entire country of Iraq on its 2006 list of 100 Most Endangered Sites.'
The 2003- Iraq War & Archaeology
The Smash of Civilizations
posted by y2karl on Jul 8, 2005 - 11 comments

Alas Babylon

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...

Cultural vandalism. Months of war that ruined centuries of history. American graffiti.
posted by y2karl on Jan 15, 2005 - 62 comments

Gertrude of Iraq

Have I ever told you what the river is like on a hot summer night? At dusk the mist hangs in long white bands over the water; the twilight fades and the lights of the town shine out on either bank, with the river, dark and smooth and full of mysterious reflections, like a road of triumph through the midst. - Gertrude Bell writing of the Euphrates near Baghdad.

Gertrude Bell - daughter of the desert, Uncrowned Queen of Iraq, Advisor to kings and Ally of Lawrence of Arabia. Gertrude Bell was a traveller and mountaineer, recruited by British Intelligence to work in the Middle East during the First World War and, who later worked for the British Government in Baghdad. Bell's influence on Middle Eastern politics made her the most powerful woman in the British Empire in the years after World War I. She was a archeologist, writer, translated the poetry of Hafiz and a photographer as well. 1909: Letters from Gertrude Bell, dated May 14 and May 20. She died early in the morning of July 12th, 1926, 58 years old, from an overdose of sleeping pills--whether accidental or not is not known. She is buried in Baghdad, where her grave is still visited and her memory revered. Cherchez La Femme
posted by y2karl on Mar 23, 2003 - 12 comments

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