On Oct. 11, provided the government shutdown doesn’t interfere, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C., will open an exhibit titled “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage.” On display will be some of the rarest of the materials that were salvaged from the flooded basement of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence service. All told, the collection contains an estimated 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents that once belonged to the Jews of Baghdad, who, until they began to flee for Israel in the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, constituted one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, dating back more than 2,500 years.
- In the chaos of the 2003 war, remnants of a once-thriving Jewish past were saved (or stolen?) by America. Where do they belong? [more inside]
posted by beisny
on Oct 7, 2013 -
The BBC reports
that 6000-year old clothing, bows and arrows have been found under melting snow in Norway. Earlier reports
with different photos. Meanwhile, Archaeology
has a longer article
about "the race to to find, and save, ancient artifacts emerging from glaciers and ice patches in a warming world". And glacial archaeology is becoming so much of a thing that it's getting its own scholarly journal
posted by Athanassiel
on Aug 29, 2013 -
Did you know that there's an art museum on the moon? A tiny, tiny one. The Moon Museum
features works by Forrest "Frosty" Myers
(the instigator), Robert Rauschenberg
, Claes Oldenburg
, Andy Warhol
, David Novros
, and John Chamberlain
, inscribed on a little chip of silicon and surreptitiously transported
to the moon's surface on the Apollo 12 mission. But of course there's a mystery, in this big of a secret: who is John F.
, the engineer at least partially responsible for smuggling the chip onboard the lunar lander?
Related: other stuff people have left on the Moon
posted by fiercecupcake
on Nov 22, 2010 -
Objects Through Time
tells the story of immigration and the changing ethnic diversity of New South Wales, Australia through "movable heritage
" - that is, artifacts and objects with historical resonance. While almost ignoring 50,000 years of aboriginal occupation, the site does a nice job of both familiar topics through a fresh lens (e.g., Captain Cook's "secret instructions
"), but also takes pains to look at those lesser known topics which may be more accessible through material culture than through texts. [more inside]
posted by Rumple
on Sep 14, 2010 -
The images on the ceramics
were thought to be mythical narratives
the priestly class
used to underscore
its coercive power. Without proper archaeological evidence, the representations were too horrific to take literally. They depicted gruesome scenes
: captives skinned alive, drained of blood (which was drunk by priests in front of them), throats slit, bodies decapitated and left to the vultures, bones meticulously defleshed and hung from ropes.
Unfortunately for the victims, these bloody rites actually happened
. They took place in an otherwise vibrant and highly advanced culture, a culture renowned for its artists
and builders. These were a people who developed advanced agricultural knowledge, extremely sophisticated metallurgy
, and built the largest pre-Columbian adobe structure in the Americas
. Because they had no written language, though, it is by their ceramics that we
know them best.
posted by crumbly
on Jan 25, 2006 -
Iraq is full of fabled ancient ruins
, many in bad shape
, but which still fire the imagination. Some highlights: Ur
, birthplace of Abraham
, still contained many beautiful artifacts
when it was last excavated in the 1920s. Then there is vanished Cunaxa
, near Baghdad's airport, where the Ten Thousand, a group of Greek mercenaries, fought their way back to Greece in a 1,000 mile, two-year-long retreat described by Xenophon
in the Anabasis
(and which served as the inspiration for cult films/games
and bad science fiction
alike). The ruins of the city of Nineveh
were discovered in the 19th century just across the river from Mosul, containing art
confirming elements of the Biblical account of the conquests of King Sennacherib. Most famously, the ruins of Babylon (not much to look at
, the best bit
being in Berlin) have seen much abuse, from Saddam's awful rebuilding of the palace of Nebuchadnezzar
to reports of recent damage by coalition troops
posted by blahblahblah
on Jan 11, 2006 -
latest exhibit includes catastrophic leaks that are damaging priceless treasures
. Many items have been destroyed beyond repair and the problem seems to be getting worse. Will certain history be wiped out for good because officials lacked foresight?
posted by Guerilla
on Aug 25, 2005 -
'...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 -
The Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal
"...to provide a searchable registry of objects in U.S. museum collections that were created before 1946, and changed hands in Continental Europe during the Nazi era (1933-1945)." Families who had art confiscated by the Nazis can search US collections for it here.
posted by liam
on Sep 8, 2003 -
A dissappearing history.
The National Museum of Iraq
recorded a history of civilizations that began to flourish in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia more than 7,000 years ago. But once American troops entered Baghdad in sufficient force to topple Saddam Hussein's government this week, it took only 48 hours for the museum to be destroyed, with at least 170,000 artifacts carried away by looters.
posted by the fire you left me
on Apr 12, 2003 -
Cuneiform artifacts for cheap! "Iraq's economic collapse means the oldest writing in the world can be bought for a song on eBay -- and has scholars racing to digitize Sumerian artifacts before they become paperweights."
I've always wanted an original Epic of Gilgamesh cuneiform tablet to decorate the mantel with.
posted by homunculus
on May 12, 2002 -
In search of the real Cleopatra:
an exhaustive collection of artifacts exploring the history and the myth of the Queen of the Nile is currently on display at the British Museum. It will run through August 26. (The exhibition will travel state side and be at the Field Museum in Chicago from October 20 through March 3, 2002.)
posted by tamim
on Apr 13, 2001 -