The Devastation of Iraq's Past
July 23, 2008 1:10 PM   Subscribe

The Devastation of Iraq's Past. "Since the looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad in April 2003, the international press has accorded considerable space to the country's imperiled ancient heritage. Much of this coverage, however, has been devoted to the museum, the impressive campaign to recover its stolen works, and the continued struggle to reopen its galleries. Only occasional, anecdotal reports—mostly from the first year of the conflict—have borne witness to large-scale plunder of archaeological sites, to which the damage is irreversible."
posted by homunculus (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Previous posts.
posted by homunculus at 1:23 PM on July 23, 2008


I know, WSJ link, but still.
posted by zabuni at 1:31 PM on July 23, 2008

"What is currently taking place in southern Iraq," Gil Stein, the director of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, writes in the catalog to "Catastrophe!," the institute's disturbing new exhibition on the subject, "is nothing less than the eradication of the material record of the world's first urban, literate civilization."

And in Philadelphia, they're stealing manhole covers.
posted by three blind mice at 1:48 PM on July 23, 2008

fwiw, afghanistan's 'hidden treasures' are on display at the NGA...
posted by kliuless at 2:06 PM on July 23, 2008


I know, WSJ link, but still.

Perhaps a link to the original source for the WSJ article will help, since it is shorter than the WSJ article sensationalizing it, and it clarifies that it is only talking about archeological sites, not the looting of museums, etc.

I find the WSJ's attempts to minimize the impact of the war on this aspect of Iraqi culture irritating. If the 9/11 attacks had destroyed only 10% of the priceless artifacts in the American Museum of Natural History, I doubt WSJ would be crowing about how little damage was done compared to destroying 100% of the artifacts. Their wingnut Republican stripes really show here.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:23 PM on July 23, 2008 [5 favorites]

I guess in a military occupation, it would be very hard to completely spare archeological sites and artifacts from damage, and not wanting to start a flameout here about the American presence in Iraq, I must say that it is really, really fucked up that in this case, treasures like the Ishtar Gate have been affected and rendered all but impossible to visit.
posted by Anderson_Localized at 3:55 PM on July 23, 2008

I seem to recall reading about a bunch of archaeologists who pleaded with the Pentagon prior to the war about what sites to spare. Fat lot of good that did.

didn't read the articles in the OP. WAY too depressing...
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:20 PM on July 23, 2008

This is depressing.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:54 PM on July 23, 2008

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