In many ways, the history of Iraq is the history of all humanity. The Iraq Museum’s huge collection tells the epic story of human civilization, from the earliest settlements to the rise and fall of vast empires. These artifacts, some of them more than 10,000 years old, show the development of everything from hunting and writing implements to mathematics, art, law, religion, and industry — and ultimately — humankind’s best and worst impulses. Learn more about the museum

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6 Benefits to Using Leak Detection on Your Products

Leak detection tests are an important part of food production. When you have equipment on premises, it allows you to conduct more tests to learn about how seals and packaging will hold up at different altitudes, and more. The benefits to using leak detection are numerous.

1. You Avoid Leaks

You don’t want to find out that your food leaked. Whether it’s during transit, at the store, or at a customer’s home, leaks are a bad thing. It could make it harder to establish trust in your product in the future, too.

A simple test can tell you everything you need to know about pressurization and the packaging itself.

2. You Avoid Spoilage

Even the smallest leak can cause the food to spoil before the expiration date. People buy from you expecting a good product. If there is a leak, even if you can’t see it, the food will go bad. Spoilage often results in product returns, which affects your bottom line.

It might also make it hard for people to return to your brand when they have experienced spoiled products from you in the past.

3. You Provide a Better Product

Your goal is to provide the best possible product. By spending an extra day or two in testing, you can give people a product that is well sealed. You know it won’t give off any emissions and that there is no leak.

The expiration date stamped on the product is also more likely to be valid. Otherwise, if it expires before the date you have identified, people will be disappointed.

4. You Learn More About Packaging

As you conduct tests on premises, you will learn a lot more about packaging. Some methods of packaging might work better than others. If you have failed vacuum-sealed tests in the past, you might want to look at another way to package a product.

Boxes, bags, cans, and other packaging can be tested inside of leak detection equipment. If you have any kind of issue, you can go back to the drawing board until you find something you’re satisfied with.

5. You Reduce Waste

If you send out a case of a product that is leaking, it’s going to come back to you. This is an entire case of food that cannot be sold. It becomes waste that you have to deal with.

The more product you send out without testing, the more likely you are to encounter waste. By running a few tests, you can determine the better packaging to ensure that all food is properly packaged and can hold up against any shipping method that you use.

6. You Increase Profits

Profits will increase as you improve your packaging. This is because you are less likely to deal with waste and returns. You also provide a better product, which in turn ensures that customers are happy with what you have to offer.

Knowing about leak detection will provide your business with more information. You can create a better product and avoid problems throughout operations.


4 Reasons to Upgrade Your Leak Detection Equipment Today

The use of quality leak detection equipment in your facility is a necessity. After all, this equipment is responsible for ensuring that your product packaging is properly sealed before it ships out to the market for sale. However, many companies are currently using outdated equipment that performs rather poorly. Upgrading this equipment periodically is beneficial and even necessary at times. There are several great reasons why now may be the right time to invest in new leak detection equipment for your business.

1. Ensure the Quality of Your Products
The quality of your products is directly affected by the packaging that you use. This packaging may prevent breakage, spoiling, contamination and more. When such issues happen to your products while they are en route to the market or directly to customers, the image of your company and brand can be jeopardized. The last thing you want is to be known as a company that sells broken products or spoiled food. It can take many long years to reverse this type of public image, so it is best to avoid reaching that point altogether. Leak detection packaging can be used to confirm the integrity of the packaging before each shipment, and this can protect your brand image.

2. Take Advantage of New Innovations
You may already have related equipment in use in your facility, but it could be old and outdated. Older equipment may be more likely to fail, or it may be less effective overall at detecting leaks in your product packaging. New innovations in this type of equipment have dramatically improved the results for all types of businesses. The only way to take advantage of the many benefits associated with the new innovations in your business is to make an upgrade.

3. Reduce the Risk of a Liability Lawsuit
In some instances, the quality of your food or other products can be so poor that your company is exposed to a liability issue. For example, your company may unintentionally sell food that has become contaminated with bacteria, and your customers may fall ill after eating it. This could result in a liability lawsuit filed against your company to pay for your customers’ medical bills and other related expenses. Such expenses can be astronomical, and this can have a major impact on your business’s ability to operate successfully. When you use leak detection equipment to confirm the quality of the packaging that you are using, you are making a solid effort to reduce your exposure to liability issues.

4. Improve Your Bottom Line
Everything from returned products and negative reviews about your business online to liability issues and more can be the result of poor packaging. Packaging issues can have a direct effect on your bottom line, and this can erode away profits and prevent you from having funds required to grow over time. If you are focused on improving your bottom line, you cannot take chances by using low-quality or outdated leak detection equipment. Upgrading now will help you to bolster profitability in the months and years to come.

It may be easy to view this type of equipment as rather unimportant, but you can see that the quality of the leak detection equipment in use in your facility can play a very real role in the overall success of your business. You and your team work hard to create quality products, and you need to use the right equipment to ensure that your packaging will protect those products properly until they are ready to be consumed. Now is a great time to learn more about the different features available in modern equipment.


Looted Treasures Return to Iraq

Iraq announced the return of hundreds of antiquities that had ended up in the United States, although 632 pieces repatriated last year were now unaccounted for.


Iraq’s Ancient Past: Rediscovering Ur’s Royal Cemetery

PHILADELPHIA — A new, long-term exhibition, “Iraq’s Ancient Past: Rediscovering Ur’s Royal Cemetery,” opens Sunday, Oct. 25, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

The exhibit will bring details of the famous expedition conducted by Penn Museum and the British Museum to life through field notes, photographs and archival documents and more than 220 ancient artifacts unearthed at the excavation. “Iraq’s Ancient Past” looks to the present and future as well, exploring the ongoing story of scientific inquiry and discovery made possible by those excavations as well as the pressing issues around the preservation of Iraq’s cultural heritage today.

In 1922, the same year that Howard Carter made headlines with the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt, Penn Museum and the British Museum embarked upon a joint expedition to the ancient site of Ur in southern Iraq. Led by British archaeologist Leonard Woolley, this expedition astonished the world by uncovering a 4,500-year-old royal cemetery with more than 2,000 burials that detailed a remarkable ancient Mesopotamian civilization at the height of its glory.

Centerpiece of the exhibition is the collection of famous ancient artifacts uncovered and, in some cases, painstakingly conserved, including five objects that art critic and former Metropolitan Museum of Art Director Thomas Hoving called, “the finest, most resplendent and magical works of art in all of America”: the Ram-Caught-in-the-Thicket, the Great Lyre with a gold and lapis lazuli bull’s head, Queen Puabi’s jewelry, an electrum drinking tumbler and a gold ostrich egg as well as the queen’s headdress and other treasures large and small.

“Iraq’s Ancient Past” recounts the formation of the joint expedition to Ur, the setting up the “expedition house” for the excavation team and the many excavation challenges that Woolley’s team faced.

Known today as “Tell al Muquayyar,” or “mound of pitch (tar),” the site of Ur, near present-day Nasiriyah, was thought to be “Ur of the Chaldees,” the birthplace of the biblical patriarch Abraham. During his excavations, Woolley hoped to uncover Abraham’s home and other biblical evidence. In 1929, he interpreted a deep layer of river clay he uncovered to be the remains of a “great flood” from the biblical story of Noah. Like so much discovered at Ur, his sensational story made international headlines.

His major discovery, however, was the site of Ur’s royal cemetery. With a crew of hundreds, he began this massive excavation in 1926, eventually uncovering nearly 2,000 burials. Sixteen of these he named “royal tombs” based on their style of construction, evidence of royal attendants who were interred at the same time and the sheer wealth of the graves’ contents. The three most celebrated tombs were the looted tomb of a king, the remarkably preserved tomb of Queen Puabi and what he dubbed “the Great Death Pit” since it contained 74 carefully laid out and richly adorned bodies, all but six female.

The famous excavations attracted the attention and involvement of a number of personalities whom the exhibition also highlights. For example, T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was instrumental in securing the excavation and Woolley’s participation, while Agatha Christie, who eventually married Woolley’s assistant Max Mallowan, wrote “Murder in Mesopotamia” to mark her experience on site.

Since the excavations came to a close in 1934, scholars have continued to study Penn Museum’s Ur collection, incorporating new evidence from other ancient sites and using improved conservation practices and new scientific techniques to further investigate the material. For example, because almost nothing excavated from the royal tombs could have been created from locally available materials, the exhibition details how scholars are rebuilding the story of 4,500-year-old trade networks across the Near and Middle East.

The exhibition concludes with a look at the situation in Iraq today, where looting in the Iraq National Museum and at archaeological sites throughout the country has destroyed much evidence about the past. To date, the Ur excavation site has been largely preserved, having been contained within the boundaries of Tallil Air Base and under the control of allied forces until May 2009 when the site was officially returned to Iraq’s State Board of Antiquities.

“Iraq’s Ancient Past” is co-curated by Penn Museum’s Richard L. Zettler, associate curator-in-charge of the Near East Section, and Holly Pittman, curator in the Near East Section. They are contributors to “Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur” (Penn Museum, 1998), a catalogue from an earlier exhibition that featured material from this site.

Additional information is available at www.penn.museum or by calling 215-898-4000.


Geospatial: Mapping Iraqs Ancient Cities

While many Soldiers head home in the late hours of the second shift, Sgt. Ronald Peters sits at his desk scanning over imagery, maps and the Internet, sometimes as late as 5 a.m., looking for answers.

Peters, a geospatial analyst from Fort Lewis, Wash., with Multi-National Corps-Iraq C-7, is undertaking the largest mapping projects of his career. His work is helping to resolve a concern shared by both the U.S. military and the Iraqi government as troops have pulled out of cities and continue the drawdown.

“We try not to say we’re mapmakers, it’s more like being able to geographically depict a possible solution,” Peters said.

Peters said while most everything has been mapped, geospatial analysts extract certain features from one map and combine it with features from another map to make a new one. For example, a map showing structures and roads could be combined with a map showing different types of soil to plan an irrigation system for farmers.

“What we can do is take the data that creates all the available maps and pinpoint what a customer specifically wants to create a new map that fits their needs,” he said.

What was needed in this case was something that had never been done before, a complete mapping of all available information on archeological sites in Iraq.

“Back in June, one of the engineers working on future operations wanted to see all the archeological sites in Iraq,” Peters recalled. “Everybody knows this is the cradle of civilization.

There’s Babylon, Ur, some pretty famous archeological sites in Iraq.”

As bases were closed and troops withdrew from cities, the existing bases need to expand, without infringing on historical sites.

“We need the Iraqi government’s permission to expand a camp to house relocated troops,” Peters explained. “The government, for a number of reasons, might say no. One of those reasons might be the presence of archeological sites in the area.”

Peters volunteered for the job and began the difficult process of creating a list of archeological sites.

“I started asking around for input from different people,” he recalled. “The more I got into it the more I realized there’s a lot more than just Babylon and Ur.”

The process was pretty straight forward. Chief Warrant Officer Jason Davis and Peters scanned imagery to identify a mound that stands out from the rest of the terrain that could be an old city buried in the sand. Peters then examined the appropriate imagery to identify the geographical coordinates, searching online resources for references to ancient historical places in the area.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I love doing it; being a social science major, history and geography are two areas that have been two of my academic passions.”

Rogers used a digital copy of a 1961 map of Iraq created by the Iraq director of Antiquities and, through a process called rubber sheeting, assigned geographic coordinates to the map. There were 270 different rock monuments, cultural and historical sites.

Even though the map was a good starting point, Peters questioned the accuracy of the locations. The 1961 map had Ctesiphon, a large site buried in history, located about 50 miles away from the location on Peters’ imagery.

“The mapping software we have is a lot more accurate than what they used 48 years ago,” he said. “So I can definitely compare two known spots, see its 50 miles off on the old map and adjust. But there are places out there from the older map that I have no idea where it’s at. There’s nothing anywhere near it on our maps.”

Peters confirmed the validity of about 100 sites using the Internet, but there were still more than 150 that left him puzzled.

When the project first started he spent half his day researching. At 250 sites, he cut back the hours, but continued working on tracking down sites on his own time from his trailer.

Then he came across an Arizona State University project claiming there were approximately 12,000 sites to be mapped and presented to the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage of Iraq. After a series of phone calls and emails, Rogers linked up with Diane Siebrandt, an archeologist and cultural heritage officer at the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad.

Siebrandt shared with him information from the State University of New York.

“They had a project of about 700 sites,” he said. “I compared that to the 300 sites I had and most of them were confirmed by the SUNY list and other research.”

After months of work, Peters has established a map of more than 800 sites throughout Iraq.

“It would be nice to get all 12,000 but there’s no possible way for us to do it, so right now what we’re mainly concerned about is anything within where we are going to be operating, doing the best that we can not to infringe on any sites,” he said.

Peter’s ongoing effort to preserve Iraq’s archeological sites now is a part of the military’s diligence in caring for the ancient sites and history of the Iraqi people as U.S. forces withdraw from the country.