KTLA: Assignement Iraq: Restoring Looted Artifacts from the National Museum of Iraq
Recent construction of a dam on the Tigris River is causing large sections of city of Ashur to be swept away, while other precious artifacts are being looted from one of three World Heritage sites in Iraq. The United States Embassy, with the assistance of the American military, and officials from Iraq's Board of Antiquities organized the first international assessment of the site since 2003.
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.
The Al-Hadba' minaret's tilt has long been a source of concern. Despite efforts in the 1970s to stabilize the structures, cracks have proliferated along the minaret's base. Meanwhile, some have built houses immediately adjacent to the minaret, and stand to lose their homes--if not their lives--were it ever to topple.
The recent interest in heritage tourism in Iraq and other Gulf states has added vigour to the campaign to return stolen pieces. Unfortunately, archaeologists say, it has also whetted the appetite of private collectors in the region, and could provoke a resurgence in the illicit trade.
Fears of the continued plunder of ancient antiquities in war-torn Iraq may be laid to rest, according to a new survey of eight of the most important archaeological sites in the south of the country.
A mysterious stone head from ancient Mesopotamia dating back more than 4,000 years has been matched up with a replica body in Iraq after years of delays brought on by sanctions and war. The head from the Akkadian Empire, unearthed by Iraqi archaeologists in 1982, has been united with a replica of a headless torso discovered over a century ago, Baghdad Museum curator Mohsen Hassan Ali said.
On September 25, 2008, the United States Senate voted to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. This international convention regulates the conduct of nations during war and military occupation in order to assure the protection of cultural sites, monuments, and repositories, including museums, libraries, and archives.
Iraqi diplomats in Germany have stopped the sale of 28 Mesopotamian artifacts believed to have been smuggled from the country in the years since the 2003-U.S. invasion. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has asked the Iraqi embassy in Germany to appoint a lawyer and launch a lawsuit to have the artifacts returned to Iraq.