Tag Archives: Antiquities

Fears grow for safety of Iraq’s cultural heritage under ISIS

This Assyrian winged bull is safe in Chicago, if far from home. How much else is safe? Trjames, CC BY-SA

This Assyrian winged bull is safe in Chicago, if far from home. How much else is safe? Trjames, CC BY-SA Eleanor Robson, UCL Iraq has a long and rich heritage, home for thousands of years to mighty empires – Assyria and Babylon, the Abbasid caliphate – that ruled the region once known as Mesopotamia, widely held as the cradle of …

Read More »

Islamic State may finally efface the traces of lost empires at Palmyra

After witnessing the rise and fall of many empires, the ancient site of Palmyra is under threat from Islamic State. Phillip George

After witnessing the rise and fall of many empires, the ancient site of Palmyra is under threat from Islamic State. Phillip George Phillip George, UNSW “Surpassing disaster” is a term the Lebanese artist, writer and film theorist Jalal Toufic coined as Lebanon emerged from years of catastrophic civil war in the early 1990s. When I asked him for the meaning …

Read More »

We’re just beginning to grasp the toll of the Islamic State’s archaeological looting in Syria

A Syrian archeologist holds an artifact that was transported to Damascus for safe-keeping during the Syrian Civil War. AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

A Syrian archeologist holds an artifact that was transported to Damascus for safe-keeping during the Syrian Civil War. AP Photo/Hassan Ammar Fiona Greenland, University of Virginia; James Marrone, Johns Hopkins University; Oya Topçuoğlu, Northwestern University, and Tasha Vorderstrasse, University of Chicago The Islamic State surrendered its last scrap of territory, in Baghouz, Syria, this past March. While some argue that …

Read More »

After Palmyra, what can the world do to protect cultural treasures?

Palmyra’s Temple of Bel, pre-Islamic State. Reuters/Gustau Nacarino

Agnieszka Jachec-Neale, Brunel University London There has been much public condemnation of the destruction of the Temple of Bel at Palmyra by Islamic State (IS), as well as the wider devastation being inflicted on the cultural heritage of Syria and Iraq by both IS and its opponents in Syria’s civil war. Both Syria and Iraq are party to all relevant …

Read More »

Illegal trade in antiquities: a scourge that has gone on for millennia too long

h. Evangelos Kyriakidis, University of Kent Looting of artefacts has always been a sign of military might or economic power. Over millennia, conquering generals would take away with them trophies to adorn their cities. In more recent centuries, the wealthy upper classes would make “grand tours” of classical sites and acquire – through whatever means – anything from vases to …

Read More »

Looting of antiquities has increased under lockdown – here’s how we’re working to prevent this in Iraq

Training museum staff in Iraq in how to mark priceless heritage artefacts using SmartWater. Ali Al-Makhzoomi, Author provided

Training museum staff in Iraq in how to mark priceless heritage artefacts using SmartWater. Ali Al-Makhzoomi, Author provided Roger Matthews, University of Reading In addition to causing mayhem and misery for most, the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has expanded the opportunities for illicit looting, theft and dealing in one of the world’s most important resources – its cultural heritage. Social instability …

Read More »