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H-Museum - The Iraq : The cradle of civilization at risk

H-MUSEUM's Current Focus

Iraq - The cradle of civilization at risk

Cultural heritage and historical monuments

Iraq News Digest, Part 1
1991 - 2002

2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1991

Home | Part 2

H-Museum and the editor assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information in the news papers articles and of the function of the hyperlinks.
Last update: March 25, 2003

Preserving Iraq's Past
As the United States moves closer to possible military intervention in Iraq, we have heard much from our government about the need to remove, by force if necessary, the threat of weapons of mass destruction. We recognize that the U.S. government intends to minimize collateral damage to Iraq's innocent civilian population, should this course be unavoidable
By Ashton Hawkins and Maxwell L. Anderson on November 29, 2002
(The Washington Post)

Modern warfare blights Iraq's ancient past
Renewed conflict could boost looting of Mesopotamia, archeologists fear
By Ted Smalley Bowen on November 27, 2002
(The Globe and Mail)

As the threat of war grows, archaeologists make plea to spare Iraq's treasures
The names evoke ancient kingdoms past, the empires of Babylon and Assyria from the times of Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great.
Most of the palaces and temples and mosques of those ancient civilisations crumbled many centuries ago. But something between 10,000 and 100,000 archaeological sites hold the enduring remains
By Louise Jury Media on November 7, 2002
(The Independent)

Treasure Under Saddam's Feet
As the waters of the Tigris rise and the world awaits war, archaeologists fear for priceless ancient marvels of the first great empire
By Andrew Lawler
(Discover Vol. 23 No. 10 (October 2002))

Treasures of Babylon are moved as bombers strike
They are packing away the fabulous treasures of Assyria, Sumeria and Babylon at the archaeological sites and the museum at Mosul in preparation for the war to come, a lesson learnt from the damage inflicted in raids by American and British bombers in the Gulf War, and the looting which followed in its immediate anarchic aftermath
By Kim Sengupta on September 30, 2002
(The Independent)

Sumerian Dictionary to Decipher Ancient Texts
The people known as Sumerians are credited with starting the first civilization and building the first settlements worthy of being called cities. They also invented writing, and then they wrote and wrote and wrote, filling millions of tablets with their intricate, detailed characters
By Faye Flam (Philadelphia Inquirer) on July 24, 2002
(National Geographic)

British Museum welcomes Iraq library project
The British Museum in London has agreed to help the Government of Iraq with a major cultural project
By Lawrence Pollard on May 10, 2002
(BBC News)

Cultural exchange that transcends battle lines as Britain and Iraq recreate world's oldest library
The inscription carved some 2,600 years ago inside the world's first library was unequivocal: "May all the gods curse anyone who breaks, defaces, or removes this tablet with a curse that cannot be relieved, terrible and merciless as long as he lives, may they let his name, his seed be carried off from the land, and may they put his flesh in a dog's mouth."
By Steve Boggan on May 9, 2002
(The Independent)

Iraq appeals to Berlin for return of Babylon gate
Iraq urges Germany today to return chunks of Babylon shipped to Berlin at the beginning of the last century in a heritage seizure which makes Britain's removal of the Parthenon Marbles look tame
By Ewen MacAskill on May 4, 2002
(The Guardian)

Iraq's rich archaeological heritage
The land that is now modern Iraq was once home to some of the world' s greatest civilizations. Among them, the Assyrians, Sumerians and Babylonians. Their legacy is marked by rich archaeological sites, dotted around the country. But until recently many of those sites were abandoned and some had been plundered by thieves
By Liane Hansen on March 25, 2002
(Weekend Edition - Sunday (NPR))

Bringing a Long-Lost Library Back to Life
A stone's throw from the ancient city of Nineveh, Iraq intends to erect a center for cuneiform research. Scholars argue that the new center, dubbed the Saddam Institute after Iraq's president, could leave a lasting legacy if it were to encourage preservation and cataloging of the thousands of tablets languishing in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, as well as prepare for an onslaught of new ones
By Andrew Lawler on March 5, 2002
(Science Magazine)

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Agatha Christie's novel ideas on show
Detective novelist Agatha Christie has become the focus of an archaeological exhibition, which aims to give an insight into the inspiration for some of her best-selling novels. The exhibition called Agatha Christie, an Archaeology Mystery in Mesopotamia, shows how the writer became interested in archaeology on a visit to Ur in 1928
On November 8, 2001
(BBC News)

Invisible Crisis: Destruction in Mesopotamia
The past decade has been the worst of times for Iraqi and foreign researchers specializing in Mesopotamia. War, poverty, looting, and isolation have taken their toll on Iraq's once-proud archaeological heritage. But Iraqi researchers and their foreign colleagues are now moving to protect ancient sites and begin a new generation of digs. This special focus section, based on a recent extensive tour of Iraq, looks at damage to museums and ancient sites and at the attempts to rebuild the shattered country'
By Andrew Lawler on June 7, 2001
(Science Magazine)

Iraq honours the word
Iraq is hosting an international conference to mark the 5,000th anniversary of the invention of the written word. Organisers say the ancient city of Uruk, now in southern Iraq, was the birthplace of writing in the third millennium BC
By Ed Butler on March 20, 2001
(BBC News)

Robbing the archaeological cradle
In the aftermath of the Gulf War, Iraq's ancient heritage has landed on the endangered list
By John Malcolm Russell in February 2001
(Natural History Magazine)

Iraq looks to its rich history
Most of the buildings in old Baghdad date back to the Ottoman period around 150 years ago, their finely crafted exteriors a stark contrast to the soulless Soviet-style apartment blocks that started taking over in the 1970s and 80s. Restoration work had slowed almost to a stop because of wars and UN sanctions, but it has started to recover recently. Baghdad has also revived efforts to preserve and protect its ancient heritage, which is a much bigger job
By Barbara Plett on January 5, 2001
(BBC News)

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Iraq reopens national museum
Closed since Gulf War
By Jane Arraf on May 11, 2000
(CNN News)

Iraq Museum Reopens After 10 Years
The Iraq Museum reopened its doors after 10 years with a display of 10,000 artifacts taking visitors to the roots of the Mesopotamian civilization that invented one of the world's earliest writing forms nearly 5,000 years ago. The relics ranged from simple farming tools used around 6,000 B.C. to colossal winged-bull statues the Assyrians installed at their city gates to instill fear in enemies
By Leon Barkho on April 30, 2000
(Associated Press Online)

Iraq discovers pre-Islamic castle
Iraqi archaeologists have discovered a 1,400-year-old palace dating back to the pre-Islamic era in southern Iraq
On March 3, 2000
(BBC News)

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Archaeologists want anti-looting organisation
Archaeologists from around the world are meeting in Cambridge University to discuss the setting up of an international body to prevent the looting of historic sites. The Illicit Antiquities Research Centre, based at the university's McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, says that the volume of illegally excavated and exported artefacts has "increased enormously" in the past 20 years
On October 25, 1999
(BBC News)

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The priceless cost of bombing Iraq
Samira sits in front of the ruined door of the 900-year- old Abbasid Palace, a lone black figure in a desolate landscape.
Aftershocks from American and British bombs aimed at the neighbouring defence ministry earlier this month shattered the carved door, blew out windows and sent bits of brick and ancient molding flying
By Olivia Ward on December 31, 1998
(The Toronto Star)

Ancient Iraqi Artifacts on Display in Orange County
Iraqi Exhibit Breaks Bowers Museum Attendance Records
A rare collection of ancient artifacts from what is modern day Iraq has drawn record crowds to the Bowers Museum since its Oct. 3 opening. Recent attendance for Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur has shattered all previous records at The Bowers
On December 16, 1998
(Business Wire)

Synthetic rock, made 4,000 years ago
Archaeologists have discovered evidence that the people who lived in Mesopotamia 4,000 years ago were able to make synthetic rock
By Pauline Newman on June 26, 1998
(BBC News)

Iraq acts to protect ancient treasures
Iraq's President, Saddam Hussein, has ordered new steps to be taken to protect Iraq's archaeological heritage which has become the target of large-scale theft and smuggling
On June 22, 1998
(BBC News)

Baghdad treasure trove reopens to public
Iraq's treasure-laden national museum has reopened to the public for the first time since the Gulf War. The move coincides with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's 63rd birthday celebrations
On April 29, 1998
(BBC News)

Iraq museum shrouds its treasures
Dusty showcases that once glowed with treasures from ancient Mesopotamian cultures now lie empty in the locked rooms of the Iraqi Museum. Iraqi authorities removed the finest jewelry, statues, pottery and other prized artifacts and stored them in secret caches during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf crisis. "Even I don't know where they are," said assistant director Donny Youkhanna as a wizened attendant with 50 years of service at the museum selected a key and opened a metal-framed door that screeched over the tiles in protest
By Alistair Lyon on March 12, 1998

Iraq's artefacts under threat
Though the immediate threat of military attack on Iraq seems to be over, the sanctions continue to bite. And it is the country's heritage that is suffering, as the BBC's Rageh Omaar reports
By Rageh Omaar on March 2, 1998
(BBC News)

When Iraq was the powerhouse of civilisation
Rummaging through sheds and scrapyards, one often comes across some bizarre-looking gadget whose original purpose defies explanation. To this day, neither I nor any fellow ex-members of the Bemrose Grammar School stage crew have been able to identify a very heavy cylindrical object one of us found 20 years ago.
It is about six inches tall and has a solid steel bar running though it. Removing its cover reveals a clockwork mechanism, some tiny mirrors, wires and a gauge
By Robert Matthews on February 12, 1998
(The Sunday Telegraph)

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Iraq battles archeological theft
Excavations in the ruins of the ancient Assyrian capital, Dur Shurrukin, in 1993 led to the discovery in Iraq of a colossal statue of a winged bull with the head of a bearded man. Unable to transport and preserve the nearly 4,000 year-old monster, Iraqi archeologists reburied it by building a mudbrick wall around it and covering it with earth and straw. The bull was excavated again this year -- this time not by experts, but by a new kind of Iraqi robber
By Leon Barkho on February 27, 1997

Iraq puts on dazzling archeological display
Iraq's Antiquities Department Saturday showed a dazzling display of artefacts found by archeologists over the past six years. The finds, from across the country, ranged from the lower paleothic periods of about 500,000 years ago to Abbasid times of a little more than 1,000 years from now. Hand-made implements of stone and obsidian representing scrapers with deeply notched edges came from terraces along the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in northern Iraq, according to Dr Muayad Demeriji, the department's head
By Leon Barkho on February 1, 1997

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Stolen Stones: the modern sack of Nineveh
By John Malcolm Russel on December 30, 1996

Iraq's heritage for sale
Strained by embargo, Iraqis are cashing in on antiquities' wealth. The six-year-old U.N. sanctions may deplete 7,000 of years of history as Iraqis raid archaeological sites
Browsing the antiques markets of London a few years ago, McGuire Gibson, an expert on Mesopotamian art and archaeology, found some of his worst fears confirmed. In the stalls of Portobello Road and the shops of Bond Street, dealers offered him antiquities probably smuggled from Iraq, a modern nation in distress that sits astride the remains of several ancient civilizations. Cylinder seals, which were once used on tablets of wet clay in something like an ancient version of notarization, were for sale by the bagful
By Barbara Crossette on June 24, 1996
(Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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Months before the bombs began to fall on Baghdad
Months before the bombs began to fall on Baghdad, archaeologists were warning that a war in the region would not only shatter lives, political alliances and modern Iraq but could also devastate the silent, dusty world of its ancestors. For Iraq, the Mesopotamia of old, is a treasure trove of cultural remains that date to the dawn of civilization. Even precision bombing could do harm, since ruins are virtually everywhere, at perhaps 500,000 locations, many of them yet unexcavated
By Andrea Dorfman and Lawrence Mondi on February 25, 1991
(Time Magazine International)

Collateral damage
The United States deployed a variety of "smart" weapons in the Baghdad air war, and many hit their targets with astonishing accuracy. Others missed and damaged civilian and non-military targets. This is a list of Baghdad area collateral damage reports
On January 17, 1991 - February 19, 1991
(Washington Post)

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Author: Dr. Stephanie Marra
Title: Iraq News Digest, part 1 (H-Museum's Current Focus)
URL: http://www.h-net.org/~museum/iraq_one.html
E-Mail: h-museum@h-net.msu.edu
First edited: March 21, 2003
Last update: March 23, 2003


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