Heritage in Iraq: Good news and bad news.

Posted on December 19, 2008


The Art Newspaper has published an article, “Unesco inspection finds no evidence of recent looting in Northern Iraq.”  Do you want the good news or the bad news first?  I always go with the good news.

Good news:

“The [UNESCO inspectors] visited four key sites—Nimrud, Ninevah, Ashur and Hatra—and found no evidence of recent looting… The Unesco team documented “only minor wilful destruction, looting or criminal activity at the sites” since 2003.”

Bad news:

“Nevertheless, the Unesco mission in November did report that there was considerable evidence of looting in the 1980s and 90s, under Saddam Hussein. Early damage had been particularly bad at Ninevah, where the Sennacherib Palace reliefs were ‘almost entirely removed’. Hatra and Nimrud showed ‘less extensive evidence of [pre-2003] theft and destruction but more severe signs of damage caused by water infiltration, erosion and neglect’… Overall, the team reported that ‘many of the exposed antiquities are deteriorating due to a lack of conservation maintenance and site stewardship.'”


“No international experts in Iraqi archaeology were on the mission, as they had been last June for the southern sites.”

For the whole scoop, read Unesco inspection finds no evidence of recent looting in Northern Iraq.

Perhaps of interest, my earlier post, “Still Just Knicknacks”: Chicago in the heat over objects without context.

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