The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Twelve: Second 1/2 of September 2003





This is the twelfth archive of the reviewed articles of The Iraq War & Archaeology web site.


Francis Deblauwe, Ph.D.




The articles and other information are listed chronologically, most recent first.
Almost all are accessible for free (or after a free registration) on the internet.  Each time, I try to draw attention to the most relevant tidbits of information, esp. things that were not mentioned before; occasionally, I provide some comment.  The usual warning applies: many links become defective with time.  Inclusion in the list does not in any way mean that I necessarily agree with the opinions expressed in an article.  But for a few exceptions, the occasional photos and figures accompanying reviewed articles are just hotlinked images on other web sites, in other words: do not download them or request permission to publish them from me, for I do not own the copyright to them in any way!  Please do contact the rightful owners if you would like to use them for publication purposes. Finally, for the sake of convenience, all articles and so on are assumed to have been published on US web sites unless indicated otherwise.


  • A. Badkhen, "Iraq's Treasured Lady of Warka Returns Home. 5,200-Year-Old Mask Looted in April From Museum Turns Up in Farmer's Yard," in San Francisco Chronicle, September 24, 2003: "Hassan, a Baghdad jewelry store owner who did not give his real name, is  part of the estimated $3 billion-a-year business of illegal antiquities  worldwide. He says he has purchased antiquities -- Sumerian clay pottery and  figurines, Assyrian plates -- from looters and then sold them to smugglers,  who, in turn, took the precious artifacts out of Iraq. 'I pay looters very little, because they don't know what these things are worth,' Hassan said. 'I would pay $50 apiece, then sell them to dealers for $5,000. You can make a very good living selling these things.' Selling the Lady of Warka would have been much more complicated, Hassan said. 'Something like this is so famous we must not touch it -- it's too hot to  handle,' he said. 'Whoever wanted to sell it abroad must have been very stupid.' Under Saddam Hussein's iron rule, smuggling was a crime punishable by  hanging. Today, even the police don't know what kind of penalty a smuggler  would get, said [Col. Walid] Misil [a Baghdad police spokesman] ... Hassan said friends who were detained for smuggling after the war got away after paying a bribe of $400 to  $500 to the police. He said American soldiers were among the people who brought him antiquities that had Baghdad museum identification numbers written on them. 'They brought some Sumerian figurines and some plates. I paid them $4,000,' he said. 'I don't know where the Americans got them.' American occupation authority officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment about allegations that U.S. soldiers were involved in smuggling." [very similar to Filipov; I'm sure we'll here more about this accusation of US soldiers selling Museum artifacts for profit]

Photo 1: "Artifacts from a collection reaching back to the origins of civilization clutter the halls of Baghdad's Iraqi National Museum. Photo by Thorne Anderson, special to the Chronicle"

Photo 2: "Iraqi Minister of Culture Mufeed Muhammad Jawad Al Jazairee holds the 'Mona Lisa of Mesopotamia' or the Lady of Warka, which is again on display after being looted from the Iraqi National Museum. Associated Press photo by Samir Mezban"

Photo 3: "Ahmed Kamil. Photo by Thorne Anderson, special to the Chronicle" [museum staffer; see Filipov]






Photo: "It is also known as the 'Mona Lisa of Mesopotamia'"


Photo 1: "Col. Safa Adeen Mahdi Salih, Iraqi Police, holds the Marble sculpture Warka Mask which dates from circa 3100 B.C. on Sept 23 The Warka Mask was missing from the Iraqi Museum since the liberation of Iraq.  The Al Qanot Police station of the Iraqi Police service and the 812th Military Police Company of the 519th Military Police Battalion of the 18th Military Police brigade worked together in a joint investigation in the recovery of the Warka Mask.  U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. James M. Bowman"

Photo 2: "Dr. Jabir Khalil Ibrahim, State Board of Antiquities and Col. Safa Adeen Mahdi Salih, Iraqi Police, holds the Marble sculpture Warka Mask which dates from circa 3100 B.C. on Sept 23 The Warka Mask was missing  from the Iraqi Museum since the liberation of Iraq. The Al  Qanot Police station of the Iraqi Police service and the 812th  Military Police Company of the 519th Military Police Battalion of the 18th Military Police brigade worked together in a joint investigation in the recovery of the Warka Mask. U.S. Air  Force Photo by Master Sgt. James M. Bowman"



Photo: "The Warka Mask is also known as the Sumerian Mona Lisa"


Photo: "The Warka Mask has returned to the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad."

  • B. Williams, "Iraq's Sumerian Mona Lisa Found in Shallow Grave," in Yahoo India News, September 23, 2003: "'She's a little dirtier -- who wouldn't be after what she's been through -- but otherwise in excellent condition,' said Captain Vance Kohner, a reservist whose full time job is as a prosecutor from Queens in New York. Kohner and fellow New York policeman-turned-Iraq investigator Sergeant Emanuel Gonzalez spent months tracing the vanished lady through Baghdad's maze of streets and warrens." "... on September 9 ... a teenager walked into a local police station saying he knew someone who had information about the mask's whereabouts. 'The juvenile led us to an older man who then passed us on to a man who had the Mona Lisa buried in his backyard adjoining a farm,' Koehner told a news conference at Baghdad Museum where the mask again went on display." [actually, the Museum isn't open to the public yet]; "There have been no prosecutions in the case and authorities believe the suspects in the trail that led to the sculpture's recovery were just go-betweens for the actual robbers."

Photo: "The 5,000 year old 'Sumerian Mona Lisa' or the Lady of Warka, looted from Baghdad Museum at the height of the Iraq war last April, goes on display again at the museum September 23, 2003. The priceless antique was found buried in a Baghdad backyard on September 16 by a joint U.S.-Iraq investigation team. REUTERS/Aladin Abdel Naby"


Photo: "L'ambasciatore italiano in Iraq, Pietro Cordone" [the Italian ambassador in Iraq, Pietro Cordone]


Photo: [Mr. Cordone]


Photo: "Cordone"

  • [B. Lecumberri], "Iraq Recovers Priceless 'Mona Lisa of Mesopotamia' Looted from Museum," in Yahoo! News, online, September 17, 2003: "Mufic al-Jazaeri made his public debut with a mystery. Speaking of the 'Mona Lisa of Mesopotamia,' Jazaeri said: 'I do not have any details on where it was found, but it appears as if it never left Iraq during all this time.' ... Yet there are many more artefacts still to be recovered. Jaaber Jelil Ibrahim, Iraq's director general of antiquities, recently told AFP that around 13,000 pieces are still to be found, 32 of them of great value. Overall, 15,000 pieces were stolen from the collection of 170,000 artefacts." [actually 501,000; missing numbers seem a little dated]

Photo: "Wed Sep 17, 3:33 PM ET - Iraqi Minister of Culture Mufid al-Jazaeri displays an illustration of the newly recovered 'Mona Lisa of Mesopotamia' in Baghdad   (AFP/Thomas Coex)"

  • A. the Hobotraveler.com, "Center (5)," in HoboTraveler.com Travel Tips Newsletter And Updates on Around The World Trip, online, 124 (September 16, 2003): direct-to-internet blog of a low-budget world traveler showed many photos of 2003 Iraq
Photo: "General Admission Ticket to Babylon Museum. Ministry of Culture, State Board ot Antiquities & Heritage Al Hilla, Iraq"

  • A. the Hobotraveler.com, "Entering Babylon (3)," in HoboTraveler.com Travel Tips Newsletter And Updates on Around The World Trip, online, 124 (September 16, 2003): direct-to-internet blog of a low-budget world traveler showed many photos of 2003 Iraq

Photo 1: "Sign at admission entrance" [Babylon Museum]

Photo 2: "Animal on wall" [Babylon; Ishtar Gate with brick relief: mushushu dragon creature, symbol of Marduk, city god of Babylon]

Photo 3: [no caption; also Ishtar Gate]





  • A. the Hobotraveler.com, "Entering Babylon (2)," in HoboTraveler.com Travel Tips Newsletter And Updates on Around The World Trip, online, 124 (September 16, 2003): direct-to-internet blog of a low-budget world traveler showed many photos of 2003 Iraq

Photo 1: "I think Hungary Soldiers" [Babylon; isn't that a Polish flag on the door? notice the reconstructed theater in the background again]

Photo 2: [no caption; reconstructed theater in Babylon]





This site is edited by Belgian archaeologist Francis Deblauwe, Ph.D., living in Streamwood, Illinois (USA), who is affiliated with Archaeos, Inc., and a research associate of the University of Vienna (Austria).