The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Two: Second 1/2 of April 2003





This is the second 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.

  • B. Simon, "Robbing The Cradle," in 60 Minutes II (CBS), April 30, 2003: "Just yesterday, George asked the United Nations to declare a temporary moratorium on the trade of all Iraqi antiquities.  But archaeologists say this is a classic case of locking the barn door after the horses have been stolen.  The sale of plundered antiquities has always been illegal, but it has also been a bustling trade." "[Prof. John Russell:] ... after the first Gulf [W]ar.  The only Iraqi commodities that Westerners wanted were oil and antiques. The Iraqi government had the oil. Iraqi people had the shovels." "'I think archaeologists basically have been perpetuating this huge lie, literally,' says Torkom Demirjian, who owns an antiquities gallery on New York’s Madison Avenue – a place where old money looks for old objects. Like many traders, he insists there’s no network of looters and smugglers, no flood of stolen antiquities." "The sales history of an item is called its provenance." "Russell showed us ... [on] eBay.  Of the  hundreds of items listed, he zeroed in on one – a clay tablet. The description?  'Believed to be the world’s oldest surviving written receipt for delivery of beer by a brewer.' ... 'It’s upside down. It’s been over-cleaned. Which to me is a hint of looting, although certainly not conclusive. There’s no ownership history given.'"


Photo 1: "The National Museum in Baghdad housed key artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia, which was among the earliest civilizations.  (Photo: CBS)"

Photo 2: "Richard Zettler, a curator in the Near East collection at The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, sits near replicas of ancient items thought to have been stolen from the National Museum of Antiquities in Baghdad, April 18, 2003 (Photo: AP)"



  • Photo: "U.S. Army civil affairs soldiers and the Office of Resource and Humanitarian Assistance meet with the Chairman of the State Board of Antiquities and directors of the Iraqi National Museum to discuss plans to recover stolen artifacts and eventually rebuild and reopen the museum in Baghdad.       U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen" [April 29, 2003][US Department of State, International Information Programs]

  • "British Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport Tessa Jowell MP (L) and Director of Research at  Iraq's National Museum Donny George view Assyrian artifacts after speaking at a news conference on international support for Iraqi museums, at the British Museum in London April 29, 2003. George angrily accused the Americans of failing in their duty to protect Iraq's National Museum from looters on Tuesday  and called for the United States to tighten Iraqi border controls to stop priceless treasures from being smuggled out of the country.  REUTERS/Stephen Hird" [Reuters.com]

Photo: "Une statue laissée par les pillards dans le musée archéologique de Bagdad    © AFP Ramzi Haidar" [a statue left behind by the looters in the Baghdad archaeological museum]


  • K. Oakes, "Restoring Iraq's Cultural Heritage," in BBC News, April 29, 2003: "Dr George ... believes the only way to stop anymore crossing the border out of Iraq, possibly to be lost for ever, is for the coalition forces to make rigorous checks on anyone leaving the country." "Unesco is to send a team of eight experts to Iraq to make an assessment of the situation and devise a plan for the next stage in the salvage operation. It is also calling on the UN Security Council to pass a resolution which would place an immediate embargo on all  Iraqi cultural goods. This would also include the return of goods to Iraq that may have already entered the market. [UNESCO] will then compile a database with all the archives, lists and inventories relating to Iraqi heritage. Switzerland has already promised a substantial amount of money to fund the survey. This will then be passed to customs, art dealers, trade organisations and Interpol to ensure the illicit trade of Iraqi artefacts is made as difficult as possible. The director of the British Museum, Neil McGregor, said the next step would be to verify what  antiquities have been damaged and what can be done to repair pieces. This would involve the sourcing of suitable materials and the training of conservation teams, which could take a considerable amount of time." "Tessa Jowell,  [UK] Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, ... pledged to hurry ... to close a loophole [in UK law] that contends that if the original owner of a piece of art cannot be traced then nobody can be prosecuted over it."


Photo: "Donny George told Tessa Jowell what help Iraq needs"

Photo: "US-Marine posiert für ein Foto neben der Löwen-Statue beim Palast König Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon" [US marine poses for a picture next to the [granite] lion statue at King Nebuchadnezzar's Palace in Babylon]


[The infamous foreign glass cutters allegedly used by professional antiquities thieves in the National Museum in Baghdad]

[Sumerian sculpture (cast?)]





  • Photo: "Jay Garner, center, director of the office of reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to Iraq, shakes hands with the President of the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, Jaber Khalil Ibrahim, after visiting Baghdad's archaeological Museum Thursday, 24 April, 2003.    © AP/Wide World Photo/Odd Andersen, Pool" [US Department of State, International Information Programs]

Photo: "Ein zerstörtes Gedächtnis der Menschheit: Die Reservekammer des irakischen Nationalmuseums in Bagdad nach der Plünderung
Foto [M]: Gilles Bassignac/Gamma/Studio X" [Shattered memory of humankind: the storage rooms of the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad after the looting]

  • Photo 1: "John Limbert, U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania and assistant to the Office of Resource and Humanitarian Assistance receives a tour through the Iraqi National Museum from Dr. Donny George, director of research (left) and Dr. Jeber Khalil, chairman of the state Board of Antiquities.  Members of the U.S. Army 308th Civil Affairs Brigade and the Office of Resource and Humanitarian Assistance met with the Chairman of the State Board of Antiquities and directors of the Iraqi National Museum to discuss a plan to recover stolen artifacts and eventually rebuild and reopen the museum in Baghdad.  U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen" [Defend America; April 23, 2003]
  • Photo 2: "Dr. Donny George, director of research and another museum director carefully step through the disarray caused by looters during a tour through the Iraqi National Museum. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen" [Defend America; April 23, 2003]
  • Photo 3: "John Limbert, U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania and Assistant to the Office of Resource and Humanitarian Assistance, observes one of the few remaining artifacts that was not destroyed or stolen by the looters at the Iraqi National Museum. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen" [Defend America; April 23, 2003]
  • Photo 4: "A director of the Iraqi National Museum rummages through papers in hopes of recovering important museum documents. U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen" [Defend America; April 23, 2003]
  • Photo 5: "John Limbert, U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania and assistant to the Office of Resource and Humanitarian Assistance, reacts to the damage caused by the looters during a tour through the Iraqi National Museum.  Members of the U.S. Army 308th Civil Affairs Brigade and the Office of Resource and Humanitarian Assistance met with the Chairman of the State Board of Antiquities and directors of the Iraqi National Museum to discuss a plan to recover stolen artifacts and eventually rebuild and reopen the museum in Baghdad.U.S.  Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen" [Defend America; April 23, 2003]
  • Photo 6: "Members of the U.S. Army 308th Civil Affairs Brigade and the Office of Resource and Humanitarian Assistance meet with the chairman of the State Board of Antiquities and directors of the Iraqi National Museum to discuss a plan to recover stolen artifacts and eventually rebuild and reopen the museum in Baghdad.  U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen" [Defend America; April 23, 2003]











Photo: "PATRICK ROBERT/CORBIS FOR TIME.   TRASHED: A storeroom at the Iraq Museum looked more like a garbage dump after looters went through  it"

Photo: "Verwüstetes Magazin im Nationamuseum von Bagdad: Die Diebe wateten durch Scherben bemalter Keramik - DPA" [Ransacked storage room in the National Museum in Baghdad: thieves waded through sherds of painted ceramic]


  • Photo: "A U.S Army tank is parked in front the main gate of the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, Iraq ( news -web sites ), on Saturday April 19, 2003. The museum was looted last week after the collapse of Iraqi Prtesident Saddam Hussein ( news -web sites )'s government. The museum is recognized as the Middle East's leading archaeological collection. It held thousands of years of fragile artworks and clay tablet inscriptions from the Tigris-Euphrates valley that saw much of the innovations of mankind spring up. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)" [Yahoo! News Photos]
  • "President of the American Association for Research in Baghdad McGuire Gibson, right, gestures as Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor looks on during a news conference held at the Paris-based U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Thursday April 17, 2003. Some 30 experts met at the UNESCO ( news -web sites ) headquarters Thursday to attempt to draw an inventory of recent cultural destruction in Iraq ( news -web sites ) and to catalogue the missing artifacts. UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, unseen, urged the United Nations ( news -web sites ) to impose a temporary embargo on Iraqi cultural objects. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)" [Yahoo! News Photos]

  • "Thu Apr 17, 7:21 AM ET  -  Koichiro Matsuura, director general of the UN's cultural organisation UNESCO ( news -web sites ), has called for the establishment of a 'heritage police' to secure Iraq ( news -web sites )'s archaeological treasures.(AFP/File/Adam Jan)" [Yahoo News Photos]

  • Photo: "US soldiers guard the archeological museum in central Baghdad. The US military said it is working to recover Iraq ( news -web sites )'s looted archaeological treasures after accusations that American troops stood by and watched the national museum being ransacked(AFP/Odd Andersen)" [April 17, 2003] [Yahoo! News Photos]

  • "US Sends FBI to Find Baghdad Museum Looters," in Yahoo! News, online, April 17, 2003: "Martin Sullivan ... quit as chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property, after eight years in the post, saying the devastation of the Baghdad museum was a 'tragedy'." "... it was not prevented 'due to our nation's inaction.' A source close to the committee told AFP that another committee member, Gary Vikan, was also stepping down."
Photo: "US Marines guard the Iraq (news - web sites) national museum in Baghdad. According to UNESCO (news - web sites), much of the looting of treasures at Iraq's national museum was carried out by organised gangs who traffic in works of ancient art.(AFP/File/Karim)" [Assyrian sculpture]

Photo: "Een Amerikaanse tank beschermt het Irak Museum sinds gisteren tegen plunderingen. Foto Reuters [Since yesterday, an American tank protects the Iraq Museum against looting.  Photo Reuters]"

  • Photo: "A U.S. Central Command handout photograph, released Wednesday, April 16, 2003, shows Iraqi dignitaries and representatives gathered Tuesday, April 15, 2003 at Ziggurat temple at Tillil Air base, near the southern town of Nasiriyah, Iraq ( news -web sites ) for a meeting to begin shaping Iraq's postwar government.  Participants included Kurds and Sunni and Shiite Arabs from inside Iraq and others who spent years in exile. (AP Photo/U.S. Central Command)" [Yahoo! News Photos]; it seems the modernization of Iraq is well underway: forget about the ziggurat of Ur, now it's the ziggurat at the military Tillil Air Base; at least the US Air force isn't parking its jets right next to the remains like the Iraqis did in the Gulf War of 1991; by the way, a ziggurat is not a temple but a temple platform/tower, the temple itself was on top of the structure you see here; for more info, see for instance this page on the British Museum site

  • Photo: "A U.S. tank takes up position in the Iraqi museum in Baghdad, April 16, 2003. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday rejected charges that the U.S. military was to blame for the looting by Iraqis of priceless treasures from the antiquities museum in Baghdad. Rumsfeld expressed sympathy over the plunder of the Iraqi National Museum last week, when U.S. troops stood by as looters walked off with antiquities or smashed what they could not steal, but he denied at a Pentagon ( news -web sites ) briefing that the war plan for Iraq ( news -web sites ) had not adequately prepared for such a threat.  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich" [Yahoo! News Photos]

  • Photo: "BABYLON, IRAQ (April 16, 2003) - The walls of Nebuchadnezzar's Southern Palace give off a golden sheen as seen from the air, while the Lion of Babylon statue sits in the lower left. Saddam Hussein had the palace reconstructed during his regime, and he had the bricks inscribed with his name. U.S. Army Photo by Pfc. James Matise" [Third Army/ARCENT/CFLCC]
  • Photo: "Books that survived a fire set by ransackers are seen on the floor of the Iraqi National Library in Baghdad Wednesday, April 16, 2003. Looters and arsonists ransacked and gutted Iraq ( news -web sites )'s National Library and the country's principal Islamic library, dealing another terrible cultural blow to a society that prides itself on its universities, literature and educated elite.(AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)" [Yahoo News Photos]




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).