The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Sixty-Four: Second 1/2 of November 2005





This is the sixty-fourth 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.

  • "SAFE appeals for archaeologist's release," in SAFE, online, [November 30, 2005]: "Susanne Osthoff, archaeologist and humanitarian aid worker, has been kidnapped in Iraq. Susanne has spent a lifetime working to preserve the cultural treasures of Iraq for all Iraqis; and she dedicated her life to provide immediate help for the suffering today including the first medical support to Baghdad after the war in 2003. Susanne is a friend of all the people of that great nation, and cares deeply about their struggle. We at SAFE are ordinary citizens around the world working to save the physical remains of ancient cultures. We call for Susanne's safe and immediate release."

    Photo: "Photo by Roger Atwood" [Osthoff with looters; taken when Roger Atwood visited Isin with her in 2003, see Atwood September-October 2003]

  • M. Balter, "German Archaeologist Abducted in Iraq," in ScienceNOW, online, November 29, 2005: "... [she] earned a reputation for bravery after documenting damage to Iraq's archaeological sites ..." "Osthoff is 'a very good and very talented' archaeologist, says [University of Munich Prof.] Barthel Hrouda, who led the Isin excavations." "... University of Chicago archaeologist McGuire Gibson. 'Susanne took reporters to sites to take pictures of the destruction,' Gibson says. 'She was fearless.' Roger Atwood, a contributing editor for Archaeology magazine and author of  Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the Ancient World, agrees: 'She is the bravest person I have ever met.'"

    Photo: "Missing. Archaeologist Susanne Osthoff was abducted Friday in Iraq. Credit: J. Dziemballa/AP Photo"

  • R. Reid, "Insurgent video shows peace activists said to have been taken hostage in Iraq," in CBC World News (CBC; Canada), November 29, 2005: "Osthoff, 43, is a fluent Arab speaker and a trained archaeologist who has worked since 1998 for the Munich-based management consulting firm FaktorM, which said on its website that she has 'organized and supported the distribution of aid goods in Iraq since 1991.'"

    Photo: "Undated private photo released by the family of kidnapped German archeologist Susanne Osthoff with her daughter Tarfa. The kidnapping took place in northern Iraq last Friday and became known Tuesday. Susanne Osthoff had worked for a relief organization. (AP Photo/ho)"
  • "Merkel appelliert an Geiselnehmer. Deutsche im Irak entführt," in Frankfurter Allgemeine (Germany), with online video, November 29, 2005: she and her driver were kidnapped near Tal Afar in north Iraq; the kidnappers' ultimatum's deadline has not been made public; Staatssekretär [des Auswärtigen Amts] ("Under Secretary of State" in US parlance, "Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs" elsewhere) Klaus Scharioth is leading a special crisis committee

    Photo 1: "Suzanne Osthoff - © dpa/dpaweb"

    Photo 2: "Susanne Osthoff (2003) - © dpa/dpaweb"



  • "Porträt. Susanne Osthoff," in Tagesschau (ARD; Germany), November 29, 2005: she lived a couple of years in Yemen, then did research and participated in excavations in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq; Iraq became her focus and she became an aid worker there in 1991; she was married to a Jordanian and has an 11-year-old daughter who lives in Germany; she received a Tassilo Award for Civil Courage from the Süddeutsche Zeitung for providing aid to Iraqi civilians in early 2003 while the fighting was still raging; in October, Osthoff told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that she had received kidnapping threats from Abu Mussab el-Zarkawi-related people while she was in Mosul: she received US military protection and rerurned to Baghdad but went back north later on; she is a self-described moderate muslim; at Irak-Hilfe, an NGO for whom she brought medicines to Iraq, she is characterized as very tenacious; she works for a Munich consultancy where she has been co-ordinating projects regarding Iraqi health services

    Photo: "Porträt: Susanne Osthoff. Susanne Osthoff auf einem Foto aus dem Jahr 2003" [Portrait: SO. SO in a picture from 2003]

  • "Deutsche im Irak als Geisel genommen. Bundeskanzlerin appelliert an Entführer," in Tagesschau (ARD; Germany), with online video, November 29, 2005: the 43-year-old archaeologist Susanne Osthoff who has been working in Iraq for years now with an aid organization has been missing together with her Iraqi driver since Friday; the [German TV station] ARD people in Baghdad received a video from the kidnappers in which they demand that Germany cease all co-operation with the Iraqi government or the hostages will be killed; they also insisted the video to be broadcast, however, ARD only showed a snapshot [the video contains some footage of looters at Isin, a site she used to excavate at in the past and the plundering of which she brought to the attention of the western media in 2003; see Andrews May 22, 2003 and Atwood September-October 2003]

    Photo: "Deutsche Archäologin im Irak entführt. Bild aus dem Entführer-Video: Die beiden Geiseln müssen knien." [German archaeologist kidnapped in Iraq. Image from the kidnappers' video: both hostages forced to kneel <sic>]
  • J. Redmon, "Trip back in time to Babylon," in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 28, 2005: "Shlimon said he never thought he would be able to return to this site after fleeing Iraq in 1974. He said his father wanted him to avoid Iraq’s military draft and encouraged him to leave their home and move to the United States. The rest of his family soon followed. As Christians, Schlimon said, they feared Hussein would persecute them. Shlimon appeared lost in thought as he stepped around shards of broken pottery and stray cuneiform tablets. He walked along a 6th century B.C. path called 'Processional Way.' And then he posed for pictures next to a large basalt sculpture called 'The Lion of Babylon.' He remembers climbing on top of the lion and posing for pictures when he was a teenager."

    Photo: "Jeremy Redmon/AJC - Sarkis 'Ben' Shlimon recently toured the ruins of Babylon as an interpreter for Georgia's 1st Battalion, 108th Armor Regiment."
  • In an e-mail dated November 18, 2005, Friedrich Schipper (Universität Wien) sent me photos taken at the "Civil-Military Relations Seminar VIII  Military Ethics (III) — The Protection of Cultural Property and (Military) Leadership (NATO / PfP  Symposium/Seminar  (‘In the Spirit of’/ DCF / AUT 266))" which he attended from November 9 to 11 in Vienna (Austria), together with IW&A's co-director David Gimbel;  I've been remiss in not posting this earlier: sorry, Fritz!  here's the pdf file of the program—you'll notice that David, Friedrich and me are listed as giving a joint paper ("The Iraq War and the Archeology Project – The Use of Weblogs in Crises") but, truly, David wrote it almost totally on his own and presented it so the credit really belongs to him (did I mention that, unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend?)

    Photo 1: [opening speech?]

    Photo 2: [probably Joris Kila; slide shows older version of IW&A site entry page]

    Photo 3: [from left to right: Cori Wegener, David Gimbel, Friedrich Schipper]




  • F. Deblauwe, "Note on John Russell's Lecture 'Recovering Iraq's Past' in St. Louis on November 5, 2005" (IW&A Documents, 6), in The Iraq War & Archaeology (US and Austria), November 16, 2005: "During the cleaning of the recovered Warka mask (Lady of Warka), a trace of blue pigment was discovered close to her left ear.  This had not been noticed before, which strikes me as kind of amazing.  The public-galleries artifacts that were presciently hidden away in the so-called 'secret place' had been kept there during most of the 1990s.  They had only been back in the Museum in recent years.  The metal trunks in which they had been kept showed severe signs of corrosion, presumably from problems with standing water in the 'secret place.'  Russell showed photos of some artifacts as they came out of those trunks. They were in a precarious, degraded condition due to the water issues: Halaf pottery, Nimrud ivories, cuneiform tablets, coins.  For instance, the pottery was crumbling and coins were stuck together with the paper envelopes containing and separating them gone.  Luckily, the mold on some of the ivories was on a varnish and therefore easy to remove.  Some 60 of the best Nimrud ivories though had been stored with the gold treasure in the Central Bank and were exposed to very dirty water: they are in bad shape, have become friable.  Pietro Cordone, the Italian Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Culture in the early days, requested the (in)famous one-day exhibition of the Nimrud gold in the National Museum in early July 2003, despite reservations from the Iraqi colleagues.  I always suspected of course that it was more a political stunt than anything else... ... An area between the ancient city of Ur [(Tell el-Muqayyar)] and the air strip of the Tallil air base had been left largely empty ever since the air strip was built in the early 20th century. The air base borders the archaeological site.  In 2003, however, the US military built in this empty area which is also on the ancient road connecting Ur with ancient Eridu to the southwest. ... Ur is the rounded shape 'stuck' to the northeastern side of the rectangular air base ..."
Photo 1: "Fig. 3 - Northern part of Tallil Air Base and Ur, 'taken in the last 3 years' but most likely after the above-mentioned building activity, from Google Earth"


Photo 2: "Fig. 4 - Close-up of the temple enclosure of Ur, 'taken in the last 3 years' but most likely after the above-mentioned building activity, from Google Earth"



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).