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





This is the sixty-sixth 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.


  • "Yale Professors Write Guide to the Archaeology and History of Iraq," in Yale University, online, December 22, 2005: "In ... 'Iraq Beyond the Headlines,' Benjamin R. Foster and Karen Polinger Foster of Yale University and Patty Gerstenblith of DePaul University provide a concise and readable account of Iraq’s rich history and sound an alarm for the toll the war has taken on the country’s archaeological treasures." "... Benjamin Foster ... a vivid and highly readable history ..." "... Karen Foster ...  the history of archaeology in Iraq ... [and] an illustrated guide to major pieces that have been stolen, damaged, or are still missing from the Iraq Museum in Baghdad since April 2003. ... Gerstenblith ... reviews international and national laws and conventions for protecting objects of cultural heritage from theft and illegal trade."

    Photo: "'Iraq Beyond the Headlines,' an illustrated 275-page book."

  • "German ex-hostage Osthoff leaves Iraq, driver suspected," in Monsters & Critics (UK), December 21, 2005: "Osthoff, a solo aid worker and archaeologist who is a longtime resident of Iraq, has told German diplomats she does not want to meet the media. Her family in Germany said they had not heard from her yet. In a phone conversation with senior Foreign Office official Klaus Scharioth, Osthoff said she wanted to spend a few days in privacy with her 12-year-old daughter, who attends a German boarding school. Where this would happen has not been disclosed, but the announcement appeared to point to some third country. A German weekly magazine, Stern, reported Wednesday that the abductors had been identified as members of a western Iraqi tribe, the Duleimi. It said German envoys had apparently been in talks with Duleimi mediators for a period of two weeks. ... the kidnappers ... were ultimately mainly concerned to receive a ransom, ... ARD, a nationwide chain of public broadcasters, quoted sources saying that a Duleimi sheikh had lent the driver to Osthoff for her overland trip to northern Iraq. German investigators now suspected the sheikh of the abduction."

    Photo: "The picture shows German Susanne Osthoff, at the award ceremony of the Tassilo Prize for Personal Courage in Glonn, Germany, 20 February 2004. The 43-year-old archaeologist and her driver were kidnapped Friday 25 November by unknown persons in the Iraq according to German TV station ARD. Osthoff's brother Robert told German news television n-tv on Sunday 18 December that she was freed. EPA/Peter Hinz-Rosin"

  • Appell: action medeor fordert die Freilassung Susanne Osthoffs: online petition for the release of kidnapped archaeologist and aid worker Susanne Osthoff by action medeor. Deutsches Medikamenten-Hilfswerk (that Osthoff worked with in Iraq), Aktion Weißes Friedensband and Verband Entwicklungspolitik deutscher Nichtregierungsorganisationen (VENRO)[Federation of Non-Governmental Aid and Development Organizations][again, please surf over there and sign; thanks!]
    [don't worry if you don't know German:
    click the ">> Bitte unterschreiben auch Sie diesen Appell!  <<" link, then fill out the spaces as follows:
    "Anrede/Titel" = Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., Prof., ...;
    "Vorname" = first name;
    "Nachname" = family/last name;
    "Straße" = address;
    "PLZ/Ort" = ZIP/postal code and city;
    "Land" = country;
    you actually only have to fill out your first and last name if you don't feel like sharing information;
    finally, click the "abschicken" link]
APPELL zur Freilassung Susanne Osthoffs

12-21-05: more than 20,000 signatures were collected before the petition was closed


[freedom for all hostages in Iraq]
  • "Nur mit ihrer Tochter," in Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), December 19, 2005: according to Bild Susanne Osthoff was held hostage in Baghdad, as was known to mediators and authorities for quite a while; it seems that as far as known right now, Susanne Osthoff first wants to spend time alone with her 12-year-old daughter (now in a boarding school in Bavaria), rather than immediately rejoining her estranged family in Germany...; her mother, stepfather, brother and sister are just happy she's safe and sound

    Photo: "Mit einem Dankesschild in der Hand freut sich Martin Esterl, Bürgermeister von Glonn, der Heimatgemeinde von Susanne Osthoff, über die Freilassung der deutschen Geisel.  Foto: AP" [ME, mayor of Glonn, home town of SO, rejoices over the release of the German hostage while holding a "thank you" poster]

  • E.L. Andrews, "A Trip to the Desert With the Raging Angel of the Artifacts," in The New York Times, December 18, 2005: "I have a personal interest in [Susanne Osthoff's] fate. In June 2003, I bet my life on her and let her guide me to a scene of plundering that could have been taken from 'Indiana Jones.' Hordes of looters, swarming like ants over a remote patch in southern Iraq, were digging up sculptures, vases, ornaments and cuneiform tablets. Many relics dated back 3,000 years to the Sumerian era. Weapons were everywhere: AK-47's, pistols, knives, even swords. There was no law, no police, no hint of the American military. Ms. Osthoff's persistence seems to have shamed American and Iraqi leaders into posting more protection, though the looting continues. But her exploits had a broader significance, offering clues to why the Americans remain so bedeviled and bewildered by Iraq's complexities. Unlike many of those trying to stabilize and rebuild Iraq, Ms. Osthoff could differentiate between good guys and bad guys. She also recognized problems that others wanted to ignore. And to the extent that she stayed alive, it was because she had credibility with everyone from local Bedouin leaders to onetime Baathist powerbrokers. As a reporter for The New York Times in Iraq in June 2003, I met Ms. Osthoff at the Sheraton Hotel in Baghdad. ...  Donny George, head of research at the Iraqi National Museum, greeted her as an old friend and said he had heard the same stories she had. Ms. Osthoff wanted to show me the looting firsthand, but her fearlessness seemed to border on recklessness."
  • "First we drove south from Baghdad to a small town called Afak. There we met with Abdulsadiq al-Abed, a 68-year-old Bedouin patriarch who, with his sons, had worked for decades at a major archaeological site called Isin. Mr. Abed had sent a son to Baghdad several weeks earlier to find Ms. Osthoff and seek her help against the looters. When we arrived, he and his family welcomed her as a hero. His sons told us that the man behind the looting at Isin was none other than the site's chief guard, Jassim. He was charging hundreds of people for the right to dig, they said, and taking part of what was dug up. Ms. Osthoff didn't doubt the story, and had known Jassim for years. But Jassim would not dare hurt her, she said, because she was too well known in his community." "'They are poor people and they are desperate to make some money,' Ms. Osthoff, cloaked in a black hood and carrying a rifle, said. 'But they do not understand what they are doing.' Another Westerner might have been in immediate danger. But Ms. Osthoff knew the people, understood the tribal loyalties and knew she could bank on her credibility. It was a striking contrast to the Americans then trying to rebuild Iraq. Most spoke no Arabic, traveled only in convoys, could not tell friend from foe and knew nothing about Mesopotamia. Tofiq Abed Muhammad, director of antiquities for Samawa Province, told her he had pleaded with a regional American commander whose name he had written in Arabic as 'Auden Hugh.' The commander turned out to be Lt. Col. Daniel O'Donahue, the officer in charge of a nearby Marine base, who later told me that the Iraqis had to defend any 'fixed site' on their own. Ms. Osthoff refused to be brushed off. She badgered American officers, her violet eyes boring into them as she lectured. Many could barely get a word in edgewise, but several grudgingly sent out patrols to the sites. To say that Ms. Osthoff was difficult would be an understatement. Then 40, she could be rude, autocratic and infuriating even to her best friends. She had married and divorced an Iraqi man, then left her child with her family in Germany. But she had at least two things going for her. She recognized an extraordinary cause when people far more powerful had no interest. And she defended that cause with a courage backed by years of personal experience."

    Photo 1: "Edmund L. Andrews/The New York Times.  Susanne Osthoff, a German archaeologist who has lived in Iraq for years, at Isin, an ancient site in southern Iraq, in June 2003. The chief guard there, Jassim, greeted her as a driver for the Baghdad bureau of The New York Times looked on."

    Photo 2: "Edmund L. Andrews/The New York Times.  Holes with ancient treasures dotted the landscape, and there were plenty of men looking to help themselves."

    Photo 3: "Edmund L. Andrews/The New York Times.  Men clustering around an excavation. Jassim, holding the rifle, led the way."

    Photo 4: "Edmund L. Andrews/The New York Times.  A young man extracting part of statue of a calf from an archaeological pit."

    Photo 5: "Edmund L. Andrews/The New York Times.  Ms. Osthoff and the free-lance diggers displaying artifacts from the site."

    Photo 6: "Michael Kappeler/Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images.  'Freedom for Susanne Osthoff' buttons were distributed in Berlin."
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  • "Osthoff ist frei," in Der Spiegel (Germany), December 18, 2005

    Photo: "DDP.   Mahnwache der Türkischen Gemeinde Berlin: Teilnehmer halten vor dem Brandenburger Tor in Berlin ein Plakat mit dem Porträt von Osthoff (14.12.05)" [vigil of the Türkische Gemeinde Berlin: participants in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin hold up a sign with a portrait of Osthoff]

  • "Im Irak entführte Susanne Osthoff ist frei," in Rhein-Neckar Zeitung (Germany), December 18, 2005: SO is free and in good physical condition; the kidnappers have said that they will also release her driver, Khalid el-Shimani; it is not known when she will be returning to Germany; the Army of the Mujahedin that had been said to be behind the kidnapping [see Focus December 17] has announced on their web site that they have nothing to do with it

    Photo: "Bild der entführten Susanne Osthoff auf einer Videoleinwand an einer Hauswand in Frankfurt am Main." [picture of the kidnapped SO on a video screen on a facade in Frankfurt am Main]

  • "Susanne Osthoff freigelassen," in EuroNews (France), with online video, December 18, 2005: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced her release on Sunday; she is now in the German embassy in Baghdad; video shows her at Isin in 2003


    Photo: "18/12  20:21 CET" [SO in the field at the site of Isin in Iraq]
  • "'Lasst sie frei'. Großbildkampagne für Susanne Osthoff," in Nachrichten (Hessischer Rundfunk; Germany), with online audio, December 17, 2005: start of a campaign calling for SO's release first with billboards of her picture and the appeal in German and Arabic in important locations in Frankfurt and Berlin, then on monitors in the Berlin underground trains and in TV spots on the Deutsche Welle international broadcasts which can also be received in Iraq

    Photo: "Bild: dpa.  An der Frankfurter Eschersheimer Landstraße fordert ein überdimensionales Foto die Freilassung Osthoffs." [a more-than-lifesize photo in the Escherheimer Landstraße in Frankfurt demands Osthoff's release][the slogan on the poster reads "Release her!" in German and Arabic]



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).