The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Thirteen: First 1/2 of October 2003

This is the thirteenth 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.

Photo: [no caption; actress Tania Poppe as the Sumerian idol in the play "El Sherife"]

  • S. Al-Radi, "War and Cultural Heritage: Lessons from Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq," in De kracht van cultuur (Netherlands), online, October 2003: detailed account of how the Beirut Museum collection was protected by Director Emir Maurice Chehab and his staff during the Lebanese Civil War and how they finally got the museum back in shape after the war; what happened to the Dar el-Athar or Kuwait Museum during the Iraqi invasion, occupation and 1991 Gulf War and how the collection was returned to Kuwait in 1992: "... the Director of Antiquities in Iraq ..., Dr. Moayyad Damirji, ... Taking an assistant from the Iraq Museum, they drove to Kuwait in his private car. He also took his video camera along to record what he was doing. Once in Kuwait, he forced the guard to let him in and proceeded first to film every object in its place – he wanted to record what was left. Then they wrapped each and every object in newspapers and packed them in cardboard boxes. He rented a truck, loaded the cartons on it, and drove behind the truck all the way to Baghdad. ... The Kuwaiti collection stayed in the basement storerooms of the museum until the end of the war. In March 1991, I went to Baghdad to visit my family and also the museum – I had worked in the museum in the early 1960s and knew it and the staff well. Dr. Damirji asked me to compile a list of the objects that had been stolen and looted from the regional museums of Iraq during the Gulf War and to take this list out with me so that Interpol could put out the information worldwide. For the two months I was there, I spent every morning at the museum collecting the information and trying to record it on computer – a very difficult task as electricity was scarce and frequently cut in mid stride. I worked with two assistants from the museum. We went through the catalogues of the regional museums that had been vandalised – Amarah, Basra, Kufa, Diwaniya, Suleimaniya, Dohuk, Kirkuk, Mosul, Erbil and Basra – and checked which objects had been stolen. ... The total number of missing objects came to 4,000. ... The number of objects recovered till now from this list is 45! Before I left Baghdad, Dr. Damirji called me into his office and asked me to take an official letter he had written ... In the letter Damirji formally asked Unesco to send an official delegation to Baghdad. ... It took almost a year before a team was put together to go to Baghdad. The project officer leading the team was a Mr. Patric Bulenoy. He signed for the objects, hired a truck, loaded it, and officially delivered them to the Kuwaiti authorities. The objects that were officially returned to the Kuwait Museum in early 1992 were more numerous than those listed in the Kuwaiti demand – apparently many had not yet been inventoried! The other big collection in Kuwait, belonging to Jassim al Humaydhi, was completely looted from his house and many of the objects turned up later on the black market in Beirut. The same would have happened with the Sabah collection [= Dar el-Athar] had Damirji not packed and taken it to Baghdad for safe-keeping." "Between 5 and 10% of the Sabah collection in the Kuwait Museum (some estimates run as high as 20-30%), went missing during the Gulf War. These losses, strangely enough, were probably due to the fact that the ‘Iraqi team’ who packed the objects were archaeologists by training and simply not interested in the large ethnographic collection that was in the museum – it was left behind and was looted. Also missing was the famous Mogul emerald, always cited as ‘never having been returned’. It was never taken to Baghdad and was probably stolen in the very early days of the war."
Good overview of the precautions taken by the National Museum staff in Baghdad before the 2003 Gulf War: "The manuscripts and ancient scrolls were removed and placed in a bomb shelter in western Baghdad. Archival material was packed into boxes and distributed in Shiite neighbourhoods where they could be guarded by clerics." [is this the Saddam House of Manuscripts collection (ca. 40,000 items)?  but that collection wasn't in the National Museum, was it?  so is this a much smaller, other collection? the confusion remains]; remember the mystery of how thieves got their hands on the keys to the storage rooms? well, Al-Radi states this: "9 April, Wednesday : The statue of Saddam is pulled off its pedestal; everyone outside Iraq watched the event on television. The back door of the museum was open – someone forgot to lock it. The curator (Dr. Nawal al Muttawakil) told the museum photographer [sic](Donny George) that she had locked all the doors, but, in fact, the back door was open till 10 April at least. She had forgotten her museum keys on her desk. The keys were copied, and Donny George found the duplicates on the grounds of the museum (four sets, to be precise)." [I don't recall hearing about this explanation for the issue regarding the keys as well as the open back door in relation to Dr. Nawala el-Mutawalli before: it might explain why she lost out in the reshuffle within the State Board of Antiquities last October]; "11 April, Friday : Local mobs continue to loot the museum, taking tables and chairs, computers, and other office equipment – anything they could carry. The curator’s safe was professionally drilled and opened; the salaries of the staff for the next two months were taken, as was her personal money – she had left it in the safe for safe-keeping. The keys of the museum were also taken from her safe. A sharpshooter had set up in a room on the second floor, firing at US troops below through a small window; a rocket propelled grenade was found there, and many spent shells. It is a strange place for a sharp shooter, safe and secure but the view through the narrow slit is very limited." "12 April, Saturday : Mobs hit the museum again, taking the remaining chairs and tables; every office door is smashed with an axe. The showcases in the galleries are also smashed. All the cameras of the museum photographer (his personal collection) are taken from his steel safe – a complete collection of Hasselblads, Nikons and other cameras. He used them for museum purposes and thought they would be safer there than in his house. All the filing cabinets were smashed and papers were strewn everywhere. Two of the storerooms were ransacked by the mob; a third was entered but left undamaged. Many objects were taken and many more broken and trampled."

Photo: "Photos of the National Museum in Baghdad, 2003 Photos Selma Al-Radi"

  • M. de Bok, "Emergency Fund to Protect Cultural Heritage," in De kracht van cultuur (the Netherlands), online, October 2003: "The Prince Claus Fund presented the new Cultural Emergency Response (CER) fund for the protection of cultural heritage during times of war ... The CER was established after cultural treasures and libraries were destroyed during the war in Iraq. ... The Prince Claus Fund established the CER in cooperation with the International Committee of the Blue Shields (ICBS), ... The Iraq archaeologist Selma Al-Radi held a presentation on what can happen to a museum during a war. She presented examples in Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq. ... The afternoon was concluded by the announcement of the CER's first activity. From the EURO 120,000.00 fund, a gift of EURO 25,000.00 has been donated to the library of the Baghdad university."

Photo: [no caption; Dr. Selma Al-Radi]

  • P. Atkinson and P. Symes, "Iraq," in Reference Site for Islamic Banknotes (Australia), online, October 2003: "The new and much anticipated issue of notes from Iraq has been released into circulation on 15 October 2003."

    "25,000 Dinar Note ...  BACK [photo 1] -- King Hammurabi. Credited with writing the first code of law in human history he founded the First Dynasty of Babylon in 1700 BC, leading Babylonia into a period of great prosperity." [stele, discovered at Susa];

    "10,000 Dinar Note ... BACK [photo 2] -- Hadba Minaret, at the Great Nurid Mosque, Mosul, built 1172 A.D by Nurridin Zangi, the then Turkish ruler. The 59m-high minaret leans 8 feet off the perpendicular. That is how it earned its Arabic name Al-Hadba (‘the humped’)."

    "5000 Dinar Note ... BACK [photo 3] -- The second century desert fortress of Al-Ukhether, Hejira."

    "1000 Dinar Note ... BACK [photo 4] -- Al-Mustansirya University, Baghdad. Built in the mid-thirteenth century it was the most prominent university in the Islamic world in the Middle Ages."

    "250 Dinar Note ... BACK [photo 5] -- The Spiral Minaret in Samarra, built 848-849 A.D. Samarra was then the Abbasid Empire’s capital city."

    Photos 1-5: [no captions; see text above]

  • G. Stuteville, "UPDATE: What's Next for Iraq's Antiquities," in National Geographic, online, October 2003: "The continuing bad news, says Henry Wright, a professor at the University of Michigan's Museum of Anthropology, is that the looting and ransacking of vulnerable archaeological sites is likely an everyday occurrence."

Photo: "Photograph by Randy Olson.  Winged bulls and lions with human faces stand guard at the gates of Nimrud, but they didn't protect the site from looters seeking more of the palace's riches.  Nimrud's gold was unearthed in the tombs of Assyrian queens by Iraqi archaeologists betweeen 1988 and 1990.  American soldiers now patrol the site, where more artifacts may still await discovery."

  • A. Lawler, "What's Next for Iraq's Treasures? Beyond the Looting," in National Geographic, online excerpt, October 2003: "In Nasiriyah we are in luck. Marine Maj. Glenn Sadowski is extremely helpful. He has organized an armed escort to take Iraqi archaeologist Abdul Amir Hamdany to survey the local sites, and he invites us along. The two men are an unlikely duo. Sadowski is a strapping reservist whose platoon lost seven men during the 1991 gulf war. Hamdany is a soft-spoken scientist who's been evicted from his own museum, where off-duty marines are pumping iron to heavy metal music. Neither speaks the other's language. But Hamdany returns day after day to stand on the burning sidewalk and ask Sadowski's help. 'In the bazaars they are selling antiquities,' he says. 'We have to do something.' ... 'You can tell he has a passion for this,' Major Sadowski says, after agreeing to supply the escort. 'It's the least I could do.' On such slender threads of trust and respect hangs the future of Mesopotamia's past."; Randy Olson (photographer): "When we arrived at Nimrud, the Assyrian city that holds the finest ancient gold ever found, the 101st Airborne was already there. Museum officials accompanied us into locked areas containing huge, beautiful reliefs of Assyrian kings. When we came out, some of the soldiers asked if we'd seen the 'big pictures of the bearded guys.' They had no idea of the site's importance and, in general, weren't happy with their peacekeeping roles. Before coming to the museum, these soldiers were surrounded by Apache helicopters flying overhead and lobbing missiles into Iraqi bunkers. Now they were the equivalent of antiquity rent-a-cops. Since they had no idea of the value of the place they were protecting, they felt useless. So I asked Tony Wilkinson, an archaeologist on the team, to give them a brief history lesson. That helped cheer them up and gave them more pride in their duty. But allowing each of them two minutes on my satellite phone really boosted their spirits. I remember teasing one soldier when he wiped away a tear after talking to his mom. Some of them hadn't talked to their families in months."

All photos: "Photo captions by Sarah van Schagen"

Photo 1: "Inside the Royal Gates.  Photograph by Steve McCurry.  Author Andrew Lawler stands beneath what was once the doorway to the royal palace at Ctesiphon, now one of the last remnants of the Sasanian Empire's royal capital. Built in the sixth century A.D.,  the audience hall of the palace of King Khosrow I still stands, but the unguarded site has most recently served as a target for graffiti artists and looters."

Photo 2: "Shadowed by Conflict.  Photograph by Steve McCurry.  A U.S. marine guards the National Geographic expedition team at the palace of Nebuchadrezzar II in Babylon. With more than 600 rooms, the palace was the largest built during the Neo-Babylonian period. It has been the focus of many restoration projects since then, including several during Nebuchadrezzar's reign and an excavation in the late 19th century by German archaeologist Robert Koldeway [sic: Koldewey]. Saddam Hussein later had the palace restored as a destination for Iraqi tourists using bricks stamped with his name. During the recent conflict several facilities including the Babylon museum, gift shop, and library were looted and partly burned."

Photo 3: "Endangered Animals.  Photograph by Steve McCurry.  Considered symbols of power and courage, lions guarded the entrances to public buildings at Tell Harmel, the ancient town of Shaduppum. Within the city limits of Baghdad, Tell Harmel has been restored as an outdoor museum with replicas of its lion statues. One of the original two stone lions, which were on display in the Iraq Museum, were damaged by looters. Although not significant in size, Tell Harmel boasts some of the earliest evidence of the use of certain mathematical principles."

Photo 4: "A Passageway to the Dead.  Photograph by Randy Olson.  A local guide who lost sight in one eye after being attacked by looters during the 1991 Persian Gulf War is helped down the passageway in Ashur by another local man. Home to the patron god of Assyrians, the site's palace served as the religious capital of the empire and burial ground for Assyrian kings even after Nimrud replaced Ashur as political capital in the ninth century B.C."

Photo 5: "Guarding the Temple.  Photograph by Randy Olson.  Framed by the arch of one of a series of temples at Hatra, a member of the 101st Airborne Division serves as part of the site's 24-hour guard. One of only two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Iraq, Hatra's massive walls and temples are still standing after more than 2,000 years. Before the arrival of the U.S. Army, several reliefs within the temple complex were damaged."

Figure 6: "Archaeological Treasure Trove.  Fabled land between two rivers, Mesopotamia is rich with artifacts. For centuries farmers, priests, and generals wove a complex, often bloody history in the region that is now Iraq—leaving traces sought by archaeologists as well as thieves. For a high-resolution version click Download Printable Map. ...  © 2003 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved."

  • McG. Gibson, "Cultural Tragedy in Iraq: A Report on the Looting of Museums, Archives and Site," in IFAR Journal, 6, 1-2 ([October] 2003): "Early reports of the losses from the Iraq National Museum were inaccurate since they were based on inadequate information." "There are also many artifacts in the 'Study Collection' made up of artifacts from archaeological excavations that the museum staff has decided are not likely ever to be exhibited, although many are significant for a variety of reasons. These items are stored by site and by year of excavation, under the field numbers assigned by the excavators, rather than by IM numbers. And there were several metal trunks filled with objects that had been brought from Iraqi excavations just before the war. The museum did not have time to register these items, but put the trunks in one of the storerooms, where they were ransacked. We do not know, at present, how many of the stolen objects came from the trunks." "But connected to the museum are wings with more than 100 offices and a reference library that house the State Board of Antiquities, which oversees all archaeological work in Iraq, including museums. A small group of dedicated staff intended to remain in the building and was expecting to make a peaceful handover to the U.S. troops. But they had been wise enough not to count on that eventuality. They had stored the manuscripts in the underground bunker, as mentioned above. They also took the majority of the books from the reference library and stored them in the same bunker." [strange, the Saddam House of Manuscripts collection was in its own building elsewhere, not in the National Museum, before it was put into the air raid bunker, wasn't it?]; "At 11 A.M. on Tuesday the 8th of April, as the sounds of battle grew closer to the museum complex, Dr. Jabber saw Iraqi militiamen jumping over the wall of the museum grounds ... When the fighting started, he decided to evacuate ..." "The museum complex was untouched on Wednesday the 9th, but on the 10th, looters came in through a small back gate and entered the galleries by breaking through a glass block window. It was probably on this day that a group of seemingly professional thieves took selected items of great value from the public galleries and, more important, from one of the most secure storerooms. ... This group of thieves did not find the cuneiform tablet collection. These texts are also highly prized by collectors and would have been a prime target. The collection had been in this basement storage area, but had been moved some years before because the humidity was not good for them. The fact that the thieves did not know of the new storeroom for the tablets and did not know of the safe storage facility with the prime artifacts that had been taken off display argues against allegations in some media that the museum staff were involved in the looting." "... people from the neighborhood who saw a chance to get something of value. Luckily, they were more interested in air conditioners, furniture, and computers than in artifacts. ... opened file cabinets and strewed records not only in the rooms but also up and down the halls. There seemed to be some preparation to make bonfires of piles of paper, an eventuality that did not materialize. ... The re-sorting and refilling of the thousands of papers, plans, dig records, photographs, negatives, etc. will take years to complete, and some things will be too damaged to save. The loss of institutional memory, or rather the scrambling of that memory, is almost as crippling as the loss of items from the storerooms and public galleries." "... on Saturday, April 12, when museum personnel came back into the museum, chased out looters, and put up a sign saying that Americans were in the museum and would shoot anyone entering, although no troops were there. Mobs still circled, wanting to enter, and the situation did not improve until April 16, when tanks finally came to secure the premises."
"The painstaking inventory being undertaken by the museum staff in conjunction with U.S. Customs has established that up to this point it can be stated that approximately 12,000 artifacts were stolen from the Iraq museum, predominantly from the storerooms. Of these, almost 3,000 items have been recovered, some of the most significant ones being confiscated at Customs checks in Europe and the U.S.  Bogdanos stated that he expects the figures both for lost and recovered items to continue to rise. The inventory of the storerooms is not yet finished, ..." "... until 1991, there was virtually no trade in Iraqi antiquities. But the looting of 9 out of 13 regional museums during the uprisings at the end of the 1991 Gulf War spawned widespread illegal digging, smuggling, and trade in Mesopotamian material. All through the 1990s, the pace of illegal digging in Iraq increased. The State Board of Antiquities was able to get money to put salvage teams on some major sites and thus stop the looting at least on those sites. But when the recent war started, the looters returned to the sites, drove off the guards, and began wholesale destruction." "The favorites seem to be famous capitals that were already excavated by foreign expeditions. There is a ready market for objects from those sites, since they are known. But I saw even small unknown sites riddled with holes." "Ironically, the looters are destroying not only their past but also their futures. Many of these sites would have been excavated for years by archaeologists, and the men who are doing the illegal work would find employment for themselves and their descendants. When the oil runs out, Iraq will still have an economy based on agriculture and tourism, which itself will be based on antiquity. The destruction of major sites makes that future source less certain."

Photo 1: "Statues from Hatra in the Iraq Museum, right one damaged by looters in failed attempt to break off head"

Photo 2: "Safe in the conservation lab of the Iraq Museum, broken into by looters. Photo: McGuire Gibson."

Photo 3: "Beginning of damage done to Nippur, southern Iraq, June 2003. Photo: via McGuire Gibson"

Photo 4: "Damage done to the site of Isin, southern Iraq, May 21, 2003. Photo McGuire Gibson"

Photo 1: "IFAR Journal Vol. 6, Nos. 1 & 2 2003.  Cover: Head of a Bull. Gold Musical Instrument (Harp) from UR. Early dynastic, 2450 B.C. Iraq Museum, Baghdad. Photo: Scala/Art Resource, NY. This gold head, hidden for safekeeping, was NOT stolen during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The wooden body of the Harp, however, in the Iraq Museum, was badly damaged. (See photo, p. 42.)"

Photo 2: "Burned book stacks, National Library and Archives, Baghdad. Photo: J.M. Russell"

  • R. Biggs, "Cuneiform Inscriptions in the Looted Iraq Museum," in IFAR Journal, 6, 1-2 ([October] 2003): "Initial reports of the looting in the Iraq Museum suggested that thousands of cuneiform tablets were among the looted items. There is as yet no official report of the extent of losses, although some of the cuneiform tablets have been reported returned." [the up-to-100,000-strong main collection of cuneiform tablets remained unharmed; the stolen tablets most probably came from the public gallery, the conservation rooms and/or recent excavations' trunks]; "Until approximately 1968 when the antiquities laws were revised, there was a division of finds between foreign expeditions and the Iraq Museum. While reserving exclusive rights to any object considered unique, the Iraq Museum had first choice of which half of the finds to retain." "Soundings, normally excavations of brief length, limited objectives, and a smaller staff than required for full expeditions, came under different laws. In the case of soundings, there was no division of finds." "Contrary to most museums where the majority of the seal collections were purchased on the antiquities market, nearly the entire collection in the Iraq Museum was from controlled excavations, thus assuredly authentic (the only other major collection largely from authorized excavations is in the Oriental Institute, Chicago). It has now been confirmed that the Iraq Museum's entire collection of seals accessioned before 1990 has been looted."

Photo 1: "Large cuneiform tablet, about 2600 B.C., Abu Salabikh, Iraq, a collection of short hymns to deities. Iraq Museum 70269. Courtesy Oriental Institute, University of Chicago."

Photo 2: "Palm-sized cuneiform tablet, about 2600 B.C., Abu Salabikh, Iraq, an account of barley. Iraq Museum 67646. Courtesy of Oriental Institute, University of Chicago."

Photo 3: "Modern impression of a lapis lazuli cylinder seal, two figures with star and crescent moon between them, early second millennium B.C., Tell Asmar, Iraq, presumably looted from the Iraq Museum. Courtesy Oriental Institute, University of Chicago."

Photo 4: "Modern impression of a gray stone cylinder seal, seven-headed Hydra, Akkadian period, about 2350 B.C., Tell Asmar, Iraq, presumably looted from the Iraq Museum. Courtesy of Oriental Institute, University of Chicago."

Photo 5: "Modern impression of a limestone cylinder seal, a deity in a boat, surrounded by stylized animals and birds, about 2400 B.C., Tell Asmar, Iraq, presumably looted from the Iraq Museum. Courtesy of Oriental Institute, University of Chicago." [this is the correct photo; the online html version of the article erroneously repeats the previous seal impression!]

  • S.M. Paley, "Nimrud, the War and the Antiquities Markets," in IFAR Journal, 6, 1-2 ([October] 2003): "After the Second Gulf War, the storeroom of the site museum of Nimrud was ransacked. The bas-reliefs stolen were from the Northwest Palace of King Ashurnasirpal II - fragments that could not be placed in original settings because the preservation of the rooms were not sufficient to be able to identify the exact positions - and from the very poorly preserved Central Palace of King Tiglathpileser III. Richard Sobolewski and I identified one Ashurnasirpal II basrelief, which was seized by Scotland Yard last fall (Fig. 2)[photo 1]. This bas-relief is the upper 60% of a slab from the West Wing of the palace, preserving a figure of a human-headed genius before a sacred tree with two ranks of palmettes." "In the interest of maintaining pressure on the illicit trade in these antiquities, and that they not be lost in the confusion of the present crisis, I am bringing to the attention of this readership three additional fragments  that have appeared on the market since the publication of our earlier articles. Also, now that I have seen several stolen fragments on the market, one can perceive a growing pattern in their presentation to prospective buyers: 1) as is, that is, as the individual piece was found; 2) cut down to obscure origin; and 3) broken apart by a sledgehammer." "Figure 3b (N-A/17/1975) shows four pieces of a multiregister slab of which only part of the lower register is preserved. It was part of a scene of tribute bearers leaving a city in Anatolia, ..." [see photos 2-3]; all this so far was pre-2003 Iraq War ("Third Gulf War")

"The results of the looters' raids following the Third Gulf War were not extensive but were nevertheless damaging. In the throne room a restored bas-relief depicting the king performing a religious act at the "sacred tree" crowned by the god in a winged disk was broken apart and the god was stolen (Fig. 6b). We must be on the lookout for the figure of the god in the winged disk." [see photos 4-5; orientate yourself starting from the distinct quadrilateral shape in the center left]; "From Room I, a bathing area in the east wing, which was broken into ..., fragments of bas-relief, a winged genius and sacred tree from part of a single slab, perhaps I-9, were stolen from the set of well-preserved slabs on its southern wall. And finally from Room S (Fig. 8)[photo 6], an audience hall that fronts the harem (or south wing) of the palace, the looters tried to steal another relief depicting a winged, human-headed genius. In the course of breaking apart the restored fragments, a piece of the face broke off and shattered. The looters left the bas-relief behind presumably because the damaged piece was no longer valuable." "The rest of the most recent damage is in the form of bullet holes from a gun battle between the Nimrud guard and the looters - on a bas-relief from Room F and in an inscribed slab from the southeast corner of the central courtyard."

Photo 1: "Figure 2. Upper left section of a winged, human-headed genius wearing a two-horned helmet, from the Iraqi archaeologist's West Wing excavation in the Northwest of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. Photo courtesy of the Northwest Palace Archive, Warsaw, Poland."

Photo 2: "Figure 3a. ... Drawing by A. H. Layard of a bas-relief from the palace of Tiglathpileser III, Nimrud shown as discovered and preserved in Layard's mid-19th century excavations" [I scaled the figure down to about the same proportions as in photo 3 to facilitate comparison]

Photo 3: "[Figure] 3(b) Field photo of bas-relief as found by the Polish mission to Iraq in 1975. The upper left section is on the antiquities market. Barnett and Falkner Pl.XLVII, p. 96 with NA/ 17/1975. Photo courtesy of the Polish Center of Archaeology, Warsaw."

Photo 4: "Figure 6a ... Reconstruction of the bas-relief by H. Lewakowa for J. Meuszynski's publication of the throne room (Room B; the bas-relief is in position B-13) of the NW Palace of the King Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud. The bas-relief depicts the king and a divine attendant at a royal ritual before the 'sacred tree' surmounted by a god in a winged disk."

Photo 5: "[Figure] 6b ... May 2003 in situ photo following an attack by looters at the NW Palace site museum. The top of the tree and the god in the winged disk are missing. The heads of the king and the divine attendant to the right, were removed by Layard in the 19th century and are now in the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay. The British residents of Bombay removed the heads from the packing crates that Layard was sending to London. B-13:, Warsaw; Meuszynski 1981, plate 2:1. Photo courtesy of Mark Altaweel."

Photo 6: "Figure 8. May 2003 in situ photo of the complete, restored bas-relief in position 20, Room S. The genius is facing left toward a sacred tree in the corner of the room. Photo shows face of figure splintered by looters. Photo courtesy of Mark Altaweel."


  • J.A.R. Nafziger, "Protection of Cultural Heritage in Time of War and Its Aftermath," in IFAR Journal, 6, 1-2 ([October] 2003): "A decade later, in a new millennium, the public has only limited confidence in the efficacy of either the jus ad bellum [the branch of law that defines the legitimate reasons when a state may engage in war] to avoid international terrorism and armed intervention or the jus in bello [the laws that come into effect once a war has begun] to protect persons and property. Simultaneous acts of mass terrorism and sabotage, the preventive use of force, and selective avoidance of the Security Council by its Permanent Members pose new challenges. Skepticism about the efficacy of the laws of war should not obscure two important facts, however: the unprecedented growth of international law and institutions during the Cold War, and the impressive record of compliance with the jus in bello by coalition forces in the thick of battle during the Iraqi campaign. Generally, the problems in protecting cultural heritage do not reflect an inadequacy of the law of war itself, but rather a lack of civic responsibility and inadequate commitment and training of military personnel, particularly in paramilitary operations and in time of civil war. Three sets of treaties form the framework for protecting cultural heritage in time of war and its aftermath. These are the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907; the Geneva Convention of 1949 and its two Protocols; and the Hague Convention of 1954 and its two Protocols. Together, they respond to four threats to cultural heritage: deliberate attack, incidental damage, pillage, and outright theft."; followed by a thorough discussion of the treaties and how they might apply to the 2003 Iraq War

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).