The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Nineteen: First 1/2 of January 2004

This is the nineteenth 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.

  • M. Gayford, "Gold Fever. How Modern-Day Tyrants and Looters Were Kept From Two of the Greatest Treasures of the Ancient World. Martin Gayford Follows the Trail of the Hidden Gold of Iraq and Afghanistan," in The Age (Australia), January 14, 2003: "Less attention has been given to the unexpected reappearance a few months ago of two fabulous hoards of ancient golden objects with oddly similar histories. Both have been compared with the objects found in the tomb of Tutankhamen; neither has ever been seen, except very briefly." "'Very little Assyrian gold work has been discovered at all,' explains Dominique Collon, a specialist in the subject at the British Museum. 'It was all carted away and melted down in antiquity,' Collon says. 'So, previously, the only evidence we had for Assyrian jewellery was representations on reliefs." "... the gold vanished from view into the most secure vault of the Iraqi Central Bank, which was then flooded with sewage." "'I think they were rather afraid that Saddam Hussein would get his hands on it and turn it into gold taps for his bathroom,' says Collon." "This so-called Bactrian gold is even more dazzling than the Nimrud hoard. It is made up of the burial riches of Kushan tribes from the area known in ancient times as Bactria, which were buried around the 1st century AD. And, like much of the now tragically depleted Afghan heritage, they show evidence of a unique cultural fusion." "But when will these astonishing objects next be seen, and where? That, too, is highly controversial. In neither Baghdad nor Kabul is the security position good enough to allow museums to reopen — and the Kabul Museum is a ruin. It has been mooted that both the Bactrian and Nimrud treasures should go on international tour to museums in the US. The Musee Guimet in Paris, which has a magnificent Afghan collection, has expressed interest in the Bactrian gold. But these are highly sensitive proposals. To parade the Nimrud jewellery around the US, insists Collon, would 'not be at all a tactful thing to do. Let the Iraqi people see their treasures first'."

Photo: "A journalist views a bas-relief from the The Treasures of Nimrud at the Iraqi National Museum.
Picture: AFP" [misleading caption: "Treasure[s] of Nimrud" is usually reserved for the gold and silver jewelry from the  queens' tombs]

  • "The Iraqi Jewish Archive Preservation Report. October 2, 2003," in Middle East Librarians Association Committee on Iraqi Libraries, online, [January 12, 2004]: I've been remiss in not adding this report earlier (5-3-05); "Rare, historic and modern books, documents and parchment scrolls pertaining to the Iraqi Jewish community were found in the flooded basement of the Iraqi Intelligence (Mukhabahrat) headquarters in Baghdad in early May 2003. Upon removal from the basement, the wet materials ... were packed into sacks and transported to a nearby location where they were partially dried.  Dr. Harold Rhode, expert in Middle Eastern and Islamic Affairs, Department of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense, provided a general review and initial sorting of the contents during the retrieval process, after which the materials were placed in 27 metal trunks. The ... CPA ... arranged for the materials to be frozen, which served to stabilize the condition and eliminate further mold growth. ... conservators from the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) traveled to Baghdad June 20-23 to assess the condition of the materials and develop recommendations for their preservation." "... 16th-20th century Jewish rare books, correspondence and document files, pamphlets, modern books, audio tape and parchment scrolls.  Languages represented in the Archive include Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, Arabic and English (a few items). ... Rare works include: ... the 'Ketubim' volume of the monumental Third Rabbinic Bible that was published in Venice by Giovanni di Gara in 1568; and ... what appears to be Abraham Brudo's 'Birkat Avraham,' which was published in Venice in 1696."; mostly 19th-20th-century materials; as far as I know, nothing much has happened since the  archive was flown to the US [see also Minter August 2004]

    Photo 1: "Removing the Iraqi Jewish Archive materials from the flooded Mukhabahrat basement.  May 2003 - Photos by Harold Rhode"

    Photo 2: "Books and documents after removal from the Mukhabarat basement.  May 2003 - Photos by Harold Rhode"

    Photo 3: "Frozen books and documents in the Iraqi Jewish Archive - Photos by Doris Hamburg"

    Photo 4: "Iraqi Jewish Archive in trunks in the freezer truck - Photos by Doris Hamburg"

Photo: "Giovedì  8 Gennaio 2004, 15:52 - Iraq: morta interprete irachena" [Thursday 8 January 2004 3:52 p.m. - Iraq: Iraqi interpreter is dead][this photo, however, turned out to be unrelated to the attack in question, see Russell February 1]

  • Photo: "More of the original outer walls. Notice the inlaid depictions of lions and other animals in the masonry" [National Guard tour of duty in 2003; Tobiasly's Photo Gallery. Babylon Trip, January 2, 2004]

  • Photo: "From the outside, the walls leading to the palace look like a maze. In the background is the hill where the Tower of Babel once stood; it is now only the bottom of the foundation" [National Guard tour of duty in 2003; Tobiasly's Photo Gallery. Babylon Trip, January 2, 2004]

  • Photo: "Part of the original Babylon main road; it was covered in a material which closely resembles modern asphalt" [National Guard tour of duty in 2003; Tobiasly's Photo Gallery. Babylon Trip, January 2, 2004]
  • L. Cremonesi, "«I veri criminali sono i mercanti in Europa e Stati Uniti». I carabinieri a caccia dei predoni dell’arte. In pattuglia con i militari italiani in Iraq, per salvare un tesoro che risale a cinquemila anni fa," in Corriere della Sera (Italy), with online audio, January 2, 2004: marshall Franco Caligiore commands the "Vai per Cinque" ["go for five" (?); 1-22-04: misunderstood "Vyper 5," which if English would normally be "Viper 5"?; see Gallo January 16] team that seeks to protect the antiquities; Cremonesi witnessed them catching some looters in the act at the gigantic Sumerian necropolis of "Al-Lham," 40 km south of Nasiriyyah [I think he means Tell el-Lahm, to the southeast of Nasiriyyah]; Abdulamir el-Hamdani, the director general for antiquities of the Dhi Qar province, said the cemetery was unknown till recently; hundreds, even thousands of holes pockmark the site already; this was the first time a carabinieri helicopter patrol arrested looters again since the devastating bomb attack on their barracks on November 12; vice-brigadeer Paul Maralla said it was nice to return to the normal routine; 4 of the carabinieri killed in the November attack belonged to their predecessor "archaeological" team: a lot of expertise lost; at least 60 out of an estimated 1500 tombs have been robbed at Tell el-Lahm [how does this rhyme with the 100s, 1000s of holes? I guess the success rate of the looters must not have been too high, fortunately; or the journalist was exaggerating a little before]; they are littered with smashed terracotta jars and fragments of bones but the ceramic urns are stolen as are the necklaces made of gold and shells, gone are the cuneiform tablets; Mario Bondioli Osio who has since end September assumed the duties of Minister of Culture has pushed hard to reconstitute the archaeological guard organization; 111 guards received their wages 2 days ago at the headquarters in Nasiriyyah: nearly $70, better than the $12 under Saddam Hussein but the cost of living has skyrocketed and the looters are offering more as a bribe; soon they will receive guns, portable radios, jeeps and observation towers to place at the sites; at Tell el-Lahm, 3 guards will have to take turns because it's so easy to find the urns just by walking around on the clayish soil

Photos 1-13: "Con i carabinieri nel deserto [with the carabinieri in the desert] (Cristiano Laruffa/Lapresse)" [at Tell el-Lahm; evidence of looting and captured looters; photos 10-13 are probably not from Tell el-Lahm]

Photos 14-18: "Con i carabinieri nel deserto [with the carabinieri in the desert] - (Lapresse)" [this generic caption obviously doesn't describe the photos well, e.g., photo 15 shows the ziggurat of Ur]

All photos: "Copyright Koninklijke Marine"

Photo 1: [no caption; Dutch soldiers on top of ruins at Warka]

Photo 2: "Waar eens de priester stond staat nu Ivo, de cameraman van het videoteam van de Koninklijke Marine. Hij is bezig met opnamen voor de videoband welke gedraaid zal worden tijdens de midtermdagen te doorn. Op de voorgrond liggen de rails die zijn achtergelaten door de duitse archeologen." [Ivo, the camera man of the Royal Marines video team, stands where once priests stood.  He is filming a video to be shown at the midterm days in Doorn.  In the foreground you can see the rail tracks left behind by the German archaeologists] [ziggurat]

Photo 3: [no caption; ruins at Warka]

Photo 4: "Na de rondleiding kon er worden genoten van een aangeboden iraakse maaltijd bestaande uit kip, rijst, salade, brood, en een westers toetje." [After the tour we enjoyed the meal offered by the Iraqis: chicken, rice, lettuce, bread and a Western desert]

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).