The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Twenty-One: First 1/2 of February 2004

This is the twenty-first 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.

  • "Dutch Tackle 'Tomb Raiders' at Al Warka," in Ministry of Defence (UK), online, February 15, 2004: "The squad, from the 21st Infantry Company, 2nd Netherlands Battlegroup, have been patrolling the ancient site at Al Warka, more commonly known as Uruk. A guard at the site asked for their help in stopping a group of men who were digging near a number of ancient graves. The thieves ran off, but were caught and arrested by the patrol. A number of bottles and pieces of pottery which the thieves had been stealing was also recovered and handed over to the Iraqi police. ... pottery from the site fetch a high price on the black market." [this seems the same incident as reported in Kortekaas February 18]
Photo 1: "Dutch troops apprehended a team of tomb robbers pillaging the archaeological site at Al Warka, the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk (High resolution not available)"

Photo 2: "An ancient tomb attacked by the robbers (High resolution not available)"

Photo 3: "Some of the stolen pottery recovered by the Dutch troops (High resolution not available)"

Photo: "Copyright Koninklijke Marine" [site of Babylon]

Photo 1: "Une salle du musée de Bagdad.  Toutes les petites pièces, évacuées avant l'invasion américano-britannique, restent enfermées dans la réserve. Les métaux précieux confiés à la Banque centrale avant la guerre du Golfe en 1991 sont toujours dans les coffres-forts.   © AFP - Karim Sahib" [A room of the Baghdad museum.  All small objects, evacuated before the US-British invasion, remain locked in the storage areas. The precious-metal objects that were assigned to the Central Bank before the 1991 Gulf War are still in its vaults]

Photo 2: "Les vitrines pillées du musée de Bagdad.  Le tollé suscité par les pillages et l'immense patrimoine archéologique de l'Irak ont néanmoins transformé le musée en aimant pour les donateurs du monde entier, qui ont déjà envoyé quatre millions de dollars.   © AFP - Karim Sahib" [The looted display cases of the Baghdad museum.  The outcry caused by the looting and the immense archaeological heritage of Iraq have nevertheless made the museum the darling of donors from all over the world; they have already sent $4 million]

  • J. Matthew, "Baghdad Museum Too Afraid to Reopen. Nearly a Year After War, Director of Iraq's National Museum Is Too Frightened to Reopen His Doors to Public Amid Insurgency," in Middle East Online (UK), February 5, 2004: "... the museum remains shut, its vast exhibition rooms barren, glass cabinets smashed, antiquities defaced and the floor thick with dust. In a building surrounded by coils of barbed wire, guarded by dozens of Facility Protection Service officers and patrolled daily by US troops, director Donny George says he is too frightened to reopen his doors to the public. 'We're really afraid that if we open the museum it will become a target for these terrorists." "All small artefacts, which were evacuated before the US-led invasion last March, remain in storage. Precious metals entrusted to the Iraqi central bank even before the 1991 Gulf war are still in the vaults. A security wall is being built behind the building after the looters stormed through the back door, tearing off with more than 14,000 objects, of which 5,000 have been seized abroad and returned, George says. Among them are 1,000 pieces recovered in the United States, 700 in Jordan, another 500 in France and 250 in Switzerland. But he accuses Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey of continuing to drag their feet in retrieving goods secreted across their borders." "So far up to four million dollars have flooded in from [donors] across the globe. The US State Department alone has set aside one million dollars, which coalition officials say should be enough to refurbish the building by April. The moribund air conditioning, electricity and water systems are being repaired, walls painted, lights replaced and the plumbing worked on. 'I hope everything will be finished in two or three months,' the director says, ..." "Museums in Europe and the United States have sent their own experts to Baghdad and offered to collect publications to replenish its patchy archives. 'I'm so optimistic now because of the huge help we are getting from all over the world,' George says, hoping an upcoming trip to Japan will bring in yet more cash. Three Iraqis are training at the British Museum, 15 are going to France and 20 archaeologists to the United States for a five-week study tour. For many of the last 20 years, the museum has been shut, principally during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and the 1991 Gulf war. 'It's barely been functioning. It will be an opportunity for them to see how other collections work, bring ideas back and meet people,' says John Russell, professor of archaeology and coalition advisor to the Iraqi culture ministry. Stacks of special display cupboards donated by Germany for the museum's clay tablets crowd the corridors, still waiting to be unpacked."
Photo: "Fear of becoming a target for insurgency"

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).