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

This is the twenty-second 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.

  • J.E. Kaufman, "Danish-Iraqi Agreement for World Tour of the Assyrian Nimrud Gold. The Exhibition Is Intended to Last For Three to Five Years and Includes 600 Ancient Objects," in The Art Newspaper (UK), [February 27, 2004]: "A world tour of Iraqi antiquities is being planned by a Danish exhibition organiser in collaboration with the Iraqi Governing Council. The travelling show, provisionally entitled 'The gold of Nimrud' ..." "... a three- to five-year international tour beginning in early 2005. If all goes according to plan, the show will visit eight to 12 cities in Europe, the US, and Asia, according to Ditte Højriis Stoltze, project manager for United Exhibits Group (UEG), the private company that brought the idea to the Iraqi ministry of culture and Unesco. 'We are not negotiating with the Coalition Provisional Authority,' ..." "UEG held a three-day conference on the theme of the “rehabilitation of the cultural heritage of Iraq” in Copenhagen last month,  ..." [actually mid-February, see Yahoo! Deutschland Nachrichten February 14]; "... the director of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC, David Levy, who says he hopes to bring the exhibition to the US capital. Ms Stoltze says the itinerary will begin with major cities such as Paris, Washington, DC, Berlin, Tokyo, London, and Copenhagen, then continue to other museums in Europe, the US, and Asia, with four-month stays at each venue. The conference concluded with the signing of a letter of agreement to proceed with the project. The document was signed by the Iraqi Minister al-Jazairi, Unesco conservation architect Usam Ghaidan, UEG president Teit Ritzau, and Ingolf Thuesen, director of the Carsten Niebuhr Institute in Copenhagen, Scandinavia’s largest centre for Middle Eastern studies. The exhibition, which UEG is organising in cooperation with the Carsten Niebuhr Institute, would include objects from a hoard discovered in the burial tombs of the Assyrian queens at Nimrud in 1989. The works, which date from the eighth century BC, were found safe in a Baghdad bank vault in July 2003. The show may also include carved-stone wall reliefs from the Baghdad Museum and bronze sarcophagi. Mark Leithauser, chief designer of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, is being consulted on the installation, which may include a walk-in replica of part of the North-West Palace at Nimrud. UEG president Teit Ritzau, who recently returned from meetings with Iraqi officials in Baghdad, summed up the purpose of the project in his lecture for the Copenhagen conference: “Touring exhibitions as a means of fundraising and creating goodwill toward a country.” UEG pioneered the formula for Egypt in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, when Arab countries suffered a dramatic fall-off in Western tourism. A reconstruction of the tomb of Pharaoh Thutmose III was the highlight of the UEG-organised touring exhibition, “The quest for immortality: treasures of ancient Egypt”, which has sent 115 artefacts on a 13-city US tour that began in 2002 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Participating museums are paying $1 million each to Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. ... host venues paying a fee that would go to Iraq’s museums. 'A very considerable amount would be guaranteed to support the cultural heritage of Iraq,' said Ms Stoltze, who says that Unesco and the Iraqi government will decide how the money will be spent. The museum participation fees are yet to be negotiated. The US government is scheduled to hand over power to an Iraqi regime by June and it is not clear how this may affect the plans for the exhibition. Mr Ritzau says that everyone present believes the project has such significant value for Iraq that it would be allowed to continue regardless of changes in government. Nonetheless, 'they are trying to get the material out of Iraq quickly,' says the Corcoran’s Mr Levy." [so much for legalities?]; "'The Iraqis feel the Americans have not made cultural repairs a priority, so the necessary funds for culture will have to come from elsewhere[,]' [says Levy.] The Danish Ministry of Development’s Fund for the Industrialisation of the Developing Countries, a quasi-independent entity which offers capital and advice to joint-venture enterprises in developing countries, is 'positively considering investments' in the tour, ... At the conference, Unesco’s assistant director-general for culture Mounir Bouchenaki ... expressed Unesco’s interest in collaborating on the project. Mr Levy believes that 'there’s about a 90% chance the tour will happen.' The United Exhibits Group proposal comes several months after a similar venture was put forward by the US National Geographic Society (The Art Newspaper, No.141, November 2003, p.11)." [I guess this could get interesting...; see however Weir January 9, 2005 and Bailey March 31, 2005]

  • Z. Bahrani, "Saving Iraq's Treasures. The British and Swiss Get Tough About Smuggling," in The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2004: "Earlier this month saw 'Not for Sale,' a two-day Swiss-British conference, held in Geneva, on the traffic in artifacts from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Bringing together an unusual group of antiquities dealers, collectors, academics, museum professionals, politicians, diplomats and law-enforcement officials ..." "The extent of illicit excavation in Iraq today is unprecedented." "While some objects can be recovered and have been, there is no reversing the damage inflicted on the ancient sites by the plunderers. Archaeology is a slow, painstaking process, in which scholars and their assistants excavate a site with the utmost care to avoid accidentally damaging or destroying still-buried objects, tombs, palaces and other historical evidence. Yet the looters' indiscriminate, illicit digging inevitably results in the destruction of the scientific and historical context. Since last April, entire ancient Mesopotamian cities such as Isin, Larsa and Mashkan-Shapir--all of them major Babylonian metropolises--have been destroyed in this way ..."

Photo: [no other info than the caption]

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).