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

This is the twenty-fourth 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.

  • P. Kamenka, "Reopening of Iraq's National Museum in a Year. Iraqi Culture Minister Says Iraqis Must See National Museum's Treasures First Before They Are Sent Abroad," in Middle East Online, online, March 25, 2004: "'The reopening of the museum will take place within a year to show Iraqis the treasures of Nimrod, which the people have never seen because Saddam Hussein hid them,' [Iraqi culture minister Mufid al-] Jazairi said." "'We could then see them exhibited abroad, Paris could possibly be the first city for such an exhibition,' ..." [first stop: "axis of weasel" HQ; oh irony!]; "Mercilessly ransacked, the museum remains shut, its exhibition rooms barren, glass cabinets smashed, antiquities defaced and the floor thick with dust. Jazairi said it was far too early to reopen the museum as a lot of renovation work is needed, particularly on its security system. 'The Italians and the Japanese are helping a lot with that,' he said. With insurgents launching daily attacks on troops, police and civilians, the authorities fear the museum would make a tempting target were it open. 'Around 15,000 pieces were stolen from this museum, 4,000 of them have been returned from abroad, ... Five hundred were seized in France, 250 in Switzerland, 700 in Jordan, and around 1,000 in the United States,' he said, but was unable to give a better breakdown of the figures. 'Stolen pieces are returned everyday and sometimes we'll get 600 in one hit,' ..." [more detail and explanation about all these numbers would be very nice indeed]; "During Saddam's rule, no exhaustive list was made of the museum's real stock of wealth, making it difficult to calculate what was lost. Officials from the time are also accused of stealing an Assyrian sculpture. ... Arshad Yassin, Saddam's brother-in-law and bodyguard, was allegedly the regime's specialist in trafficking in antiquities." [see also Iraqi Press Monitor February 11]; "The former regime made 'culture its enemy,' Jazairi said. ... as Iraqis were deprived of all culture that 'did not serve to glorify the regime.'"

Photo: "The landmark arch of Iraq's national museum in Baghdad" [AFP]

  • S. Borja, "Cultural Heritage Institute for Young Iraqi Specialists: A Visit to the Penn Museum," in University of Pennsylvania Almanac, 50, 26 (March 23, 2004): "During Spring Break, the Penn Museum provided a sneak preview of its Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur exhibition to museum specialists who work at museums in Iraq." "Our [US Department of State] Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs chairs a government interagency group established one year ago to provide both public and private sector support for the rebuilding of the cultural heritage infrastructure of Iraq ..."

All photos by Marguerite Miller

Photo 1: [no caption; group photo of the Iraqi museum people on visit in the Penn Museum]

Photo 2: "Several of the Iraqi women near a model of an attendant to royalty, created to show how some of the jewelry would have been worn."

Photo 3: "Two Iraqi visitors admiring the Ram in the Thicket, made of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, copper, shell, red limestone and bitumen, ca.  2650-2550 B.C.--one of the 200 ancient Sumarian treasures from the site of Ur in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq)."

Photos 4-7: [no captions]

  • S. Mansfield, "Queen of the Night Comes Into the Light," in The Scotsman (UK), March 20, 2004: "... the Queen of the Night, a 4,000-year-old Mesopotamian terracotta goddess, ... This weekend, she will leave her permanent home at the British Museum to make her first appearance in Scotland at the Burrell Collection - the start of a series of UK 'weekend breaks'. Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, said: 'She is quite demanding in her travel arrangements. Like all celebrities, she prefers to travel incognito. Her suite will be prepared for her, and she has her entourage. We hope she’ll be very happy with her suite at the Burrell.'" [I guess when you don't have any archaeological context to explain an artifact, it is only natural to resort to "artistic license"]; "A special case has been made to transport her. On arrival at her destination, it will become the base on which she is displayed. However, Frances Carey, the head of national programmes at the British Museum, ... said the 19-inch-tall goddess is remarkably strong. 'She has to travel flat, with jolting minimised as much as possible, but she is made of baked clay, which is actually a very robust substance." "The Queen of the Night, originally known as the Burney Relief, was brought to Britain in the 1920s, when Iraq was under British rule."
Photo: "Dominique Collon, British Museum curator of ancient Near East, places the goddess on display at the Burrell Collection. Picture: Donald MacLeod"

Photo: "Clemens Reichel    Foto: Chicago Mag." [man of steel!]

Photo: "Trotz militärischer Kontrollen: Die Raubgrabungen im Irak gehen weiter. ...   Fotos: Universität Chicago/Hirmer Verlag" [no matter the military patrols, the looters go on digging in Iraq]

Figure 1: [removed at the request of Dr. John Russell (CPA) for security reasons]

Figure 2: [removed at the request of Dr. John Russell (CPA) for security reasons]
  • "Japan to Help Protect Iraq's Sumer[ian] Ruins [and] Artifacts," in The Japan Times (Japan), March 18, 2004: "... help local authorities tighten security at the sites, providing them with patrol vehicles and other equipment, ... through UNESCO, using $600,000 in grant aid, ..." "Japan plans to disburse about $28 million worth of grant aid to help Iraq purchase police cars and $1 million to repair museums and other places. The latest plan to provide security assistance is in addition to the previous aid for Iraq's reconstruction, ..."

Photo: "Local officials in Samawah, Iraq, check artifacts found in the ruins of Sumer."

  • L.R. Vaughn, "Iraqi Academics Visit Campus Museum," in The Daily Pennsylvanian, March 16, 2004: "After the introduction, the Iraqis took pictures of each other standing beside the encased artifacts, their pride on display. The program is 'definitely an effort by the Americans to show that they are serious about reconstructing Iraq, culturally and politically,' said Aminah Mohammad, a friend of one of the group's translators and a junior at Bryn Mawr College, who is half Iraqi herself." "'We are very impressed with the warm welcome we received from the Americans,' said Mohammad Abdul Rezaq, one of the older Iraqi participants. 'Of course, Americans are very curious about Iraqis because they are rare to see' in the United States."

Photo: "Iraqi museum specialists visit the 'Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur' exhibit at Penn's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The 23 scholars are spending five weeks touring U.S. museums. <Fatemeh Kadivar/The Daily Pennsylvanian>"

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).