The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Thirty-Nine: First 1/2 of November 2004

This is the thirty-ninth 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.

  • "Christie Mallowan Endowment," in British School of Archaeology in Iraq (UK), online, [November 11, 2004]: the BSAI web site has been nicely redesigned; "Khalid Walid Al-Timimi, a professional photographer from the Iraq Museum, is currently half-way through a 2 month stay in the UK, ..." "In Baghdad, the Museum has come to rely on digital photographic technology, due to the lack of conventional photographic facilities, chemicals and materials." "... Khalid spent time with departmental photographers in the Department of Archaeology and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and in the British Museum and Institute of Archaeology in London."

    Photo 1: [no caption; Al-Timimi in a photo lab]

    Photo 2: "... Khalid ... with Dr Dominique Collon in the British Museum"

  • P. Applebome, "A Vision for Saving Iraq by Preserving Bits of Babylon," in The New York Times, November 7, 2004: "There was the Iraq of the presidential campaign, a place, almost an abstraction, that often seemed more about us than about them, where all the casualty figures were American and big ideas of freedom and democracy seldom seemed tied to the agony of a real place with real people. And then sitting in a conference room at Stony Brook University, there were Helen Malko, Zaid Ibraheem, Zainab Mohammed and Lina Mahmod, all sharing a goal that seems, at the moment, so distant as to be almost a hallucination. The four are Iraqis studying archaeology under a grant from the United States Agency for International Development, learning modern techniques they can use to train a new generation of archaeologists and museum curators back home. The hope is that one day Iraq's cultural treasures dating back 4,000 years will become tourist attractions similar to the pyramids of Egypt. The war zone that is Iraq is, after all, where civilization began. Elizabeth Stone, the Iraqis' teacher, reminds us that it was home to the first cities, the first people who worked full time making pottery and sculpture, where writing first captured the details and accounts of everyday life, the first place to brew beer. So there's something at once utterly rational and achingly quixotic in the program here, whose roots, the students said, began with their own experiences, their own awe, at the thousands of historic sites in Iraq, from Babylon and Kish to Ur and Uruk, from Nippur to Zabalam, many of them now being looted and despoiled." "In the meantime, the four, ranging in age from 24 to 31, roam the sprawling state university campus here, Ms. Mahmod and Ms. Mohammed, scrupulously covered, Mr. Ibraheem and Ms. Malko blending in with the other students, all of them studying archaeology, studying us and studying us studying them." "And another hurdle looms. Dr. Stone said she applied for the grant, with the understanding it would be a three-year program, the time needed for a meaningful master's program. But the money beyond the first year still has not been appropriated, and she has been told that because of the disastrous course of the war, education may be an unaffordable luxury and the money might go to security instead."

    Photo: "Kirk Condyles for The New York Times.  Zainab Mohammed, foreground, and Zaid Ibraheem at Stony Brook University. The archaeology students will share what they have learned when they return to Iraq."

  • F. Deblauwe, "Going, Going, Gone! A Report on Archaeological Sites in Iraq," in Archaeology Odyssey, with online teaser, November-December 2004: "Due to the continuing lack of security, journalists tend to stick close to Baghdad; they are unable to venture out into remote desert areas where most archaeological sites are located. Moreover, these out-of-the-way sites, unlike the National Museum in Baghdad, do not have large, well-educated staffs, and they do not have spokesmen, certainly none who speak English." [I may post some excerpts of the non-public main part later]

    Photo: [no caption; 1st two pages of article; 1st photo by John Russell, 2nd photo by AP/Micah Garen]

  • W.S. Weed, "The Worst Jobs in Science: The Sequel. Monitoring dumps, extracting worms, lobbying politicians: science's ugly side," in Popular Science, November 2004: "Iraqi Archaeologist. Worst Science Jobs II: Number 8" "The cradle of civilization and agriculture. The first place humans built cities. The birthplace of writing. And—oh, yeah—currently the best place in the world to get yourself kidnapped or killed. For archaeologists, there’s no plum like Iraq. Saddam actually let them do their job, and he even protected his country’s heritage in museums. But now no archaeologist can work in Iraq until security improves. Meanwhile more than 8,500 treasures have been stolen [actually: are still missing], and those are just from museums, where artifacts are cataloged. What truly troubles archaeologists is imagining what’s being taken from their dig sites in the field. Archaeologist Francis Deblauwe, who is trying to keep tabs on the looting, knows of more than 30 important digs, including ancient Babylon, that have been despoiled, but he notes that his list is 'very preliminary and grossly incomplete.' When the researchers do get to go back in, they’ll be able to determine which sites have been looted. But they’ll never know what’s been taken."

    Illustration: [no caption; as explained elsewhere, icons stand for "Risk of death," "Futile" and "Heartbreaking"]

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).