The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Forty: Second 1/2 of November 2004

This is the fortieth 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.

  • "N.E.H. project connects Chicago and Baghdad museum collections," in The University of Chicago, online, November 29, 2004: "... a $100,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. Given as part of the NEH’s 'Recovering Iraq’s Past' initiative, the Diyala Project grant will fund the launch of the Oriental Institute’s on-line Diyala database. The database will contain a full publication of all artifacts recovered during the institute’s excavations on archaeological sites in the Diyala River Basin northeast of Baghdad between 1930 and 1936. At their time, these excavations were the most carefully executed and documented in modern-day Iraq. Once completed, the Web site will contain the largest single on-line collection of excavated artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia available in the world. The Web site will have particular value in the wake of the looting of the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad in April 2003. About half of the objects gathered in the excavation were located in the Iraq museum. While a final tally of the losses incurred during the looting is still missing, some 600 Diyala cylinder seals have been confirmed to be missing. Fortunately, all of these objects were photographed during the institute’s excavation; ..." "'It also provides a way to search the whole range of different kinds of field records of artifacts, architecture, texts and stratigraphy in a completely new way. This is something that has never been possible to do before, and it will provide us with major new insights. It is also revolutionary in the way it links two spatially separated collections of artifacts—one essentially inaccessible in Baghdad and one in Chicago. I think this project may well represent the future of archaeological publication,' [Gil] Stein [Director of the Oriental Institute] said. Clemens Reichel, a Research Associate at the Oriental Institute, is the principal investigator for the Diyala Web site project. George Sundell, a retired data architect, has been working as the project’s database designer. Volunteers are helping with much of the primary work, such as data entry and the scanning of photographic negatives and of archival material."
    "Working at the sites of Tell Agrab, Tell Asmar, Ishchali and Khafaje, the Oriental Institute team uncovered temples, palaces, domestic quarters and workshops, dating from 3200 to 1800 B.C., a time when large territorial states emerged in Mesopotamia, urban centers were developed and writing was invented." "Their meticulous record-keeping is reflected in an enormous collection of archival material, now housed in the Oriental Institute’s Museum Archives, including field plans, field and object photographs, field object registers, notebooks, and diaries. All of these sources, both published and unpublished, will now be scanned, indexed and included in a virtual archive as part of the project’s on-line database, providing a comprehensive research tool for scholars who wish to further investigate the archaeological sequence of the Diyala sites." "While primarily intended to serve as a scholarly publication, the Web site also will address the interest of the general public. 'Our site will feature educational components that could easily be used as teaching tools in schools,' Reichel explained. 'By ‘walking’ on the computer screen through the plan of a selected building, for example, students will be able to call up images and descriptions of artifacts found in each room. Such exercises will not only help students do their own virtual digging, but also will help them understand the importance of properly recorded archaeological context for ancient artifacts—an important message at a time when so many objects from illicit excavations in post-war Iraq are flooding the antiquities market,' Reichel said."

    Photo 1: "Statue hoard" [from the 1930s excavations, maybe at Tell Asmar?  the largest figurine, on the right, looks very similar to no. 33 in the Oriental Institute's Lost Treasures from Iraq database if it isn't one and the same]

    Photo 2: "Vessel bearer"

  • "Minister Svoboda Met Iraqi Historic Monument Conservation Experts," in Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, online, November 23, 2004: "On 23rd November 2004, Minister of Foreign Affairs Cyril Svoboda received 12 Iraqi experts and Baghdad Museum collections administrators at the Czernin Palace. These Iraqi experts ... take part in Litomyšl and Prague in expert courses focused on restoration and conservation techniques in the area of painting, sculpture and paper. Part of the course are theoretical and practical exercises, as well as field trips to Czech cultural sites. The course is organised by the Institute of Restoration and Conservation Techniques in Litomyšl. This two months expert training is taking place in the framework of the Programme of Aid to the Republic of Iraq [']Cultural Heritage Restoration'."

    Photo: [no caption]

  • "Mon Nov 22, 9:50 AM ET  -  Blindfolded detainees are seen next to stolen artifacts following their arrest in the southern city of Basra, November 22, 2004. A gang of four Iranians and seven Iraqis was captured in a Basra hotel on Monday after finding stolen artifacts in their room, which later on they admitted that they were planning to smuggle out of the country. Iraqi police said they will hold them until the investigation is over. REUTERS/Atef Hassan"[Yahoo! News Photos]

    "Mon Nov 22, 9:28 AM ET  -  Masked Iraqi policemen guard Iranian and Iraqi smugglers following their arrest in the southern city of Basra, November 22, 2004. A gang of four Iranians and seven Iraqis was captured in a Basra hotel on Monday after being suspected of smuggling stolen artifacts. REUTERS/Atef Hassan" [Yahoo! News Photos]

    "Mon Nov 22, 8:27 AM ET  -  Iraqi policeman displays a rocket launcher and historical artifacts found when police in Basra, Iraq ..., arrested a group of Iranian smugglers, who are shown bound and blindfolded in the background, Monday Nov. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Nabil Al-Jurani)" [Yahoo! News Photos]

  • C.J. Patton, "Archaeologist discusses Iraq’s relics. The Boston professor says conflicts in past decades have damaged artifacts," in The Shorthorn (Texas), November 17, 2004: "'Since the Gulf War, there have been some bright moments but not many,' Zimansky said. 'I think it’s important to be aware of what we’ve lost and what we’re losing.'" "'If you talk about the entire span of written human history, half of it is Mesopotamian, and the other half is everyone else,' he said." "Although several pieces were again hidden away in secret, Zimansky said the [National M]useum suffered a tremendous loss with the final total of stolen or destroyed relics between 10,000 and 15,000."

    Photo: "The Shorthorn: Chris Fox  -  Paul Zimansky, archaeology professor from the University of Boston, displayed many slides from his trips in Iraq during his lecture Tuesday night"

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).