The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Seventy-Three: First 1/2 of April 2006

This is the seventy-third 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.

  • R. Kaysen, "This Downtowner got back stolen treasures from the ‘thieves of Baghdad,’" in Downtown Express (New York), 18, 47 (April 7, 2006): "'The vast majority of the time <that I was in Iraq and Afghanistan> I was doing bad things to bad people, the antiquities was an ideal, wonderful, golden way to rise up out of that mire,' he told Downtown Express, ..." "Shortly after his return to the U.S. in 2005, customs inspectors at Newark Airport discovered four Federal Express boxes containing 669 artifacts stolen from the museum. The smugglers and the intended recipient alluded authorities. Now in the Reserves, Bogdanos is at the Manhattan D.A.’s office, continuing to search for antiquities in a position that never previously existed."

    Photo: "Col. Bogdanos, fourth from right, in front of one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces in Basra in April 2003 with some of the team that tracked down stolen artifacts. He will be discussing the book he co-wrote, 'Thieves of Baghdad,' Monday at P.S./I.S. 89."

  • R. Cohen, "The Ghost in the Baghdad Museum," in The New York Times, April 2, 2006: "For the director of a shuttered museum in a country at war, the imaginary can be a welcome refuge. Condemned to contemplate his own and his country's fate in great halls emptied of visitors, Donny George paces past showcases of ancient vessels and jars and clay tablets, and he dreams. In his mind's eye, the museum director sees the grand opening: the courtyard filled with 1,000 guests, succulent lamb and sumptuous dates on tables beneath the palms, a Baghdad chamber quartet playing, the spirited talk of civilized people ... Under Saddam Hussein, he learned to live a double life: praising the dictator in public, worrying in private. He was a member of Mr. Hussein's now-disbanded Baath Party. Not to be, he says, would have meant dismissal and the abandonment of archaeological excavations, his great love. Compromise is woven into the texture of his life. Now, as the director general of Iraqi museums, his new title [actually, he was subsequently promoted to chairman of the whole State Board of Antiquities and Heritage], he inhabits a labyrinth. The Interior Ministry has been urging him to reopen the National Museum, saying it will provide him with 1,000 guards if necessary. 'But then it's no longer a museum,' Mr. George said. 'It's a barracks.'" "'Everyone, deep in himself, is grateful to the United States that they helped us get rid of this regime,' Mr. George said. 'But the uncontrolled situation [i.e., the looting of the Museum in April 2003], that is another thing. Why was it not controlled?' In Baghdad today, as the concrete blast walls multiply, control seems almost unimaginable. Since 2003, three museum employees — an archaeologist, an accountant and a driver — have been killed."

    "Mr. George was sitting in a comfortable office with cellphones, a computer, the Internet. American money and American experts have produced results. More than $2 million from the State Department, the Packard Humanities Institute of Los Altos, Calif., and the Iraqi Culture Ministry have gotten the roof repaired, the telephone system transformed, the fences upgraded, guard houses built, the plumbing fixed, the windows washed, locks coordinated, the air-conditioning upgraded, surveillance cameras installed and an electronic security system activated. After years of gradual decay under Mr. Hussein, the museum has had a face-lift. 'The assistance we have asked for from the State Department we have had, and we are grateful,' Mr. George said. Asked whether he thought guilt drove this American largess, he joked, 'I would love them to feel that.'" "Most of the approximately 10,000 artifacts still missing [from the Museum] are smaller items: gems, jewelry, terracotta figurines and cylinder seals. ... Mr. [John] Russell said that the smaller artifacts 'are easy enough to sell if you clean off the acquisition numbers.' Still, over time, he said, they may be identified and recovered if customs and law enforcement officials step up their efforts." [this article is similar to Cohen February 25, 2006]


All photos: "Max Becherer/Polaris, for The New York Times"

Photo 1: "Donny George admires the detail of Assyrian reliefs at the National Museum in Baghdad, which remains closed to the public."

Photo 2: "Donny George, the head of Iraqi museums, at the National Museum in Baghdad."

Photo 3: "In another room stands a statue of Nabu, the Babylonian god of wisdom and literature."

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).