The Iraq War & Archaeology
Reviewed Articles Archive Eight: Second 1/2 of July 2003

This is the eighth 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.

  • [B. Mroue], "Marines at Gates of Babylon Work to Restore Ancient Capital," in Arizona Daily Sun, July 28, 2003: "The Americans are cleaning up after mobs of looters who ransacked the city's two museums, but fortunately got away mainly with small display copies of ancient artifacts. Museum managers, fearing looting as the U.S.-led coalition threatened war, had bricked up the museum windows. Most of the real artifacts were stored in vaults at the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, which also was looted. It is not known what portion of the stored Babylonian museum treasures were taken in looting of the Iraqi capital. The holes also were too small for looters to escape with the large pieces in the city's two museums, named after Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar." [lucky as those would presumably have been some of the real artifacts left]; "Nearly two weeks after Saddam Hussein's regime fell on April 9, U.S. Marines entered Babylon ... U.S. authorities 'pushed everybody outside the gate so that we could preserve the city.' Babylon has since been closed to the public, but the Marines hope to reopen the site within two months, said [U.S. Navy Chaplain Cmdr. Emilio] Marrero, ..." "Marrero said only three relics were displayed in the Nebuchadnezzar museum. They disappeared with the display copies. He said the Americans were trying to recover the pieces and had found some." [on August 2, Cdr. Marrero was so kind to e-mail me from the field to make an important correction: "What I said to the reporter and continue to state is that the Museum of Babylon has had two original pieces and both are intact within the museum. Neither was damaged nor handled. All of the other articles in this museum, which in fact were destroyed or stolen, were certified replicas. I have been informed by the Iraqi curators that all other originals were evacuated as early as 1989 to the National Museum in Baghdad."; he also added: "We are working to have the Iraqis resume management of the museum in the very near future but are in need of museum supplies limited here in Iraq (ie) display cases, labeling materials, cataloguing equipment, etc."]; "... Mariam Omran, director of Babylon's two museums, as she stood in one of Nebuchadnezzar Museum's four large rooms as workers painted the walls and fixed a miniature model of Babylon. The Coalition Provisional Authority, ... has spent $60,000 to repair the damage, an amount expected to double when the work is finished." "The Marines are getting ready to leave the area soon and will hand security over to Polish troops, Marrero said."

Photo: "The ancient City of Babylon as viewed from the Palace of ousted Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, 80 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq on Wednesday July 16, 2003. This 4,300-year-old town -now mainly an archaeological ruin with two important museums- knows political and military upheaval well. The American military is just the latest to pass through the Euphrates River city. And now U.S. soldiers and civilian occupation officials struggle with mixed success to put the city -with its deep resonance in so many important cultures - back together yet again. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)"

Photo 1: "Title: Books of the National Library stored in a mosque.  Date: June 2003"

Photo 2: "Title: Basra Central Public Library: books burnt to dust.  Date: June 2003"

  • A. Salinas, "UNESCO Set to Restore Iraqi Cultural Heritage," in Yahoo! News, with online video, July 21, 2003: video of returned and damaged artifacts in the National Museum as well as the damage in the burnt section of the National Library (?); interview with Mounir Bouchenaki: "... in the stores [i.e., storage rooms of the National Museum] there are thousands and we don't know if there are three or four thousand objects missing ..." [he keeps on quoting this too low number instead of the at least 13,000 which even Bogdanos uses; why I don't know]; video images do not synch well with voice-over or interview and there are no captions identifying any of the images

  • H. Külz, "Plünderung im Akkord," in Financial Times Deutschland (Germany), July 18, 2003: title reads "well-organized looting"; Dr. Margarete van Ess: some of these looters are technically very good, able to dig trenches with straight, vertical walls, I'd hire them for my excavation; the results of their labor are however "ground-shaking," they are exploiting the sites on a nearly industrial, well-organized basis; only 47 sites are now protected by the US military; the Department of Antiquities used to employ 25,000 people before the 1991 Gulf War, then cutbacks left only 10 cars and helicopter patrols were impossible due to the no-fly zones; the Department now employs 1,500 again; Jay Kislak, new chairman of the President’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Property, states that he's never heard of the ACCP even though its treasurer William Pearlstein says that Kislak has been invited to its meetings
Photo 1: "Margarete van Ess (M. van Ess)" [notice the nice Tower of Babel print]

Photo 2: "Geplünderte Regale im Nationalmuseum in Bagdad (M. van Ess)" [looted shelves in the National Museum in Baghdad]

Photo 3: "Beschlagnahmte Exponate (AP)" [confiscated exhibits]

Photo 4: "Ein amerikanischer Soldat nimmt einen Plünderer fest (AP)" [an American soldier arrests a looter]

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).