When it first occurred, the looting of Iraq was one of the most publicly visible destructions of a nature’s culture that had been seen, with much of the ransacking shown on live TV feeds, while troops on the ground struggled to assess the situation. It has to an extent though helped people to understand the kind of situations in which many other artefacts in museums, such as the Benin Bronzes were acquired – a knowledge that we aren’t always talking about smugglers taking an artefact, but in many cases about violent acts of vandalism taking place at the same time.
Since the dark days of 2003, much has been done to help retrieve some of the items lost during the looting, although few would dispute that the best course of events would have been for the looting to have been prevented in the first place.
A new database now aims to catalogue much of Iraq’s ancient sites, with the intention that this will allow better monitoring & protection of them.
Iraq harnesses technology to protect ancient treasures
By Laura Allsop for CNN
July 21, 2011 — Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
(CNN) — Known to many as the “cradle of civilization,” Iraq is a treasure trove of important archaeological sites including Babylon, Ur and Nimrud.
Yet hostile circumstances on the ground have left the country’s antique heritage vulnerable to looting and damage.
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