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April 27, 2003

Looking back at the looting of Baghdad

Posted at 7:44 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Four articles look at different aspects of the looting of museums & archaeological sites in Iraq, whether similar things could happen in the west, & whether more steps could have been taken to anticipate it.

The British Museum has been eager to help the situation – which is to be welcomed, but at the same time is slightly odd behaviour, as so many of the museum’s own artefacts were acquired through similar situation in the past. Despite this fact though, they continue to maintain that what happened in the past was perfectly acceptable, but that what is happening now in Iraq is to be condemned.

From:
Post Gazette

Looting of Baghdad treasures shines light on a ‘dirty business’
Sunday, April 27, 2003
By Dennis B. Roddy, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The Byzantine frescos of Lysi, painted in Cyprus, kidnapped to Germany and now staring down from the ceiling of a museum chapel in Texas, testify by their travels that the world views much of its cultural legacy through a catalog of stolen property.

For nine centuries, the frescos hung unmolested on a small chapel in Cyprus before being cut from the ceiling by Turkish looters during the 1974 war. Ten years later, a Houston foundation, working with the Cypriot Orthodox Church, saved them and installed them in the museum chapel, where they are an example of the moral ambiguity of the antiquities trade.
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