Iraqi Antiquities

The well presented speech by Elizabeth Stone, titled "The Cradle Will Fall: The State of Iraq's Cultural Heritage" concentrated mainly on the topic of Antiquities.Through Iraq's long history concerning, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Samarra, its temples and shrines and elaborate palaces, many antiquities were found, preserved, and were treasured in Iraq's museums.
While there are many laws prohibiting the trading of antiquities, it still occurs, mainly in The United States.For example, a statue of Hercules; The United States owns the top half, while Iraq has the other half.Obviously we purchased or took this item illegally but we claim there is no proof that the two halves were once whole.The main law of cultural heritage in times of war is the Hague Convention.This requires a country to protect its antiquities when they have knowledge they will be attacked, also occupying powers must protect the cultural heritage of the occupied land.
Before being bombed by SCUD missiles from Iran, Iraq had the best antiquities department in the Middle East, soon after Iraq was forced to close its museums and galleries.Then the Gulf War came and Iraq was once again forced to pack up their antiquities, they were moved to regional museums and the most prized valuables were stored in vaults.The aftermath of this war led to looting of local museums; over two-thousand objects were stolen.Sanctions included the leaving of staff, and many valuables stayed in storage.By the 2003 war it was almost as if it was routine for Iraq.Looting led to the disappearance of 10,000 to 13,000 objects, many libraries and offices were destroyed, and the bank, which house the most prized valuables was bombed.Reconstruction is taking place now, furniture and electronics are being donated and stolen objects started showing up from guilty feeling looters.Italians bought many antiquities off the market and gave them back to Iraq. …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *