Friday, May 9, 2008

Antiquities under Siege: Cultural Heritage Protection after the Iraq War

Antiquitiesundersiege The University of Chicago's Cultural Policy Center has just released Antiquities under Siege: Cultural Heritage Protection after the Iraq War.  Its website describes the book:

As Saddam Hussein's government fell in April 2003, news accounts detailed the pillaging of from the Iraq Museum. The looting of nearly 15,000 items from the Museum's collection grabbed headlines and briefly focused international attention on Iraq's threatened cultural heritage and the efforts to recover missing items. Less dramatic, though far more devastating, has been the subsequent epidemic of looting at thousands of archaeological sites around the country. Illegal digging on a massive scale continues to this day. If unaddressed, the same fundamental deficiencies that left Iraq's museums and sites vulnerable to looters will threaten the cultural heritage of other politically unstable regions.

Antiquities under Siege examines the criminal activity that continues to erode the traces of Mesopotamian, Judeo-Christian and Islamic cultures buried in the desert of Iraq, and investigates the global implications of this ongoing catastrophe. This book demonstrates that the disasters that have befallen Iraq's cultural heritage in the wake of the US-led invasion are both the result of the general failures of postwar planning and specific shortcomings in U.S. and international cultural policies protecting cultural heritage sites and artifacts.

Looks like a fantastic book!

Alfred Brophy.

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Bogdanos' contributions should be most interesting, since he was the Marine commander ostensibly in charge of protecting the museum and credited with the success in much of the returned/found items. He of course wrote a book about his experiences and is also a New York prosecutor.

I think the most obvious strategy for preventing some of the looting would be to NOT disband the army of an entire nation and its suburban police forces...but that's another debate for another forum apparently!

Posted by: Sam Gompers | May 12, 2008 6:41:57 AM