Iraq’s archaeological heritage at risk

Saturday 8 March 2003

The Archaeological Institute of America has urged protection of Iraq’s archaeological heritage:

As the oldest and largest organization in North America devoted to the study and preservation of the world’s cul­tur­al heritage, the Archaeological Institute of America ex­presses its profound concern about the potential for dam­age to monuments, sites, antiquities, and cultural institutions as a result of war.

Iraq, the land of Mesopotamia located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, is the home of some of the world’s oldest and most significant archaeological and cultural sites. One of the areas of initial agriculture and animal domestication, Iraq was the center of the development of cuneiform writing on clay tablets in ca. 3200 B.C. Nu­mer­ous archaeological sites relating to Biblical history and the Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian Empires are located in Iraq, including Babylon, Ur, Ashur, Nineveh and Nimrud. Iraq’s museums, particularly the national museum in Baghdad and the regional museum in Mosul, are repositories for countless irreplaceable sculptures, inscribed tablets, reliefs, cylinder seals and other cultural objects that record this history.

The AIA therefore urges all governments, working in accordance with the terms of the Hague Convention, in concert with recognized experts in the scholarly com­mu­ni­ty, to develop and implement carefully-researched pro­grams to protect ancient sites, monuments, monuments, antiquities, and cultural institutions in the case of war. The AIA also offers the expertise of its members to assist all governments in undertaking these programs.

filed under Archaeology

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