Jan 16

Camping at Babylon


Sadly, for two years, the site of Babylon, in Iraq, has been used as a US and Polish military camp occupied by as many as 2000 soldiers. Considerable damage to artifacts and the archaeological record is the result. According to The Guardian, John Curtis, keeper of the British Museum’s Ancient Near East collection, followed up on an extensive report submitted by Polish archaeologists in preparation for the hand over yesterday to the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage in the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. Curtis himself observed a

2,600-year-old brick pavement crushed by military vehicles, archaeological fragments scattered across the site, and trenches driven into ancient deposits […] cracks and gaps where somebody had tried to gouge out the decorated bricks forming the famous dragons of the Ishtar Gate.

More needless destruction from fuel leakage to bringing in gravel and earth from outside the site is detailed in his report [doc]. (Via Mark Bernstein)

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