Nov 29


From Spoils of War: The Antiquities Trade and the Looting of Iraq

“Iraq is losing more of its antiquities each day from looting of sites than were taken from the museum,” says Dr. Gibson. Eleanor Robson of All Souls College, Oxford, points out, “Only the most complete, robust and attractive artifacts make it from the looter’s pick to the middleman’s hands: somewhat less than 1 percent of the assemblage an academic archaeologist might salvage. The other 99 percent is destroyed in the process of excavation or discarded as unsaleably unattractive or unstable. Needless to say, all archaeological context is demolished in the looting process too, from the large-scale built environment (usually made of fragile mud-brick) to the microscopic food residues detectable on ancient floors and storage vessels.”


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mother jones nytimes

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