Atlantis Online
December 04, 2022, 08:00:48 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Did Humans Colonize the World by Boat?
Research suggests our ancestors traveled the oceans 70,000 years ago
http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jun/20-did-humans-colonize-the-world-by-boat
 
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Resurrecting the Baghdad National Museum

Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Resurrecting the Baghdad National Museum  (Read 936 times)
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« on: May 08, 2008, 09:57:07 am »



Artifacts await unveiling in a newly refurbished hall
of the Baghdad museum, which recently recovered
hundreds of stolen pieces.

Photo taken May 6, 2008.
Mark Kukis for TIME









                                                Resurrecting the Baghdad Museum





By ABIGAIL HAUSLOHNER
BAGHDAD, Iraq
Wed May 7, 2008
 
In the shadowy halls of the Iraqi National Museum, the remnants of Babylon seem largely forgotten. The carved stone forms of 2,000-year-old rulers are scattered haphazardly throughout a maze of high-ceilinged, dusty halls; their silent expressions barely visible beneath even dustier shrouds of plastic wrap. Not a single tourist graces the building, where cardboard boxes and broken office chairs mingle with the treasure left in disarray.
 
The gloomy state of Baghdad's national museum comes as no surprise if you know its recent history. During the lawlessness following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the museum, which once housed the world's largest collection of Mesopotamian antiquities, was looted and ransacked beyond recognition. The event saw thousands of artifacts lost to international smuggling. For Iraqis the museum had been a showcase of their country's 7,000-year old heritage and its fate was felt with great bitterness.


Yet, despite the museum's current appearances, not all hope is lost. In fact, events of the past year, and especially recent weeks, would suggest the museum is making a comeback, albeit a slow one. Last week, the Iraqi government celebrated the return by Syrian authorities of more than 700 stolen artifacts, worth millions of dollars. Among them are gold necklaces, daggers, statues and pottery dating from the Islamic period to the Bronze Age. Negotiations with the Syrian government over the pieces took about three years, according to the museum's deputy director, Mahsen Hassan Ali. But it represents the biggest homecoming of looted Iraqi antiquities to date, and was hailed as a significant victory by the Iraqi government.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2008, 10:06:00 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2008, 09:59:07 am »









Muna Hassan, the head of a committee working on the restoration of pieces returned by Syria, says that further negotiations are now in the works with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy and Germany. So far, Ali says roughly 4,000 stolen pieces have been returned to the museum - most of them confiscated within Iraq's borders. Two days ago, an Iraqi citizen in the southern city of Nasiriyah offered the museum 643 artifacts, some of which he claimed to have excavated himself, said one museum official, who was not authorized to speak to the press. Many other items looted from Iraq's museums are believed to have traveled outside national borders, and most are now suspected to be in neighboring Arab countries and Europe, Ali said. "We have valuable items in Saudi Arabia, in the United Emirates, in Kuwait, in Egypt, and in other Arab countries. In Jordan there is a massive quantity of 1,600 pieces," he told TIME. On Wednesday, an Iraqi television network tied to the government announced that official negotiations with Jordan over those items had begun.


Museum officials hail success on another front as well. The past year saw a sharp drop in sectarian violence across the country due to the combined effects of a major milita's cease-fire with the government, the expansion of Sunni tribal cooperation with U.S. forces, and the U.S. troop surge. Now, says one museum official, archaeologists are taking advantage of those gains. "After the events of 2003, there was no security. When stability returned to some of the provinces, we resumed excavations," said the official, who added that 11 sites were excavated in 2007 across southern Iraq, in areas like Diwaniya, Basra, and Babil. "This year we have plans to excavate again in the town of al-Hathar, just outside Mosul [in northern Iraq], but the security situation there is still bad," the official said.


The museum's deputy director Ali says the institution lost an estimated 15,000 of some 200,000 artifacts during the days of looting and chaos that followed the U.S. invasion of Baghdad. In March UNESCO said that between 3,000 and 7,000 of those pieces are still missing. Nevertheless, some museum officials say the number of missing items is impossible to pinpoint because of lost records. "We have some of the records, but others were taken... Outside of Iraq, people want proof that the pieces were taken from the museum. That is the problem now because we lost some of the files... I don't know the total number of artifacts before the looting. But we have 27 halls and they were all full," said the official, gesturing to a passageway lined with empty glass cases.
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2008, 10:00:41 am »








Ali, who insists that the unique characteristics of Iraqi antiquities are known worldwide, says the process of reclaiming the items can take a long time due to each country's regulations. "Each country has its own specific rule, and whatever they find in their country, they have a special law to deal with extracting it," he said. As for how long that may take: "It depends on the politics of each country, and how much they're willing to cooperate. Of course there are some uncooperative countries."


Perhaps not surprisingly, funding is another obstacle. Rehabilitation of the museum ranks low on the government's list of priorities in a country that continues to be wracked by violence, corruption and food scarcities. "It's very little," said the official of the museum's annual allotment from the Ministry of Finance. "We need more."


Indeed the museum's recovery may take a long time, and few who witnessed the looting have forgotten the frustration they felt as Iraq's riches were plundered. Five years after that catastophe, the centerpiece of Iraqi historical glory remains closed to the public. When it will reopen remains unknown. The larger stone pieces that never escaped the museum walls because of their weight remain in the shadows where they were left, some of them cracked from the failed efforts of looters to chip away chunks. But in one of the 27 halls, where intricately carved Sumerian wall panels depicting winged bulls beside kings were just too heavy to cart away, and where some repairs have been made to broken statues, the lucky visitor can catch a glimpse of the museum that once was - and what it may some day be again. "We are optimistic and we all have hope," said the museum official. "God willing, whenever we get our artifacts back, it will be a joyful day for all of us."



With reporting by Mazin Ezzat/Baghdad View this article on:


http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1738136,00.html?xid=feed-yahoo-full-world




Related articles on Time.com:

Case of the Looted Relics
Iraq's Next Fault Line
The Museum World's Italian Sheriff
« Last Edit: May 08, 2008, 10:02:23 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2008, 10:08:35 am »



Recovered artifacts are seen on display at the Iraqi National
Museum in Baghdad April 27, 2008.

More than 700 artifacts that were stolen during the fall of
Saddam Hussein's regime were turned over by the Syrian
authorities to the national museum, a museum official said.

REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz (IRAQ)
Photo Tools







                                     Iraqi museum receives 701 artifacts stolen during looting





Sun Apr 27, 2008
 
BAGHDAD - The Iraqi National Museum is welcoming home 701 artifacts stolen during the looting after Saddam Hussein's ouster in 2003.
 
Syrian authorities turned over items ranging from golden necklaces to clay pots that were seized by traffickers in the neighboring country.

The antiquities were displayed in a ceremony Sunday at the Baghdad museum.

Iraqi officials say Syria is the first country to hand over a large quantity of stolen antiquities. They hope others will follow its lead as Iraq struggles to restore its rich cultural heritage after five years of war.

Museums were pillaged of treasures in the chaos that followed the U.S.-led invasion.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2008, 10:10:06 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2008, 10:11:17 am »






                                                                                       
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2008, 10:12:19 am »








Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2008, 10:13:29 am »



A museum employee carries a recovered artifact to be dis-
played at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad April 27,
2008.

More than 700 artifacts that were stolen during the fall of
Saddam Hussein's regime were turned over by the Syrian
authorities to the museum, a museum official said.

REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz (IRAQ)
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2008, 10:14:43 am »
















Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2008, 10:15:46 am »






Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2008, 10:30:07 am »



IRAQ NATIONAL MUSEUM








                                                  National Museum of Iraq




 
The National Museum of Iraq (Arabic,المتحف الوطني العراقي ) is a museum located in Baghdad, Iraq.

It contains priceless relics from Mesopotamian civilization, some of which was looted in 2003 during the Iraq War.

It was established by the British traveller and author Gertrude Bell and opened shortly before her death in 1926.
It was originally known as the Baghdad Archaeological Museum.






GERTRUDE BELL


BIOGRAPHY OF G. BELL:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Bell
« Last Edit: May 08, 2008, 10:38:31 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2008, 10:41:09 am »









Collections



Because of the archaeological riches of Mesopotamia, its collections are amongst the most important
in the world; and it has a fine record of scholarship and display.

The British connection with the museum (and with Iraq) means that exhibits have always been displayed bilingually (English and Arabic).

It contains important artifacts from the over 5,000 year long history of Mesopotamia in 28 galleries and vaults.





Recent history



Closed in 1991 during the Gulf War, out of fear of further U.S. air-strikes it was not re-opened until April 28, 2000, former President Saddam Hussein's birthday.

It was only ever open to Saddam's personal friends. It was never open to the public during Saddam's reign.

The Museum became known as "Saddam's personal treasure chest".
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2008, 10:48:24 am »

Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2008, 10:51:59 am »










                                           Damage and losses during 2003 war




 
In the months preceding the 2003 Iraq war, starting in December and January, various antiquities experts, including representatives from the American Council for Cultural Policy asked The Pentagon and the UK government to ensure the museum's safety from both combat and looting. Although promises were not made, U.S. forces did avoid bombing the site.

On 8 April 2003 the last of the museum staff left the museum. Iraqi forces, in violation of Geneva Conventions, engaged U.S. forces from within the museum, as well as the nearby Special Republican Guard compound. Lt. Col. Eric Schwartz of the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division stated that he was unable to enter the compound and secure it since they attempted to avoid returning fire at the building. Sniper positions, discarded ammunition, and 15 Iraqi Army uniforms were later discovered in the building. Iraqi forces had built a fortified wall along the western side of the compound, allowing concealed movement between the front and rear of the museum.

Thefts took place between 8 April and 12 April, when some staff returned to the building. U.S. forces, headed by Marine Col. Matthew Bogdanos, entered the compound on 16 April, and initiated an investigation on 21 April. His investigation indicated that despite claims to the contrary, no U.S. forces had looted the building, and that there were three separate thefts by three distinct groups over the four days. While the staff instituted a storage plan to prevent theft and damage (also used during the Iran-Iraq War and the first Gulf War), many larger statues, steles, and friezes had been left in the public galleries, protected with foam and surrounded by sandbags.[2] Forty pieces were stolen from these galleries, mostly the more valuable. Of these 13 have been recovered as of January 2005, including the three most valuable the Sacred Vase of Warka (though broken in fourteen pieces,which was the original state it was found in when first escavated ), the Mask of Warka, and the Bassetki Statue.

In addition, the museum's aboveground storage rooms were looted; the exterior steel doors showed no signs of forced entry. Approximately 3,100 excavation site pieces (jars, vessels, pottery shards, etc.) were stolen, of which over 3,000 have been recovered. The thefts did not appear to be discriminating; for example, an entire shelf of fakes was stolen, while an adjacent shelf of much greater value was undisturbed.

The third occurrence of theft was in the underground storage rooms, where evidence pointed to an inside job. The thieves attempted to steal the most easily transportable objects, which had been intentionally stored in the most remote location possible. Of the four rooms, the only portion disturbed was a single corner in the furthest room, where cabinets contained 100 small boxes containing cylinder seals, beads, and jewelry. Evidence indicated that the thieves possessed keys to the cabinets but dropped them in the dark. Instead, they stole 10,000 small objects that were lying in plastic boxes on the floor. Of them, nearly 2,500 have been recovered.
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2008, 10:55:14 am »










                                          International reaction to the looting





The U.S. government was criticised for doing nothing to protect the museum after occupying Baghdad.Dr.

Irving Finkel of the British Museum said the looting was "entirely predictable and could easily have
been stopped." Martin Sullivan, chairman of the U.S. President's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property, and State Department cultural advisors Gary Vikan and Richard S. Lanier resigned in protest.

The extent of the looting of Iraq's National Museum has been disputed but all sources agree that it took place. Telegraph reported in 2003:

"Officials at the National Museum of Iraq have blamed shoddy reporting amid the "fog of war" for creating the impression that the majority of the institution's 170,000 items were looted in the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad.

A carefully prepared storage plan, used in the Iran-Iraq war and the first Gulf war, ensured that tens of thousands of pieces were saved, they said. They now believe that the number of items taken was in the low thousands, and possibly hundreds."

A figure of hundreds was, however, abandoned when later official and coalition sources (referred to below) suggested that between 3,000 and 10,000 items were unaccounted for.

When asked why the U.S. military did not try to guard the museum in the days after the invasion succeeded, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said "If you remember, when some of that looting was going on, people were being killed, people were being wounded.... It's as much as anything else a matter of priorities." Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who described the period of looting in general as "untidiness", said of the museum's looting, "To try to pass off the fact of that unfortunate activity to a deficit in the war plan strikes me as a stretch." Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "The United States understands its obligations and will be taking a leading role with respect to antiquities in general but this museum in particular."

Dr. Donny George, General Director Research Studies for the Board of Antiquities in Iraq, said of the looting, "It's the crime of the century, because it affects the heritage of all mankind". After the U.S. Marines set up headquarters in Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, George said he went there to plead for troops to protect the remainder of the Museum collection, but no guards were sent for another three days. Whether or not this is due to continued fighting is unclear.
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2008, 10:57:17 am »









                                            Attempts to recover lost items





A few days later, agents of the FBI were sent to Iraq to search for stolen Museum property.

UNESCO organized an emergency meeting of antiquities experts on April 17, 2003 in Paris to deal with the aftermath of the looting and its effects on the global art and antiquities market.

On April 18, 2003, the Baghdad Museum Project was formed in the United States with a proposal to assure the National Museum of Iraq every possibility of the eventual safe return of its collection, even if that is to take hundreds of years. Rather than focus only on law enforcement and the current antiquities market, the group seeks to  establish a comprehensive online catalog of all cultural artifacts in the museum's collection,  create a virtual Baghdad Museum that is accessible to the general public over the Internet,  build a 3D collaborative workspace within the virtual Baghdad Museum for design and fundraising purposes, and  establish a resource center within the virtual Baghdad Museum for community cultural development.

Various ancient items believed looted from the museum have surfaced in Jordan, the United States, Switzerland, and Japan, and on eBay. Among those arrested for attempting to bring looted antiquities into the United States were a reporter and a camera man for Fox News.

On May 7, 2003, U.S. officials announced that nearly 40,000 manuscripts and 700 artifacts belonging to the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad were recovered by U.S. Customs agents working with museum experts in Iraq. Some looters had returned items after promises of rewards and amnesty, and many items previously reported missing had actually been hidden in secret storage vaults at the museum prior to the outbreak of war.

On June 7, 2003, U.S. authorities announced that world famous treasures of Nimrud were recovered from a secret vault in Iraq's Central Bank. The artifacts included necklaces, plates, gold earrings, finger and toe rings, bowls and flasks. Officials said that of the 170,000 items initially believed missing, just 3,000 remained unaccounted for. And, of those, 47 were main exhibition artifacts.

In November, 2003 Coalition officials reported a few dozen of the most important items remained missing from the museum's public galleries, along with another 10,000 other items -- most of them tiny and some of them fragments.
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy