Saturday, April 10, 2004


For the past year we've followed the archaeological looting in Iraq. Well, it seems things haven't gotten any better:
Across southern Iraq, often in the dead of night, tomb raiders and temple thieves are systematically looting ancient treasures that have lain undiscovered for thousands of years.

Using spades and working by the light of makeshift oil lamps, armed gangs are digging into the shifting sands at the edges of the Euphrates River plain to spirit away priceless artifacts buried with the Sumerian dynasties 5,000 years ago.

Before archaeologists can properly identify and excavate the sites, scattered across the river valley south of Babylon, the looters have already torn apart ancient temples, palaces and tombs that hold clues to the foundations of civilization.

And since archaeologists don’t know precisely what was there, no one will likely ever know what’s missing, meaning robbers are stealing history even before it’s been discovered.

Much of that is headed to the black market, off to private collections never to see the light of day again. There's really nothing for it as long as their society is in such chaos, but it truly is a crime to see it going on.

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