The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq

March 2008
24 colour, 44 black and white, 1 line illustrations
352 pages
24x17.2 cm
Heritage Matters
Boydell Press

The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq

Edited by Peter G. Stone, Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly


Hardback out of stock

An important study of the treatment of cultural property, and cultural heritage in general, in all modern theatres of conflict.
Discussion of the issues surrounding the destruction of cultural property in times of conflict has become a key issue for debate around the world. This book provides an historical statement as of 1st March 2006 concerning the destruction of the cultural heritage in Iraq. In a series of chapters it outlines the personal stories of a number of individuals who were - and in most cases continue to be - involved. These individuals are involved at all levels, and come from various points along the political spectrum, giving a rounded and balanced perspective so easily lost in single authored reports. It also provides the first views written by Iraqis on the situation of archaeology in Iraq under Saddam and an overview and contextualisation of the issues surrounding the looting, theft and destruction of the archaeological sites, the Iraqi National museum and the libraries in Baghdad since the war was launched in 2003. Beyond this, it examines our attitudes towards the preservation of cultural and heritage resources and, in particular, the growing political awareness of their importance. Although related to a single conflict, taking place at a specific time in history, the relevance of this work goes far beyond these self-imposed boundaries.

PETER STONE is Professor of Heritage Studies and Head of School of Arts and Cultures at Newcastle University; JOANNE FARCHAKH BAJJALY is a Lebanese archaeologist and Middle East correspondent for the French magazine Archéologia.

Table of Contents

Foreword - Robert FISK
Introduction - Peter G. Stone and Joanne Farchakh Bajjally
The Importance of Iraq's Cultural Heritage - Jean-Louis HUOT
The Story of the Iraq Museum - Lamia al Gailani WERR
The Acquisition of Antiquities in Iraq - McGuire GIBSON
The Market Background to the plunder of the Iraq National Museum - Neil BRODIE
The Metropolitan Police's Art and Antiquities Unit - Vernon RAPLEY
War, Cultural Property and the Blue Shield - Sue COLE
The Identification and Protection of Cultural Heritage during the Iraq War: A peculiarly English Tale - Peter G. Stone
Damage to Iraq's wider heritage - Usam GHAIDAN
The Looting of the Iraq National Museum - Donny GEORGE
Thieves of Baghdad - Matthew BOGDANOS
Will Mesopotamia survive the War? - Joanne Farchakh Bajjally
The Damage Sustained to the Ancient City of Babel - Miriam MOUSSA
The Damage Sustained to the Ancient City of Ur - Abdulamir HAMDANI
Inside the CPA - John Malcolm RUSSELL
The Battle for Babylon - Zainab BAHRANI
Embedded Archaeology: an exercise in self reflection - Rene TEIJGELER
Change in the Legal Regime Protecting Cultural Heritage - Patty GERSTENBLITH
UNESCO's Post Conflict Strategies for Safeguarding Cultural Heritage - Phillippe DELANGHE
The Role of the British Museum in the Protection of Iraqi Cultural Heritage - John CURTIS
The European Response to the Destruction of the Iraqi Cultural Heritage - Margarete VAN ESS
The Work of the French Archaeological Institutes for Iraq - Bertrand LAFONT
The Contribution of the Centro Scavi di Torino - Roberto PARAPETTI
Italian Carabineers and the Protection of Iraqi Cultural Heritage - Ugo ZOTTIN
Polish Activity on Behalf of the Protection of Iraqi Cultural Heritage - Lukasz OLEDZKI
Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology in and for Iraq - Margaret COX
Iraqi Archives and Libraries in Peril - Jeff SPURR
'Mohamed is Absent. I am Performing' Contemporary Iraqi Art and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage - Bernadette BUCKLEY
Author's Biographies


An extraordinary achievement that will stand as the definitive account of the desperate, avoidable cultural tragedy of Iraq for many years to come. THES
This book is mandatory reading for anybody who expresses an opinion about archaeologists and the invasion of Iraq. BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY

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