I was at the Louvre about a month and a half ago - I think that has the biggest collection of Mesopotamian artefacts outside the Middle East. Anyway, a lot of these artefacts are really amazing to see close up, and it saddens me that most of the stuff stolen from the museums in Baghdad will end up broken, lost, or in private collections where hardly anyone will get to see them. The role of a museum is to preserve, display and educate - Baghdad's cultural future will be far worse off if things are not returned.
Right now I am not saddened. Why? Because several leading archaeologists believe that most everything in the musuem were fakes or repoductions. I would not be surprised if anything of value was sold off by the former Iraqi regime years and years ago...now that is terrible.
I have been studying Mesopotamian archaeology for over a decade and the news of the looting of the Iraqi National Museum sent a shock wave that left me reeling.People such as myself have been awaiting such a regime change so access to this museum and Iraqi excavation sites would be more readily available to us,and now this. I was dismayed
and I am sure if Indiana Jones wasn't a fictional character
he would have been too.I'll bet alot of Indy's character has rubed off on to Harrison Ford in real life and the man might just know a thing or two about the field of archaeology himself,by now.Anything says that HE was royaly ticked off by this recent development. The poster who said Iraq had a rich history wasn't kidding either,The first civilization of mankind,The Summerians,appeared in this particular locality,and the fact that they bequeathed to us
so many artifacts that have endured through the ages is testimony to their greatness,which can not be said of all cultures even since them.Iraq also had The Akkadians,The Babylonians,and The Assyrians.Sassanians and Achaemenid Persians,Pheonecians,Hittites,Cannanites,and Elamites all traded throughout the vicinity.Who knows what treasures were plundered,hopefully,perhaps,some amount of the antiquities housed therein still remain there,in the museum,unmolested.
There's a powerful moment in the documentary "No End in Sight", which is a chronicle of the missteps made in Iraq, that deals with the looting and near complete destruction of the Iraq national museum.
Whatever your politics, no one can overstate the scope of the tragedy -- or historical significance -- resulting from this devastation. The museum housed some of the OLDEST ARTIFACTS IN ALL HUMAN HISTORY -- dating as far back as 5,000 years! -- and, for whatever reasons, the American military officials chose not to sufficiently protect it in advance.
There was news footage of an Iraqi who was weeping -- not because his neighborhood or home were destroyed, but because the artifacts in the museum were lost. It's more than just about one nation or culture vs. another...but about our shared humanity, and the terrible loss of our collective past.
Think of it this way: If your home was on fire, and your family and pets had already safely evacuated, what are the first things you would go back and try to save?
The most common answer: family photos. Why? Because they are the closest things we have to hold onto our past -- they are our memories made tangible, and they can not be replaced. In losing them, we'd feel like we'd lose a part of ourselves.
Last edited by Adam McDaniel : 06-23-2008 at 06:33 PM.
he might be sad for the sake of culture, but then again he might not be too upset seeing as how modern international laws of archaeology would prohibit him from removing artifacts from thier native soils. He'd probably be more upset with the way Egypt ships around the same crappy King Tut exhibit every few years without showing the real goods.