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Lost Treasures From Iraq

No other museum could rival the collections of Mesopotamian artifacts in the Iraq Museum. Spanning a time from before 9,000 B.C. well into to the Islamic period, the Iraq Museum''s collections included some of the earliest tools man ever made, painted polychrome ceramics from the 6th millennium B.C., a relief-decorated cult vase from Uruk, famous gold treasures from the Royal Cemetery at Ur, Sumerian votive statues from Tell Asmar, Assyrian reliefs and bull figures from the Assyrian capitals of Nimrud, Nineveh, and Khorsabad, and Islamic pottery and coins--an unrivaled treasure not only for Iraq, but for all mankind. In the days following the conquest of Baghdad by U.S. troops in April 2003, the Iraq Museum was looted... The full extent of the damage to the museum''s collection may not be known for a long time, but it seems clear that thousands of items were either stolen or destroyed. Irrespective of numbers, the losses not only to the world of archaeology but to mankind in general are tremendous. Scholars at the Oriental Institute are compiling a comprehensive database of objects from the Iraq Museum, which they hope will help to recover many of them. The items shown here provide an overview of some of the highlights of the Iraq Museum. We present these objects in categories defined by descriptive terms, consciously avoided scholarly typologies, which allows for objects to be assigned to multiple categories.

Publisher:  the Oriental Institute
Publication City:  Chicago
Date:  2003