The looting goes on

Iraqi police seize stolen artifacts on way to be smuggled abroad
By Shaymaa
Azzaman, November 16, 2011

Iraqi police in the southern Province of Najaf have seized 40 artifacts belonging to different Mesopotamian periods, an Antiquities Department official said.

Abdulzahra al-Talaqani, the department’s spokesperson said, the stolen pieces were on their way to be smuggled out of the country.

Talaqani claimed the recent months have seen a surge in police activities in protecting Mesopotamian ruins.

Iraqi antiquities, like almost everything else in Iraq, have been the main victims of the 2003-U.S. invasion in whose immediate aftermath the Iraq Museum and several other provincial museums were looted.

Smugglers and illegal diggers invaded ancient sites and tens of thousands of artifacts are believed to have either been stolen or illegally dug up and sold.

Talaqani said smugglers and illegal diggers face harsh penalties if caught.

“Trading with stolen or smuggled ancient finds is punishable by at least 15 years in prison,” he said. “Using force to attack ancient sites and museums could lead to execution.”

At least one person was taken into custody pending trial when Najaf police stormed a house where the stolen pieces were kept, Talaqani said.

He did not comment on the archaeological significance of the artifacts.\2011-11-16\kurd.htm

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3 Responses to The looting goes on

  1. Krystel Roche says:

    With the war happening in Iraq, it’s obvious that they had lost and will lose artifacts that can help in the puzzle of the history of Mathematics. These ancient sites and artifacts that are worth a lot will affect Iraq. A lot of artifacts needed to explain the history of Mathematics are in Iraq; therefore these artifacts that have been stolen will affect the history of Mathematics and many stories will remain unknown. With such penalties even execution explain the importance of these ancient sites and artifacts. The fact that he did not comment about the archaeological significance of the artifacts mean that they meant to the country since it’s where they had their origins. Hopefully, with the war in Iraq, they don’t steal more of these documents because it will help and mean a lot to many professors especially math professors and fellow students like myself interested in the history of Mathematics. With incidents like these, the government should secure more these ancient sites and artifacts.

  2. Regina Shakirova says:

    Much like Plimpton 322, these rare glimpses into our past in Iraq are seemingly doomed. Mankind has a horrible history of looting and and destroying antiquities. The famed library at Alexandria burned to the ground destroying knowledge we may never know the benefit of. Who knows what secrets are holed away inside the vaults of the Vatican never to be revealed.
    The horror of the current wars in Iraq now make future searches of these once fertile fields scarier and unhealthier than ever thanks to the depleted uranium from today’s bullets and bombs, which will leave the land toxic for decades to come.

  3. jd069511 says:

    Looting history is what some people believe to be worth a lot of money. Since history cannot be remade, those pieces of history are invaluable and some people want that. It is like catching a rare animal and selling it. Artifacts are worth so much more than just money, it has significance to what we know today and understand. It is owning a piece of what made today – today.

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