Iraqi History and Archaeology

The story of the looting of the Iraqi National Museum and other museums in Iraq is an interesting and deeply discouraging one. A giant hole has been blasted in the world’s stock of available knowledge that will never be completely repaired. Even if all the missing artworks do eventually turn up on the black market (a highly unlikely if), that still leaves all the books and manuscripts that went up in flames at the National Library, and all the artworks that are not missing but smashed. Whatever the neglect or indifference of the Pentagon in not protecting the sites, the damage is done now, and people who think history and knowledge are good things are in shock.

Slate has a thorough story here. The Guardian has one on the warning the Pentagon had here. The New York Times reports some further details here. The Wall Street Journal gives its own peculiar view of things here and here. There are useful pages here, here, and here.

The Washington Post reports the Pentagon was warned of the risks to Iraq’s archeological heritage and the National Museum in particular here. The San Francisco Chronicle reports here that the Pentagon did warn the military to spare archaeological sites where possible. The Washington Post reports here that there were not enough troops to do the job.

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