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The Rape Of Babylon


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#1 SFX

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 03:07 AM

Mordern day Iraq is the site of the birthplace of human civilisation, current archaeology dates the civilisation there to be earlier than that of the egyptians, the early south americans and the Harrapa civilisation in Pakistan/India. Though of course these concepts may well be based on incomplete evidence and it may well be that there was an earlier civilistaion that influnced all these. ( the civilisation in Sumeria and Egypt seem to have arrived suddenly and fairly well structured as if they were a legacy) The Sumerian civilisation was the precursor to the Babylonian civilisation. I found this disturbing article : Babylon's Ancient Wonder, Lying in Ruins History Not Served By U.S. Presence By Nada Bakri Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, July 29, 2009 HILLA, Iraq -- Maytham Hamzah cast his eyes toward the remains of King Nebuchadnezzar's guest palace in Babylon, one of the world's first great cities. He smiled, bitterly. "They destroyed the whole country," Hamzah, the head of the Babylon museum, said of U.S. forces in Iraq. "So what are a few old bricks and mud walls in comparison?" U.S. forces did not exactly destroy the 4,000-year-old city, home of one of the world's original seven wonders, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Even before the troops arrived, there was not much left: a mound of broken mud-brick buildings and archaeological fragments in a fertile plain between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. But they did turn it into Camp Alpha, a military base, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Their 18-month stay there caused "major damage" and represented a "grave encroachment on this internationally known archeological site," a report released this month in Paris by the United Nations' cultural agency, UNESCO, says. The ruins stretch over a rectangular area measuring 2,100 acres along the western banks of the Euphrates. The site consists of Nebuchadnezzar's palace, which then-President Saddam Hussein rebuilt in the 1980s; the remains of the Temple of Ninmakh; and a palace for royal guests. In addition, there is the Lion of Babylon, a 2,600-year-old sculpture, and the remains of the Ishtar Gate, the most beautiful of the eight gates that once ringed the perimeter of the town. It still bears the symbols of Babylonian gods. According to the report, which comes after five years of investigation by a team of Iraqi and international experts, foreign troops and contractors bulldozed hilltops and then covered them with gravel to serve as parking lots for military vehicles and trailers. They drove heavy vehicles over the fragile paving of once-sacred pathways. The report also says that forces built barriers and embankments to protect the base, pulverizing ancient pottery and bricks that were engraved with cuneiform characters. They dug trenches where they stored fuel tanks for their helicopters, which landed near an ancient theater. Among the structures that suffered the most damage, according to the report, were the Ishtar Gate and a processional thoroughfare. Experts also say troops filled their sandbags with soil from a site that was littered with archaeological fragments. Bricks were looted as well -- both those of Babylonian vintage and newer ones that Hussein used to rebuild parts of the ruins. The latter variety was emblazoned with an ode to himself. "The damage was so great," said Maryam Mussa, an official from the Iraqi state board of heritage and antiquities, which is in charge of the site. "It would be so difficult to repair it, and nothing can make up for it." Spokesmen for the U.S. military in Iraq did not respond to requests for comment. But the military has previously said that looting would have been far worse had it not been for the presence of its troops. The military also said in 2005 that it had discussed setting up the base with Iraqi archaeologists in charge of the site. The site has been closed to the public since 2003. Facing mounting criticism from archaeologists in Iraq and around the world, troops vacated it in summer 2004. It was reopened this June, despite warnings from experts that the ruins might suffer further damage unless they were first restored and given proper protection. Many residents of Hilla, a town 60 miles south of Baghdad that sits near the ruins, said they have not been to the site because they can't bear to see the damage. "What ruins are you talking about?" said Jawad Kathem, a 55-year-old owner of a small grocery store in the village of Jumjumah, a few miles away. "There is nothing left of it. It was all destroyed and looted." "They are occupying forces," said Sabah Hassan, a 41-year-old resident of Hilla who owns a cafe near the ruins. "Nobody can tell them what to do." On a recent day, wind swept across the deserted ruin as Hamzah, the museum's head, gave a tour to visitors. He recited the history of ancient Babylon with the enthusiasm of someone who had been waiting for years to share his knowledge. The gates of the museum were locked. "From this room, King Nebuchadnezzar ruled his kingdom," he said as he waved his hand across a spacious room where Nebuchadnezzar II is believed to have sat. The king turned Babylon into one of the wonders of the ancient world. Historians say he was prouder of his construction projects than he was of his many military victories. Several efforts to restore Babylon have been announced in the past six years, but none has made progress. Now, with security in Iraq improving, officials hope to start work on a $700,000, two-year project funded by the U.S. State Department to restore the site. The United Nations is also trying to name the place a World Heritage site, a designation that would provide support and protection. "Of course this is not enough, but it is better than nothing," lamented Mussa, the site director. "We had hoped that work would start this year." On her desk were papers detailing the damage, gathering dust.

#2 crobin

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 04:15 AM

nothing changes wars have allways had this effect

#3 SFX

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 09:02 PM

Azzaman, November 19, 2009 An Iraqi excavation team has uncovered a grave with magnificent finds dating to the Parthian period. The grave’s artifacts have astonished scientists for their beauty and magnificence. “The discovery includes 216 artifacts all belonging to the Parthian Period,” said Antiquities Department spokesman Abdulzahara al-Talaqani. Talaqani said the finds are at least about 2000 years old and the new grave is the largest to be excavated from the same period in Iraq. The Parthians were a Persian dynasty and their name is probably drawn from the Persian dialect they spoke, historically known as Parthava. They established an extensive empire which included Iran, Mesopotamia and other regions. They ruled Iraq for more than three centuries while their empire survived from 247 BC to 224 AD. Talaqani said the grave occupies 306 sq. meters and consists of several floors connected by special staircases. He said Iraqi excavators also came across “pottery pieces of glass all in good condition and that digging is continuing.” The team working on the Parthian grave is one of nine other teams currently excavating Iraq’s ancient treasures. The acting head of the Antiquities Department Qais Hassan said: “The grave exhibits important architectural features. The dead were buried in it with their belongings such as gold, precious stone and pottery.” Hassan declined to give details about the location of the grave for security reasons. “It is not the first time the pick-axes of foreign and Iraq scientists strike Parthian treasures. But this time Iraqi pick-axes have brought to light the largest and the finest Parthian grave which has astonished and surprised us,” Hassan said He said the great care taken “of the architecture, decoration and building of the grave is a sign that the grave does not belong to ordinary people but to the royalty.” Taliban destroying Gandhara heritage in Pakistan TAXILA: Archaeologists warn that the Taliban are destroying Pakistan’s ancient Gandhara heritage and rich Buddhist legacy as pilgrimage and foreign research dries up in the country’s northwest. “Militants are the enemies of culture,” said Abdul Nasir Khan, curator of Taxila Museum, one of the premier archeological collections in Pakistan. “It is very clear that if the situation carries on like this, it will destroy our culture and will destroy our cultural heritage,” he told AFP. Taxila, a small town around 20 kilometres south of Islamabad, is one of Pakistan’s foremost archeological attractions given its history as a centre of Buddhist learning from the 5th century BC to the 2nd century. Violence is on the rise in Pakistan as Taliban bombers and gunmen strike with increasing frequency and intensity in the cities of North West Frontier Province and around the capital Islamabad. “Even in Taxila we don’t feel safe. The local administration has warned us about a possible attack on this museum. We have taken some extra security precautions but they aren’t sufficient and we lack funds,” said Khan. “For weeks we don’t get even a single foreign visitor. If visitors don’t come, if sites are not preserved and protected, if research stops, what do you think will be the future of archaeology?” he said. In March 2001, Taliban militants in neighbouring Afghanistan blew up two 1,500-year-old Bamiyan Buddha statues in defiance of international appeals. The Islamist militia has since spread into Pakistan. Their opposition to music, art, dance, girls’ education and idolatry makes archaeologists fear that Pakistani Buddhist relics are in the eye of the storm. Italian archaeologists were active in Pakistan’s northwest Swat valley from 1956 until they reluctantly discontinued work in 2007 after Taliban fighters led by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah rose up demanding sharia law. “It is not planned to carry on any research activity,” said Luca Olivieri, co-director the Italian archeological mission in Pakistan. After 17 years as curator in Swat, Khan took no risks. With the Taliban killing and bombing their way through the valley, the museum closed in 2008 and he evacuated the most priceless antiquities. That September, the Taliban twice tried to blow up 7th century Buddhist relics -- damaging a rock engraved with images of Buddha that for centuries had been a pilgrimage site. This year, the rebels marched to within 100 kilometres (60 miles) of Islamabad, precipitating a major military operation in the northwest district and followed up with a current offensive in South Waziristan. “This is the worst time for archaeology. Militancy has affected it very badly. There were 15-20 foreign missions working in this field, now this research has completely stopped,” said Khan. He says the army has requisitioned the museum building in Swat’s main town of Mingora. Despite the summer offensive, which appears to have flushed out Taliban havens in Swat for now, he doubts life will soon return to normal. “I don’t see any chance in the near future of re-opening the Swat museum. The situation is still not suitable. “The museum building was badly damaged in a bomb blast. The display cases are broken and the building needs complete renovation,” he said. “There is still fear in people’s minds but I hope that the army will succeed in bringing back normalcy,” he added. The situation is not much better further south. Peshawar, the troubled capital of northwest Pakistan known for its Buddhist heritage and archaeology, used to attract thousands of tourists but security fears and bomb attacks make it a no-go area for foreigners. Its museum is open, but one gate has been sealed and cement barricades outside the second allow only pedestrians to enter.

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 04:02 PM

Archaeologists seek protection for Afghan treasures

KABUL — A senior Western archaeologist in Afghanistan says he is struggling to protect a vast wealth of cultural treasures from being stolen and smuggled to wealthier countries, or worse, destroyed altogether.

"I think there is absolutely no site in this country which is unaffected," Philippe Marquis, the director of a team of French government-funded archaeologists operating in Afghanistan, told AFP in a recent interview.

"The illegal trade in antiquities is very significant, and is related to all the illegal activities which are going on in Afghanistan," he added.

Afghanistan's position on the ancient Silk Road that linked east with west has left the country with a rich cultural heritage.

But decades of war have hampered efforts to conduct proper archaeological investigations, while a lack of regulation means that priceless treasures are being smuggled out of the country at an alarming rate.

The looting is often carried out by poor villagers who are paid by middlemen often based elsewhere in the region -- a problem the French have gone some way to addressing by paying the looters to work on their digs instead.

But Marquis believes much of the blame lies elsewhere. It is illegal to take object more than 100 years old out of Afghanistan, but enforcement of the law is weak, and most stolen antiquities are smuggled to wealthier countries.

http://www.google.co...7XGyGyVtOsNWZ8g

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 09:49 AM

Syria's heritage in ruins: before-and-after pictures
The war in Syria has claimed more than 130,000 lives and, as these images reveal, it is also laying waste to its historic buildings and Unesco-listed sites
 





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