Saving Iraq's Treasures

As archaeologists worldwide help recover looted artifacts, they worry for the safety of the great sites of early civilization.

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Within days of the museum thefts, experts feared that artifacts had crossed Iraq’s newly opened borders and were being offered for sale

Recovering missing and looted artifacts from the so-called cradle of civilization means staying one step ahead of a thriving black market for antiquities. A global coalition of experts and archaeologists has pledged to help Iraq rebuild its plundered cultural institutions, inventory the losses and assist in restoring damaged antiquities. At press time, the sacred 3000 B.C. Warka Vase (right), with carved scenes of Uruk, was still missing from the Baghdad museum. The fates of the cuneiform stela (above) from Babylon, a 1700 B.C. terra-cotta cat (below right) and an A.D. 100-200 painted stone relief (below) were unknown.


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