David Gill's latest PR Newsire barbs aimed at collectors, Western Museums and antiquities dealers entitled, Looting Matters: Why Do Antiquities From Iraq Continue to Surface on the Market? comes out just as this suggestion was made on the Iraq Crisis List in response to an Arabic language interview of Mr Mufid al-Jazairi, the chairman of the parliamentary Cultural Committee and former Minister of Culture for Iraq.
The writer, who evidently is knowledgeable about the actual situation at the Iraq Museum, states,
The other point is the inventory of the collection of the Iraq Museum. A simple check of every object in the storerooms with the main register, would help in knowing specifically the missing objects and it will also help in finding objects that have not been registered or they have lost their numbers.This is extremely urgent and essential, it has been over six years since the disastrous looting, without the inventory objects could disappear and can easily be blamed to the original looting.
Is it true that no complete inventory has yet been made of the Iraq Museum collections?
Gill argues in his PR Newwire release that,
The international community needs to monitor the sale of antiquities that could have been pillaged from archaeological museums or sites in Iraq. There are likely to be stashes of material waiting to be released on the market once the initial concerns have calmed.The international community needs to monitor the sale of antiquities that could have been pillaged from archaeological museums or sites in Iraq. There are likely to be stashes of material waiting to be released on the market once the initial concerns have calmed.
But if there has been no serious effort to inventory the holdings of the Iraq Museum, how can this be done fairly? Is this just an egregious example of negligence or are archaeologists afraid that a database of objects would make it more difficult to claim that anything that "looks Iraqi" must be stolen?
One thing is for certain. The squeaky wheel has certainly gotten the grease. Western governments have lavished millions of dollars on archaeologists in response to their well- publicized outrage over the looting of the Iraq Museum. If even now that Museum has yet to be fully inventoried, perhaps what really should be investigated is how all that money was spent.