Saturday, December 19, 2009

US Army Shores Up Ancient Monestary

The U.S. Military is working to shore up the ruins of an ancient monastery in Iraq. See

Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime treated this archaeological treasure poorly, placing the site within the boundaries of a military compound. This is not surprising. Saddam did not identify with early Christian monks. Rather, he sought to associate his regime with the glories of early Mesopotamia and the later military successes of Saladin, Islam's warrior against the Crusaders.

When the Americans took over the facility, they also used the Monastery ruins for military purposes, but before they pack up and depart, they hope to leave the Monastery in a better condition than they found it.

Archaeologists have been harshly critical of the U.S. Military, unfairly in my opinion and that of others. See, e.g., and

Yet, American archaeologists have not advocated for this site, and also seem far more interested in the fate of early Mesopotamian and Islamic sites, than in ones related to Iraq's early Christian or Jewish heritage.

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