What was found at Palmyra after its recapture by Assad forces again questions the narrative that ISIS is looting classical antiquities for profit. CPO has always thought ISIS serious about its iconoclastic religious beliefs and what was done at the museum in Palmyra supports that. Valuable classical statuary was destroyed rather than sold. And what of looting at the site? According to one archaeo-blogger, the distinct lack of looter's holes on the recaptured site is also "embarrassing" for the State Department's "ISIS narrative."
That is not to say that there is no looting in Syria, but rather that the extent of it has likely been exaggerated. Moreover, isn't it also at least possible that major sellers of classical (as opposed to "acceptable" Islamic antiquities) are associated with the Assad regime, the Free Syrian army and/or destitute refugees (who may be selling family heirlooms rather than recently looted objects) as opposed to the iconoclasts of ISIS?
The lack of looting evidence has put the skids under the anti-US, anti-collecting, propagandists' claim that collectors were/are buying ISIL-looted artefacts and thus supporting terrorism.
Indeed, one airhead archaeo-blogger seems to be changing horses mid-stream, evidently realising that he and his pals are up for a torrent of ridicule: Then again, for that particular individual, swapping allegiances is nothing new.
It certainly seems the US State Department ignored the advice of the tipsters and put its shirt on a nag. What price UNESCO now?
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