Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Belated Headline: Iraqi Archaeological Sites not Looted After All!

This should be of interest, particularly since looting of archaeological sites in Iraq has been deemed a major casus belli against collectors and museums: http://www.theartnewspaper.com/article.asp?id=8066 First it became clear that the looting of the Iraq Museum was grossly exaggerated. Some years later, it became apparent that few looted Iraqi antiquities were arriving on our shores. Now, it has become evident that stories about looting of Iraqi archaeological sites have also been grossly exaggerated.

This misinformation was used to help prompt the UN to recommend that its members impose stringent restrictions on artifacts of potential Iraqi origin. In the US, this misinformation was used to justify wide ranging import restrictions on artifacts of potential Iraqi origin without the usual CPAC review and opportunity for public comment. Hopefully, before there is any decision to renew these restrictions when they lapse next year, decision makers will apply considerable scrutiny to any similar claims.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Dear Sir

I feel that the article in the Art Newspaper does not paint the situation quite as rosy as you imply in your text. It clearly states that "no evidence of recent looting" at eight specific sites has been found. This does not mean that the other 7000 recognized archaeological sites in Iraq have not been touched. "Counting beans" is here inappropriate, and any attempt to neutralize the damage resulting from the war in Iraq is cynical.