May 08, 2003

Iraq's Treasures Many were rightly

Iraq's Treasures

Many were rightly dismayed regarding reports of the large-scale looting of Iraq's main museum. It appears that many of the precious artifacts had been stowed away for safekeeping or are otherwise being recovered.

"The investigators located the vaults in Baghdad over the last week, including five within the museum complex, and forced them open, revealing hundreds of artifacts that had apparently been stored away to protect them from being damaged in an American assault. The finds included ancient jewelry, pottery and sarcophaguses, officials said.

The discovery of so many valuable artifacts would support the view of Iraqi museum officials and American investigators who have said that while many irreplaceable antiquities were looted from the museum during the fall of Baghdad last month, the losses were less severe than thought."

Interestingly, some museum insiders themselves may have been to blame:

"American investigators have complained that their work has been hindered by a lack of cooperation from museum workers, who have so far been unable to provide a full inventory of the museum's collection, and by uncertainty over how many objects were on open display when the looting began. American officials say there is a growing suspicion that insiders within the museum's administration were to blame for much of the thefts."

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