Skip to comments.Iraq's rich history tempts relic smugglers
Posted on 11/03/2012 4:25:36 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Iraqi police have confiscated scores of artifacts and arrested two smugglers in the southern Province of Dhiqar, al-Zaman news reported on Monday...
The two smugglers in question have long been dealing in stolen relics.
One police source was quoted as saying on condition of anonymity: "Interior Ministry forces in coordination with the Iraqi army seized 64 archaeological pieces as well as 114 bronze coins in a district of al-Fajir."
The province of Dhiqar holds some of the most archaeologically precious excavation mounds in Iraq. Its historical treasures have turned it into a hub for smugglers and illegal diggers.
Many of its mounds, some dating to the Sumerian civilization that flourished in southern Iraq more than 5000 years ago, are being ruined by illegal excavators who do not have the proper training or tools...
One of the threatened sites is 'Tell Chokha' -- a massive area of more than eight square kilometers -- where a series of ancient cities and settlements, many of them belonging to the Sumerian civilization, are buried.
Illegal excavation is taking place almost everywhere in Iraq due to the country's rich buried history.
However the Dhiqar Province is said to be most attractive to smugglers due to the variety of its ancient sites and their priceless contents.
Most Sumerian artifacts are known to be small -- such as cylinder seals -- but hold great value.
Artifact collectors are said to be willing to pay up to $100,000 for a Sumerian cylinder seal of precious stone, making illegal excavation in the area a lucrative venture.
Moreover, the Sumerian sites in southern Iraq are relatively easy to unearth. Artifacts come to surface with little digging due to their shallow placement.
(Excerpt) Read more at english.alarabiya.net ...
Iraqi police arrested two smugglers in possession of stolen antiquities from the northern Dhiqar Province. (Reuters)
Fake coins stolen from Umerkot museumWhile three robbers took away around 100 replicas of centuries-old coins from the archaeology museum in Umerkot after overpowering the museum staff on Friday morning, it seemed they had no knowledge of antiques as they spared the antique silver jewellery on display in the same museum, said a culture department official.
November 2, 2012
These coins were actually made from plaster and were electroplated to give them the look of gold and the thieves probably took them for gold coins as they did not touch the real antique silver jewellery kept next to these coins, said Sindh Archaeology Director Qasim Ali Qasim while speaking to Dawn.
The real coins were kept at the National Museum in Karachi, he added.
According to an employee of the museum, Gul Hassan, the robbers posing as visitors earlier bought tickets to visit the galleries.
He said that a senior official, deputy director Mazhar Mirani, had been sent to Umerkot to lodge the case with the police. He said there were no police guards at the museum, which was protected only by its four attendants and staffers. A clerk had been injured while resisting the robbery, he said.
In reply to a question as to why the department was putting fake material on display, Mr Qasim said that it was feared that such an incident might occur keeping in view the law and order situation across the province.
"The department's foresight proved helpful in averting a major loss," he remarked.
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Stuttered, posted this twice, this is the older of the two, I'll ask the mods to wipe the other one.
I have to admit if I had the chance I would bring home a temple or two.
my wives nephew flew military transport around Iraq during one of his 2 tours. His housing quarters were a stones throw rrom what is believed to be the ancient city of Ur, which is Abraham’s birthplace.
They had a daily attack from the ridgeline by what had to be the worst shot in Iraq. kinka like that old episode of MASH.
He said every afternood you grabbed a book, jumped into a shelter, and waited till 1500 hrs. Almost exactly on the hr an rpg would fall near the quarter and everyone goes back to their routines.
It is a sad commentary on modern Iraq that its most valuable exports are the remnant artifacts of previous civilizations.
Exactly how much value would you expect islam to add to any culture?