Site Photos from Iraq
This page contains digital photographs of archaeological sites in
Iraq, taken by McGuire Gibson (Professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology,
University of Chicago / Oriental Institute) and by SPC William
Peterson. They are posted here with permission of the photographers.
In May 2003, less than two weeks after major combat had been
declared over, Gibson undertook a trip to Iraq, during which he visited
several archaeological sites, including Isin, Ur, and Umm al-Hafriyat
(a detailed account of Gibson's trip to Iraq, which
also includes accounts of his site visits, has been posted on IraqCrisis).
Peterson's photographs of Girsu, Nippur, and Uruk were taken in late
2003 / early 2004, during visits to these archaeological sites by U.S.
soldiers (a fourth page with pictures of Babylon is in preparation).
Peterson's pictures from Nippur and Uruk show relatively little obvious
disturbance by looters. Stamped bricks found on site (eg., Pictures 65, 66 at Uruk, 29, 30, 31 at Nippur) and damage to
brickwork at both the Ziqqurrat of Nippur and Uruk may have been caused
by looters while attempting to steal such bricks [Note, however, that looting at the site of Nippur had been reported in
July 2003, which may have occurred in areas other than the Ziqqurrat,
such as the "Tablet Mound" (Areas TA / TB)], More apparent damage has
been caused on both sites by wind and water erosion (note deep water erosion gullies on the
site of Uruk). At Girsu, photographs of several recent robber holes show that
this site has clearly been looted by looters in the past year.
By contrast, Gibson's photos of Isin and Umm al-Aqarib show extensive
damage to both sites by looting. His dramatic shots of Isin, showing
looters caught in action by U.S. marines, highlight the scope of the
destruction and the difficult if not impossible task of protecting
these sites adequately in the current situation (a harrowing account of the destruction of Isin,
based on a site visit by the German archaeologist Susanne Osthoff at
about the same time, was published in the New York Times on May 23,
The pictures from Ur show houses of the Isin/Larsa residential quarter
with partially reconstructed walls.
View Photographs of:
Photographs of Larsa, Umma, Umm al-Aqarib in the South, and Hatra,
Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, Nimrud, Nineveh and Qal'at Jabar in the North, taken by Joanne Farchakh between 2002 and
2004, have recently been added to our website. Earlier photographs of five of these sites, taken by John Sanders (Head of the Oriental Institute's Computer Lab and then site architect at Nippur) during the 1970s and 1980s, can be found on
the found on the Oriental Institute's "Archaeological Site Photography: Mesopotamia" page
(objects will open in news windows):
pages compiled by Clemens
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Treasures From Iraq Homepage
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created: April 5, 2004
revised: April 16, 2004
© 2004 Oriental Institute, University of Chicago