THE ORIENTAL INSTITUTE

Lost Treasures From Iraq

What's New


This is where information and links to NEW COMPONENTS of the LOST TREASURES FROM IRAQ are announced.



January 27, 2006

The Cultural Policy Center at The University of Chicago, The University of Chicago Law School, and The Oriental Institute at The University of Chicago present:

PROTECTING CULTURAL HERITAGE: International Law After The War In Iraq

Friday, February 3, 2006, from 3:00 - 5:00 PM, at the
Weymouth Kirkland Courtroom, University of Chicago Law School, 1111 East 60th Street.

The one-day working conference will culminate with a panel discussion open to the public.


August 23, 2005

The Middle East Librarians Association Committee on Iraqi Libraries anounces the publication of "Indispensable yet Vulnerable: The Library in Dangerous Times A Report on the Status of Iraqi Academic Libraries and a Survey of Efforts to Assist Them, with Historical Introduction", by Jeff Spurr:

http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/mela/indispensable.html


August 4, 2005

Circa 106 new seal and seal impressions from the Diyala site of Tell Agrab, as well as several from Nippur, have been added to our on-line Iraq Museum Database, bringing the current total to circa 1256 objects.


July 29, 2005

A statement concerning the looting of archaeological sites in Iraq, prepared by Michael Müller-Karpe, and subsequently signed by 46 attendees of the Workshop “The Threat to Iraq’s Cultural Heritage – Current Status and Future Prospects" (July 23, 2005), as part of the 51st Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, is now available.


April 19, 2005

Circa 60 new seal and seal impressions from the Diyala sites have been added to our on-line Iraq Museum Database, bringing the current total to circa 1150 objects.


March 7, 2005

62 new entries were added to our Iraq Museum database, most of them sculpture and reliefs from the Diyala sites and seals and sealings from Tell Asmar. We are grateful to McGuire Gibson for supplying us with photographs of 16 mostly unpublished seals found during his excavations at the site of Umm al_Hafriyat; image scanning and text editing were done by Alexandra Witsell. Other additions include objects photographed in the Iraq Museum in May 2003, which were kindly provided to us by Joanne Farchakh.

        Since the last update in January we also changed the layout of the on-line database changed significantly in order to create a more user-friendly browser interface. Every page now has a horizontal bar with links to the "Lost Treasures of Iraq" homepage, the Iraq Museum Database homepage, our collection of recent photos of archaeological sites in Iraq, and the IraqCrisis email list.
        In addition, every category and object page now has links to five major object sorting criteria in its left side bar:
Comments concerning these changes and suggestions on how to improve the layout are welcome and should be forwarded to Clemens Reichel (cdreiche@midway.uchicago.edu)


February 14, 2005

162 photographs taken by Joanne Farchakh in Iraq (2002 - 2004) added to "Lost Treasures" Website

Joanne Farchakh, who is currently on a lecture tour through the United States (a webcast of her lecture at Berkeley given on February 7, 2005 is available on-line)) and who recently (February 4, 2005) addressed an audience at the Oriental Institute, is a Lebanese archaeologist and journalist.

Between 2002 and 2004, she undertook numerous trips to Iraq to document the state of its archaeological sites. Her site photographs bear dramatic testimony to the damage that sites such as Umma, Umm al-Aqarib, and Larsa in the South, or Nimrud and Nineveh in the North have suffered from looting since the 2003 Iraq War. In May 2003, one month after the end of the Iraq War, she visited the Iraq Museum and documented the damage by looting that had occurred under the eyes of Coalition Forces after the fall of Baghdad in early April.

In conjunction with her lecture tour, Mrs. Farchakh has provided us with numerous photographs taken on these trips, which are posted at "Lost Treasures" with her kind permission. The URL is: http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/dbfiles/farchakh/farchmain.htm


January 18, 2005

106 new objects are added to our on-line Iraq Museum Database, bringing the current total to 1090 objects. The new additions include Diyala sculpture (including relief and votive plaques) and more Diyala seals.


October 28, 2004

Seventy new objects are added to our on-line Iraq Museum Database, bringing the current total to 984 objects. The new additions include Diyala sculpture and Diyala cylinder seals.

October 1, 2004

The Middle East Librarians Association Committee on Iraqi Libraries has received permission to publish two reports, one on the damage done to the Central library of Baghdad University / Al-Waziriyya, the second on the Central Awqaf library in Baghdad. The two reports were written by one of the most energetic archivists working in Iraq today, Mr. Zain Al-Naqshbandi. He is primarily responsible for the investigation and content of the two reports. The report on the Waqf library is certified by Mr. Salah Karim Hussein, the head of the Library, Mr. Asim Dawud Al-Khattab, a specialist in libraries (with five degrees in library and information science) and Mr. Muhibb Al-Din Yasin Ibrahim, one of the employees of the manuscripts section of the Awqaf library who was able to save 109 manuscripts, and find a further five in the post-looting stage. The reports were transmitted to the committee by Hala Fattah, who also prepared the English translations.

The text is available in English and Arabic at:
http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/zan.html


September 16, 2004

A significant percentage of the Diyala Expedition sculpture has been added to our on-line Iraq Museum Database, accessible via the Categories Main Page.


August 5, 2004

The Oriental Institute Iraq Working Group announces the availability on-line of the three fascicles of "Lost Heritage:

Gibson, McGuire; McMahon, Augusta. Lost Heritage: Antiquities Stolen from Iraq's Regional Museums, Fascicle 1. Chicago: American Association for Research in Baghdad; 1992. 1 volume (xii + 54 pages [illustrated]): American Associaton for Research in Baghdad, 1155 E. 58th St., Chicago IL 60637, USA.

Baker, H. D.; Matthews, R. J.; Postgate, J. N. Lost Heritage: Antiquities Stolen from Iraq's Regional Museums. Fascicle 2. London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq; 1993. 1 volume (viii + 153 pages [illustrated]). ISBN: 0-903472-14-7.

Fujii, Hideo; Oguchi, Kazumi. Lost Heritage: Antiquities Stolen from Iraq's Regional Museums. Fascicle 3. Tokyo: Institute for Cultural Studies of Ancient Iraq, Kokushikan University; 1996. 1 volume (xxi + 43 pages [illustrated]).

At the moment we are also providing separate access to:

"List of Stolen Manuscripts" = pages 16-43 of: Fujii, Hideo; Oguchi, Kazumi. Lost Heritage: Antiquities Stolen from Iraq's Regional Museums. Fascicle 3. Tokyo: Institute for Cultural Studies of Ancient Iraq, Kokushikan University; 1996. 1 volume (xxi + 43 pages [illustrated]).

All are available at:
http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/lh.html

They are made available on-line with the kind permission of the original publishers.


May 6, 2004

About 300 new objects are added to our on-line Iraq Museum Database, including 250 ivories from Nimrud and 49 seals from Abu Salabikh. A quick overview over the Abu Salabikh Seals can be gained from the "Index of Museum and Excavation Numbers" s.v. "Abu Salabikh". I want to thank Harriet Martin and Nicholas Postgate (British School of Archaeology in Iraq) for generously making photos and descriptions of these seals--both published and unpublished--available to us.

Most of the recently added Nimrud ivories remain to be categorized--they are currently archived in a folder "*uncategorized". Due to the large number of items in it this will take a while to load--a fast connection is recommended. IM and Excavation numbers of these objects are already integrated into the index of IM and Excavation numbers. Once more, I want to thank Georgina Herrmann (British School of Archaeology in Iraq) for making the photographs of these ivories available to us. Over 1,000 ivories still remain to be added to our database over the next few months.

April 28, 2004

NBC News coverage of the Oriental Institute's Iraq Museum Database project, "Chicago Researchers Seek Lost Iraqi Treasures" is available on the NBC5.com website:http://www.nbc5.com/news/3243596/detail.html This link will open in a new window!.

April 15, 2004

We have added three new components to the Site Photos from Iraq web page: Isin, Umm al-Aqarib and Ur, taken by McGuire Gibson. They are added to the photographs of Girsu, Nippur and Uruk posted some days ago.

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 this trip was posted on IraqCrisis yesterday:
https://listhost.uchicago.edu/pipermail/iraqcrisis/2004-April/000626.html

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, 2003:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/23/international/worldspecial/23LOOT.html?ex=1082088000&en=1ff65d5ad70bd599&ei=5070

These recent photographs are supplemented by links to 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 1970's and 1980's.

View the Site Photos from Iraq web page at:
http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/sites/sitesintro.htm


April 9, 2004

On the first year anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum, the Oriental Institute and the University of Chicago News Office present: Oriental Institute continues to support search for missing Iraqi artifacts a year after looting.


April 5, 2004

A new addition to the Oriental Institute's "Lost Treasures From Iraq" database, Site Photos from Iraq, presenting digital photographs of archaeological sites, which were taken by SPC William Peterson during visits in late 2003 / early 2004 and generously forwarded to the Iraq Working Group at the Oriental Institute. They are posted here with permission of of the photographer.

Peterson took photographs of several archaeological sites, of which three (Nippur, Uruk, Girsu) are shown here (a fourth page with pictures of Babylon is in preparation). The 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). In Girsu, by contrast, photographs of numerous recent robber holes show that this site has clearly been looted in the past year.

We invite people who know something about the sites to comment. We are willing to annotate the captions of photographs if there is something particularly worthy to note.


March 16, 2004

Names and Contact Information for Senior Administrators and Librarians at Institutions in Iraq, supplied to Middle East Librarians Association Committee on Iraqi Libraries by Mr. Wishyar Muhammad, specialist for libraries at the CPA


March 15, 2004

The URL's of the web-accessible version of the Oriental Institute's Iraq Museum Database have changed. The entry page is now at: http://www-oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/dbfiles/Iraqdatabasehome.htm

The category overview page is at: http://www-oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/dbfiles/categories.htm

These changes have affected all category and object pages. Those who bookmarked individual category and object pages are advised to retrieve the new URLs by logging in again through the project's front or category pages.

We continuously are adding new objects and re-classifying objects in an effort to make the data entry as systematic and possible. For that reason, some of the category URL's are likely to change agin over the next few months. Object URL's are unlikely to be affected by these changes.

As of March 15, 2004 the total number of objects from Iraq Museum posted on our website is 534, which include 246 seals and 228 ivories. We hope to increase the number of objects significantly over the next few months.


March 12, 2004

Regarding the current situation in Iraq, the Middle East Librarians Association Committee on Iraqi Libraries is making available an article by Jeffrey B. Spurr, Bosnian Libraries: Their Fate in the War and Responses to it, with Lessons for Iraq


January 16, 2004

Sunday, February 29, Dr. Clemens Reichel, coordinating work on the Oriental Institute website that contains a comprehensive database of Mesopotamian artifacts from the Iraq Museum, will present the topic "Counting the Losses Eleven Months After the Iraq Museum Looting." He will address the types of objects lost and recovered, broaden the focus into the scope of the damage, and conclude with lessons learned from this tragedy. The talk is open to the public.

He will address the Chicago Archaeological Society at its February 29, 2004, meeting at the Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Avenue, Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A. The presentation is at 3:30 pm and there is no charge.

Questions regarding the lecture? Contact:

Chicago Archaeological Society
12S675 Knoebel Drive, Lemont, IL 60439 USA
Phone: 630 739 7255, Fax: 630 972 9393

February 16, 2004

The Oriental Institute's Iraq Museum database, a part of the Oriental Institute's website "Lost Treasures of Iraq", has been revised and updated substantially. All files are now computer-generated, making additions and future updates easier to accomplish. New additions include an alphabetical index of object categories and and subcategories; all pages with object descriptions now also report the current status of the object, if known.

Note that the names of the category pages were changed to numerical code; bookmarks to the old category pages will no longer work. The URL's of the object pages have remained the same.

The number of objects currently posted on the Oriental Institute's website is now 496, most of them seals from the Diyala and ivories from Nimrud. Work on an additional 1000 object his mostly completed, which we hope to add successively to our website in the next few months.


January 13, 2004

The Iraqi Jewish Archive Preservation Report is now available. This document is published on the website of the Middle East Librarians Association Committee on Iraqi Libraries with the kind permission of the authors and The National Archives & Records Administration.

December 23, 2003

Iraq Bibliographies compiled in response to the cultural heritage crisis in Iraq during and after the war in Spring 2003, at: http://www-oi.uchicago.edu/OI/DEPT/RA/IraqBibs.html, has been updated.

December 2, 2003

The Library of Congress Mission To Baghdad. Report on the National Library and the House of Manuscripts, October 27-November 3, 2003 is now available.

October 21, 2003

Recent reports on the losses sustained by the Iraq Museum collections indicate that a large proportion of objects known to be missing are seals. See, for example, the Bogdanos report of 10 September, 2003. As a consequence, we have focused some recent activity on the Oriental Instituite's Iraq Museum Database project and bibliographies on the issue of seals.

The first set of seal illustrations in the database is now available, the first component of the seals excavated by the Oriental Institute's Diyala Expedition. Eighty-nine of the 611 Diyala seals in Iraq Museum collections are now on-line. We hope to have the rest of them available on-line soon.

Also available is a Preliminary Bibliography Of Publications Documenting The Cylinder And Stamp Seals And Seal Impressions In The Collections Of The Iraq Museum Baghdad, and an Index by Museum Number of of objects published in the Preliminary Bibliography.

The purpose of both the database and the set of bibliographies is to help provide wide access to documentation on objects potentially missing from the Iraq Museum.

We appreciate the support of this project by the Oriental Institute and many colleagues and friends. We also appreciate and gratefully acknowledge the support and endorsement of Dr. Donny George Youkhanna, the new acting Director General of the Museums Department of the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage.

We also appreciate any effort you make to publicize this further.


July 24, 2003

The web presence of The Middle East Librarians Association: Committee on Iraqi Libraries, developed in partnership with The Oriental Institute Research Archives, has had a number of additions in recent weeks. Note in particular the following:


June 17, 2003

An image of the damaged Warka Vase, one of the most important and unique items originally looted but now returned to the Iraq Museum is now part of our "Lost Treasures From Iraq" website. The picture was taken June 12, 2003, with the vase used as background in a photo of Donny George, the Museum's Director of Research, and another person. The photograph shows a close-up of the vase, turned upwards; for comparison we have inserted an image of the vase that was taken around 1960 to indicate the damage to the object.


June 11, 2003

An additional 100 objects (199 additional photographs), all of them ivories from Nimrud and dating to the Neo-Assyrian period, are now available on the Oriental Institute's "Lost Treasures From Iraq" website.


June 6, 2003

Preliminary bibliography of books documenting the contents of the Iraq Museum, the National Library and Archives, and the MS collection of the Ministry of Religious Endowments - all in Baghdad - as well as of other damaged or destroyed collections in Baghdad or elsewhere in Iraq including Mosul, Basrah, Suleimaniyeh, etc. Version 23: June 5, 2003 - 202 titles, now available at:
http://www-oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/iraq_bibliography.html

The Oriental Institute is now host to the web-presence of : The Middle East Librarians Association: Committee on Iraqi Libraries at
http://www-oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/mela/melairaq.html


June 3, 2003

An additional 129 objects (192 additional photographs), all of them ivories from Nimrud and dating to the Neo-Assyrian period, are now available on the Oriental Institute's "Lost Treasures From Iraq" website.


May 30, 2003

Announcing an Art Auction, Looted Iraqi Art Auction: Artists Respond, featuring the works of over 80 prominent artists to benefit the "Iraq Museum Database Project" of the Oriental Institute, will be held Saturday, June 14th, 2003, at 7pm, at the Gallery Mornea, 624 Davis Street, Evanston, Illinois.


May 28, 2003

A Statement Of Concern regarding the looting of Iraq's archaeological museums, the destruction of its libraries, and the damage done to its archeological and historical monuments and sites during and after the invasion of Iraq in March and April, 2003, is now accessible on the Oriental Institute's "Lost Treasures From Iraq" website.


May 15, 2003

An expanded selection of images of objects from the collections of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad, are now available on the Oriental Institute's "Lost Treasures From Iraq" website. Most of the images were taken from Eva Strommenger, Fünf Jahrtausende Mesopotamien. (München: Hirmer Verlag. 1962). We want to thank Hirmer Verlag for generously allowing us to use these images on our site. Pages and text shown here were compiled, written, and edited by Clemens Reichel.


May 13, 2003

An additional thirty-one objects from the collections of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad, are now available on the Oriental Institute's "Lost Treasures From Iraq" website.


April 18, 2003

A very preliminary version of the Oriental Institute's "Lost Treasures From Iraq" website, featuring examples of objects from the collections of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad, is now available at:
http://www-oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/iraq.html





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revised: January 27, 2006
created: May 30, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/whatsnew.html