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[casi] [colloquia] Irak eltűnt kulturális öröksége (fwd)

I received the breathtaking news below from a Hungarian university mailing list.
The alleged source is a list called Syrcom.


No mass theft of antiquities
Inventory compiled of pieces in storage refutes reports artifacts taken
by looters
Posted: May 5, 2003
4:15 p.m. Eastern
Š 2003

   Nearly all of the Iraqi antiquities feared stolen or broken by looters
have been found inside the National Museum in Baghdad, and the
isolated thefts appear to be an inside job, according to press reports.
   In contrast to reports that thousands of artifacts from Iraq's
renowned treasure trove were casualties of war, U.S. investigators
have determined a total of 38 pieces remain unaccounted for, reports
the Chicago Tribune. And one display of Babylonian cuneiform tablets
accounts for nine of those missing items.
   According to the paper, the most valuable missing piece is the Vase of
Warka, a white limestone bowl dating from 3000 B.C.
   In the hours and days after U.S. and British troops entered Baghdad
and began to secure the city, reports emerged saying that tens of
thousands of Iraq's cultural artifacts were being looted from the
capital's museums.
   Analysts and military officials alike said they were uncertain as to how
many of the 170,000 artifacts in the world famous museum were
stolen, but losses were predicted to be in the thousands of items.
   Some reports even intimated that coalition soldiers were involved in
the looting, and calls from around the world for the West to secure
Iraq's cultural and historical treasures echoed.
   CBS News reported April 30 that "thousands" of artifacts had
been "plundered" from the museum, home to many items from ancient
Mesopotamia, which was among the earliest civilizations.
   The news network also suggested that American forces were
unconcerned about the artifacts.
   "Looting, of course, is as old as war itself," CBS reported. "On April
11, while conquering American troops were guarding Iraq's oil ministry,
they were not protecting Iraq's museum. Armed thieves walked right
in," the report said, adding that looters took "everything of value" - a
claim that now appears to be erroneous.
   But as the dust finally settled, coalition forces coupled with United
Nations officials are taking stock of the damage done.
   A team of military and civilian investigators headed by Marine Col.
Matthew Bogdanos scoured five large storage areas in the museum on
Saturday and compiled an inventory of the artifacts.
   Investigators found little damage occurred to antiquities displayed at
the museum. According to their count, 17 out of a total of 300-400
display cases were destroyed. Many of the items apparently were
removed before the looting.
   Investigators did find one instance where intruders took less-
valuable artifacts from a little-known storage room in the basement.
Ninety plastic boxes, containing about 5,000 less-valuable items
disappeared. One was retrieved about a week ago near Al Kut.
   Fox News reports other stolen pieces were seen crossing the Iranian
border, taken in by smugglers apparently to be sold on the black
    The Associated Press quoted U.S. Central Command head Gen.
Tommy Franks, wholed the war in Iraq, as saying that coalition forces
were recovering looted items - "thefts that sparked international
criticism that the United States could have done more to protect such
   Citing the fact that the selected 38 items were taken from locked
storage rooms and that museum officials claim the keys were lost,
investigators suspect the theft was an inside job, according to Fox.
   In contrast, much of what was lifted by looters, according to the
Tribune, were items of common, everyday use - desks, chairs, wiring,
water fixtures. The paper said there was "extensive" damage done to
the museum's administrative offices.
   "There is no comparison in the level of destruction seen in the
museum and that seen in the administrative offices," Bogdanos told the
paper. "It's absolute wanton destruction in the offices. We didn't see
anywhere near that destruction in the museum. [People] stole what
they could use. They left the antiquities."
   The looting did cause damage. Investigators have counted 22
damaged items, including 11 clay pots that lined corridors. Many of
these items, the Tribune said, were restored and can be again.
   The Golden Harp of Ur was the most significant piece damaged, but
investigators say the golden head on the antiquity, feared missing, was
only a copy. The original head was placed in a storage vault at the Iraqi
Central Bank sometime before the war, museum officials said this week.

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