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Yeah, Yippee - Kill that Looter Ratpack ... -------------------- http://commondreams.org/headlines03/0709-07.htm Published on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 by the Guardian/UK Kill Looters, Urges Archaeologist by Maev Kennedy An American archaeologist yesterday urged her compatriots to kill the looters who are pillaging archaeological sites in Iraq. KILL THE LOOTERS Elizabeth Stone, head of archaeology at Stony Brook University in New York email@example.com "I would like to see some helicopters flying over these sites, and some bullets fired at the looters," Elizabeth Stone, head of archaeology at Stony Brook University in New York, said in London yesterday. "I think you have got to kill some people to stop this." Professor Stone, who directed major excavations in Iraq in the 1980s, is a speaker at an international conference on the archaeology of the region, being held this week at the British Museum. The war and its aftermath dominated the conference, which was planned long in advance of the hostilities. Prof Stone said the systematic looting of major archaeological sites and the destruction of artifacts such as broken cuneiform clay tablets, discarded by looters as worthless to collectors than intact tablets, but which could hold priceless information for archaeologists, may prove a greater disaster than the well publicized looting and destruction at the national museum in Baghdad, and the museum in Mosul. "At least to a certain extent we know what was in the museum, but we don't know what has been taken from the sites, and that knowledge has been lost to us forever." Donny George, head of research at the museum service, said gangs of up to 300 were systematically ransacking archaeological sites, many untouched by archaeologists. The country has more than 10,000 registered sites, ranging from a few square meters to the huge sites of some of the oldest cities in the world. "They are armed, and they will shoot," he said. Muayad Damerji, senior adviser at the culture ministry, said local sheikhs should be recruited and paid to protect the sites. Dr George and the Baghdad museum director, Nawala al Mutawwali, emphatically denied that any museum staff were implicated in the thefts from the collections. Both have been the target of repeated accusations that some staff at least colluded with the looting, and then exaggerated the scale of the destruction. Half the stores have now been searched - the work was hampered until electricity was restored only a few weeks ago - and they said 13,000 objects were definitely missing, around 10% of the entire collection, including all the oldest cylinder seals. Other thefts include small ivory and metal objects, and ceramics. In the main galleries only 47 objects were stolen, but four important Roman statues were smashed, and their heads stolen. In the stores thousands more objects were smashed, including ceramics which are piled in fragments knee-deep on the floor of one of the stores. Some of the most precious ivories, from Nimrud, which were stored in a vault at the central bank, were stained by sewage-contaminated water which flooded the basement when the city was bombed. British Museum conservators are to study them to see if they can be cleaned without damage. © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003 _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk