The Plunder of Iraq's Archaeological Heritage, 1991–2005, and the London Antiquities Trade

Neil Brodie, Morag M. Kersel and Kathryn Walker Tubb

in Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780813029726
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039145 | DOI:
The Plunder of Iraq's Archaeological Heritage, 1991–2005, and the London Antiquities Trade

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This chapter provides a discussion on the plunder of Iraq's archaeological heritage during 1991–2005, and the antiquities trade in London. It begins by introducing the archaeological heritage of Iraq from the 1991 Gulf War to the 2003 Iraq War. Once it became clear that war was unavoidable, museum staff moved to offer the collections what protection they could. The Iraqis soon became embroiled in heavy fighting with advancing U.S. troops, during which time the museum was left unprotected. In the immediate aftermath of the 2003 war, surveys of archaeological sites and cultural institutions in Iraq were carried out by the National Geographic in May and United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in June, and some individual sites were visited by reporters. Insights into the London market for Iraqi antiquities are provided. It is impossible for an outsider to penetrate the inner workings of the antiquities trade, and antiquities dealers are not inclined to help. Yet from the scattered clues gathered together here a consistent picture begins to emerge.

Keywords: archaeological heritage; antiquities trade; Gulf War; Iraq War; Iraqi antiquities; London market

Chapter.  9033 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Archaeological Methodology and Techniques

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