Despite Iraq's troubles, archaeologists are back

Despite Iraq's troubles, archaeologists are back

Reuters, Tue, Feb 18, 2014

by Alistair Lyon

Ur's palaces and temples lie in ruins; very little work has been done here since, but British archaeologists are now back in the area despite the insecurity in Iraq that had kept them - and all but the most adventurous tourists - away from one of the world's oldest cities.

One specific Ur region project is backed by Iraq's State Board for Antiquities and Heritage, the British Institute for the Study of Iraq and the University of Manchester, plus private donors. The dig was sponsored by the British Museum and the Philadelphia University Museum, which house many of the finds.

Gertrude Bell, the British archaeologist and imperial administrator who founded the Iraq Museum in the 1920s and became head of antiquities, ensured many of the finest artefacts stayed in the country whose borders she helped draw. Under a 1932 antiquities law, foreign archaeologists must turn everything over to the Iraq National Museum.

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