April 30, 2018

Live Science published an article titled “Stolen Sumerian Tablets Come from the Lost City of Irisagrig” (by Owen Jarus). US Immigration and Customs Enforcements recently announced that hundreds of cuneiform tablets that were looted in Iraq and bought by the US Company Hobby Lobby appear to hail from the Sumerian city of Irisagrig, the location of which is unknown. https://www.livescience.com/62437-stolen-sumerian-tablets-from-lost-city.html

The Libya Observer published an article titled “Ottoman Holy Quran seized at Misrata airport before smuggling” (by Abdullah Ben Ibrahim). Customs agents at Misrata airport foiled an attempt to smuggle a late 17th-century Quran out of Libya. https://www.libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/ottoman-holy-quran-seized-misrata-airport-smuggling

The Guardian published an article titled “Mosul library recreated in Norfolk country house installation” (by Mark Brown). The U.K. National Trust’s Blickling Estate will host “The Word Defiant,” an art installation exploring the importance of books. Part of this project will consist of a recreation of the Mosul University Central Library. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/30/mosul-library-recreated-in-norfolk-country-house-installation?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Al Shahid published an article titled “Benghazi Residents Lament The Destruction Of The City's Heritage Sites.” Residents of Benghazi express concern about the state of the many heritage sites that have been looted or destroyed in the city. https://alshahidwitness.com/benghazi-residents-heritage-destruction/

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April 29, 2018

Ean Libya published an article titled “ استمرار التدريبات لمكافحة تهريبالآثار (Continuing training to combat the smuggling of antiquities).” The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Protection recently held a workshop to train employees to combat antiquities looting and smuggling in Libya. http://www.eanlibya.com/archives/170759

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April 28, 2018

The Libya Observer published an article titled “Italy concludes first stage of renovating Villa Selene, says Tripoli Old City is next” (by Abdulkader Assad). The first phase of the renovations of Villa Selene near Leptis Magna, carried out jointly between the Libya Archaeology Authority and Roma Tre University, are complete. https://www.libyaobserver.ly/culture/italy-concludes-first-stage-renovating-villa-selene-says-tripoli-old-city-next

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April 25, 2018

DGAM published an article titled “اكتشاف ثاني أكبرلوحة فسيفساء في سورية (The discovery of the second largest mosaic in Syria).” A large, fifth-century CE Byzantine mosaic discovered in Uqayrbat in early 2018 has been excavated and will be transferred to the Hama National Museum. http://dgam.gov.sy/index.php?d=177&id=2390

The Libya Observer published an article titled “Libya UNESCO representative says investigations into Libyan stolen artifacts underway.” Abdul-Qader Maleh, Libya’s representative to UNESCO, has confirmed that the process of tracking and returning Libyan artifacts smuggled to Spain is continuing through coordination between the Libyan and Spanish authorities. https://www.libyaobserver.ly/culture/libya-unesco-representative-says-investigations-libyan-stolen-artifacts-underway

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April 24, 2018

Niqash published an article titled “Searching For Iraqi Antiques On A Sunken British Treasure Ship” (by Saleem al-Wazzan). The director of Basra’s Museum of Antiquities recently discovered a clue that he believes will lead him to a British military ship that sank while transporting ancient artifacts in the early 20th century. He hopes to bring more attention to the hundreds of historical and archaeological sites in Basra Governorate. http://www.niqash.org/en/articles/society/5883/

The Art Newspaper published an article titled “Syria’s war-ravaged heritage to be the focus of new Qatar show” (by Gareth Harris). The destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage over the past eight years is the subject of a show entitled “Syria Matters,” due to open at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Doha, Qatar in November 2018. https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/qatar-show-to-highlight-syria-s-lost-heritage-after-years-of-civil-war

Al Jazeera published an article titled “How the NYT partook in the plunder of Iraq” (by Sinan Antoon). The author objects to the removal from Iraq of documents from areas previously under ISIS rule in Iraq by New York Times journalists. https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/nyt-partook-plunder-iraq-180424100839509.html

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April 23, 2018

Multiple news outlets published articles discussing a recent agreement between the UAE Minister of Culture, UNESCO, and the Iraqi Minister of Culture to rebuild al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret in Mosul within five years, using $50.4 million USD in funding promised by the UAE. The mosque and minaret were destroyed by ISIS militants in June 2017. https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/uae-launches-greatest-cultural-restoration-project-in-iraq-to-revive-al-nuri-mosque-1.724233; http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/230420183; https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-mosul-unesco/uae-to-fund-50-4-million-project-to-rebuild-mosuls-grand-al-nuri-mosque-idUSKBN1HU2LO; http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43878017; https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/24/world/middleeast/mosul-al-nuri-grand-mosque.html

The Peninsula published an article titled “New exhibition explores vanishing heritage of Syria at Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.” The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Doha will present an exhibition entitled “Syria Matters,” opening on November 23, 2018 as part of the MIA ten-year anniversary celebrations. The exhibition will consist of Syrian artifacts largely from the early Islamic period and later. https://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/23/04/2018/New-exhibition-explores-vanishing-heritage-of-Syria-at-Museum-of-Islamic-Art-in-Qatar

The Independent published an article titled “I was a tour guide in Syria – here's what it was like before the war” (by Emad Nor Eldeen). A former tour guide at historical and archaeological sites in Syria discusses her experiences before and after leaving Syria. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-civil-war-before-life-assad-regime-tourism-travel-a8317676.html

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April 22, 2018

The Intercept published an article titled “Destroyed and saved: To Defeat ISIS, the U.S. Helped Turn Old Mosul Into Rubble — but Won’t Help Rebuild It” (by Pesha Magid & Shawn Carrié). The authors report that state-led rebuilding efforts in the Old City of Mosul are almost non-existent, and the US has refused to provide any of the $88 billion the Iraqi government estimates is required for reconstruction efforts. https://theintercept.com/2018/04/22/to-defeat-isis-the-u-s-helped-turn-old-mosul-into-rubble-but-wont-help-rebuild-it/

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April 21, 2018

The National published an article titled “Restoring Mosul's lost treasures one byte at a time” (by James Langton). ICONEM is joining international efforts to document and restore the Old City of Mosul. https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/restoring-mosul-s-lost-treasures-one-byte-at-a-time-1.723514

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April 20, 2018

BBC News published an article titled “Saddam’s ‘Disney for a despot’: How dictators exploit ruins” (by Paul Cooper). The author describes how Saddam Hussein appropriated ancient ruins, including Babylon, to tell a flattering story about his own authoritarian regime. http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180419-saddam-disney-for-a-despot-how-dictators-exploit-ruins

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April 19, 2018

Al Monitor published an article titled “Iraqi musicians fight to revive ancient art of maqam” (by Adnan Abu Zeed). A group of Iraqi artists are trying to revive the traditional art of maqam, a musical style played with Iraqi instruments and strong vocals. https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/04/iraqi-maqam-under-threat-of-disapperance.html

The Guardian published an article titled “Destruction at the ancient site of Mari in Syria” (by Mary Shepperson). Recent damage to the site of Mari is discussed. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/apr/19/destruction-at-the-ancient-site-of-mari-in-syria

The Washington Post published an article titled “How American neglect imperils the victory over ISIS” (by Tamer El-Ghobashy). The author reports on a growing sentiment in Raqqa, which remains largely in rubble, that “the United States wrecked the city but is unwilling to take responsibility for putting it back together.” Local officials in Raqqa are concerned that the US objective of ridding Syria of ISIS has been undermined by its lack of engagement with rebuilding Raqqa, which may contribute to the emergence of another insurgency. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/syria/raqqa-residents-abandoned-and-forgotten/?utm_term=.108c0e0aba41

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April 18, 2018

The University of Pennsylvania will host a lecture titled "The Evolution of Archaeological Research in Duhok Province, Kurdistan Region" by Hasan Ahmed Qasim, Director of Antiquities and Museums in Dohuk. https://www.sas.upenn.edu/ancient/events.html

TRT World published an article titled “Libya's dwindling number of traditional pit houses” (by Rahul Radhakrishnan). The tradition of building subterranean pit houses in towns like Gharyan in Libya is in decline. https://www.trtworld.com/life/libya-s-dwindling-number-of-traditional-pit-houses-16812

Kurdistan 24 published an article titled “VIDEO: Kurdish cultural museum in Rojava hopes to attract international visitors” (by Karzan Sulaivany). The Sehid Ferhad Museum of Cultural Heritage in Qamishlo, Rojava houses 1,060 Syrian Kurdish artifacts and antiques. http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/bd300ed7-cf42-445e-a602-c940d28d54ad

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April 16, 2018

Asharq al-Awsat published an article titled “Two Thieves Steal Bells from Historic Church in Libya” (by Jamal Jawhar). Thieves stole two copper bells from the historic Church of Santa Maria in Tripoli and sold them for scrap. ASOR CHI Incident Report LHI 18-0019 https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1239126/two-thieves-steal-bells-historic-church-libya

OnuItalia published an article titled “Unite4Heritage: carabinieri addestrano specialisti iracheni per tutela patrimonio (Unite4Heritage: Carabinieri train Iraq specialists for heritage protection).” Officers of the Italian Carabinieri held a training course for 31 Iraqi police officers, cultural heritage experts, and academics that taught techniques to protect cultural heritage and combat looting. http://www.onuitalia.com/2018/04/16/unite4heritage-carabinieri-addestrano-specialisti-iracheni-per-tutela-patrimonio/

Wired published an article titled “Google's 3D models are saving the world’s most at-risk heritage sites” (by Phoebe Braithwaite). Google Arts and Culture will partner with CyArk for a project known as Open Heritage that will create 3D models of heritage sites at risk of destruction, including al-Azem Palace in Damascus. http://www.wired.co.uk/article/google-arts-culture-cyark-open-heritage-chichen-itza-bagan

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April 15, 2018

Iraqi News published an article titled “Iraq declares UN initiative to rehabilitate ancient sites in Nineveh” (by Mohammed Ebraheem). Qais Hussein Rashid, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, reports that an initiative brokered by the UN and several other countries aims at “re-constructing touristic, archaeological and heritage sites destroyed by terrorist IS gangs in the city of Mosul.” https://www.iraqinews.com/features/iraq-declares-un-initiative-to-rehabilitate-ancient-sites-in-nineveh/

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April 14, 2018

Apollo Magazine published an article titled “Ancient civilisations get a modern makeover at the Penn Museum” (by Eve Kahn). New galleries dedicated to the Penn Museum’s enormous collection of Near Eastern artifacts will open in April. https://www.apollo-magazine.com/ancient-civilisations-get-a-modern-makeover-at-the-penn-museum/

The Syria Times published an article titled “Tour in Prof. Fawaz Azki's Geological Museum.” The Fawaz Azki Geological Museum, Syria’s first museum dedicated to geology, is located in the village of Kismin in Lattakia Governorate. It is home to hundreds of fossils and other artifacts. http://syriatimes.sy/index.php/tourism/35949-tour-in-prof-fawaz-azki-s-geological-museum

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April 13, 2018

Trade Arabia published an article titled “Arab engineers to discuss Iraq, Syria reconstruction.” The Federation of Arab Engineers and International Fairs and Promotions will jointly host a major summit in Baghdad on October 18–19, 2018 to discuss reconstruction plans for cities in Iraq and Syria. http://tradearabia.com/news/MISC_339067.html

UNESCO World Heritage Centre published an article titled “Geneva Declaration ‘Human Rights and Culture Heritage: Committed Cities Working Together’ adopted.” The Declaration, adopted in Geneva on March 26, 2018, aims to “clarify cities’ obligations in the area of cultural heritage rehabilitation, particularly in relation to intentionally destroyed cultural heritage” and “puts forward proposals for implementation.” The cities of Mosul, Timbuktu, and Diyarbakir were among the first to sign the Declaration. http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1808

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April 12, 2018

Mada published an article titled “Plan(s) for Greater Baghdad: How hidden stories shape iconic cities” (by Ala Younis). Ala Younis has developed “Plan for Greater Baghdad,” an art installation focused on the Baghdad Gymnasium, a stadium designed by renowned architect Charles-Édouard “Le Corbusier” Jeanneret in the 1950s. The installation includes a model of the complex, 3D-printed representations of key figures in the story of its construction, and “layered timelines that blend archival material with artistic responses.” https://www.madamasr.com/en/2018/04/12/feature/culture/plans-for-greater-baghdad-how-hidden-stories-shape-iconic-cities/

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April 11, 2018

Iraqi News published an article titled “Iraq thwarts Islamic State’s plot to explode ancient citadel in Nineveh” (by Mohammed Ebraheem). Iraqi security forces reportedly thwarted an attempt by ISIS militants to detonate explosives at Tal Afar Citadel. https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/iraq-thwarts-islamic-states-plot-to-explode-ancient-citadel-in-nineveh/

Syria Deeply published an article titled “Expert Views: Beyond a Top-down Approach to Aleppo’s Reconstruction” (by Jenny Morber). The Syrian government and Damascus-affiliated institutions have near-complete control over the planning and implementation of reconstruction projects in Aleppo. Experts warn that excluding Aleppo’s local population from urban planning efforts could be detrimental to the city’s recovery. https://www.newsdeeply.com/syria/community/2018/04/11/expert-views-beyond-a-top-down-approach-to-aleppos-reconstruction

Niqash published an article titled “Tikrit Turns Saddam Hussein’s Palaces Into Tourist Attractions” (by Ghazwan Hassan al-Jibouri). Dozens of palaces built by Saddam Hussein in the Tikrit area are in a state of decay. The local council in Tikrit hopes to turn some into tourist attractions. http://www.niqash.org/en/articles/society/5877/Tikrit-Turns-Saddam-Hussein%E2%80%99s-Palaces-Into-Tourist-Attractions.htm

Al Hurra published a video report titled “في الموصل ... وفد من وزارة السياحة واليونسكو يعلن انطلاق مشاريع لإعادة تأهيل مواقع أثرية ودور عبادة (In Mosul, a delegation from the Ministry of Tourism and UNESCO announced the launch of projects for the rehabilitation of archaeological sites and places of worship).” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpqhhuIrbcQ

The Libya Observer published an article titled “Fine arts exhibition held at Youth Houses of Shahhat Municipality” (by Housam Najjair). The Department of Fine Arts at the University of Sabratha organized an art exhibition at the Youth Houses of Shahhat Municipality in cooperation with the Union of Libyan World Heritage Municipalities. The exhibit is intended to create awareness of the importance of preserving Libyan cultural heritage and protecting archaeological sites from damage and looting. https://www.libyaobserver.ly/art/fine-arts-exhibition-held-youth-houses-shahhat-municipality

Heritage for Peace published its bi-weekly newsletter titled “Damage to Syria's Heritage - 11 April 2018.” http://www.heritageforpeace.org/syria-culture-and-heritage/damage-to-cultural-heritage/previous-damage-newsletters/5199-2/

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April 10, 2018

The Conversation published an article titled “Fifteen years after looting, thousands of artefacts are still missing from Iraq’s national museum” (by Craig Barker). A discussion of the 2003 looting of the National Museum of Iraq and the scale of the illegal antiquities market today. https://theconversation.com/fifteen-years-after-looting-thousands-of-artefacts-are-still-missing-from-iraqs-national-museum-93949

Al Monitor published an article titled “Iraqi boat-makers struggle to keep their trade afloat” (by Wassim Bassem). The craft of boat-building, one of Iraq’s oldest industries, is disappearing, with only a few dozen artisans remaining in the country. https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/04/iraqi-mashoofs-on-verge-of-disappearance.html

Science Magazine published an article titled “War savages ancient sites in Yemen and Iraq, destroying archaeological record” (by Andrew Lawler). A discussion of the devastation war has wrought on archaeological sites in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/04/war-savages-ancient-sites-yemen-and-iraq-destroying-archaeological-record

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April 8, 2018

The Arab Weekly published an article titled “World heritage in Syria and Libya agonising under the world’s idle eyes” (by Samar Kadi). Cheikhmous Ali, the founder of the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology (APSA), discusses damage to sites and museums throughout Syria. https://thearabweekly.com/world-heritage-syria-and-libya-agonising-under-worlds-idle-eyes

Al Monitor published an article titled “Iraqi churches shoulder burden of reconstruction, for now” (by Judit Neurink). Approximately 22,000 people have returned to the town of Qaraqosh, largely due to clean-up and reconstruction efforts led by the local church. https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/04/iraq-christian-kurdistan.html

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April 7, 2018

The Libya Observer published an article titled “U.S. Embassy holds training to safeguard Libya’s rich cultural heritage” (by Safa Alharathy). The US Embassy in Libya organized a workshop in Tunis in partnership with Oberlin College to train attendees from the tourist police and customs, as well as archaeologists, in strategies and procedures used to investigate the illegal trafficking of cultural property. https://www.libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/us-embassy-holds-training-safeguard-libya%E2%80%99s-rich-cultural-heritage

Al Jazeera published an article titled “Syria: 'Absentees law' could see millions of refugees lose lands” (by Arwa Ibrahim). New legislation could allow the Syrian government to confiscate properties of displaced Syrians unless they prove ownership in 30 days. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/syria-absentees-law-millions-refugees-lose-lands-180407073139495.html

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April 5, 2018

The Irish Times published an article titled “Syria: ‘We received money for documentation but not restoration’” (by Michael Jansen). According to the author, foreign archaeologists (with the exception of teams from Hungary) no longer work in Syria, and no funds are available for the restoration of monuments even in relatively peaceful regions. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/syria-we-received-money-for-documentation-but-not-restoration-1.3452100?mode=amp

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April 4, 2018

Voice of America published an article titled “Mosul Artist Paints Over IS Graffiti With Murals of City's Old Glory” (by Rikar Hussein & Kawa Omar). Walid Dabagh, an artist in Mosul, paints over the remains of ISIS graffiti in the city with murals recounting life in the Old City of Mosul before ISIS rule. https://www.voanews.com/a/mosul-artists-paints-over-islamic-state-graffiti-with-murals-city-old-glory/4332824.html

The New York Times published an article titled “The ISIS Files” (by Rukmini Callimachi). The author describes finding caches of documents in Mosul and the surrounding region to help create a narrative of daily life under ISIS rule. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/04/04/world/middleeast/isis-documents-mosul-iraq.html

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April 3, 2018

Reuters published an article titled “‘Letters from Baghdad’ shows Iraq through eyes of British female explorer and spy who shaped it” (by Maher Chmaytelli). A new documentary on Gertrude Bell focuses on the life of a female explorer who helped shape modern Iraq. Screenings of the film in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq have been organized by the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-movie/letters-from-baghdad-shows-iraq-through-eyes-of-british-female-explorer-and-spy-who-shaped-it-idUSKCN1HA1L9

Al Jazeera published an article titled “Mosul post-ISIL: Iraq seeks to rebuild its 'destroyed' heritage” (by Imran Khan). Iraqi archaeologists say the Iraq government has done little to assess the damage and destruction caused by the ISIS. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/mosul-post-isil-iraq-seeks-rebuild-destroyed-heritage-180403120141676.html

Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME) published an article titled “Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Gives CLIR $1.12M Grant for DLME” (by Peter Herdrich). The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) $1.12 million “to implement a sustainable, extensible digital library platform and set of curatorial processes to federate records relating to the cultural heritage of the Middle East.” https://dlme.clir.org/2018/04/03/andrew-w-mellon-foundation-gives-clir-1-12m-grant-for-dlme/

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April 2, 2018

The Libya Observer published an article titled “Sabha's historic castle hit with rockets as tribal tension continues” (by Safa Alharathy). The southern walls of Sabha Castle were reportedly damaged during ongoing fighting in the city. https://www.libyaobserver.ly/news/sabhas-historic-castle-hit-rockets-tribal-tension-continues

The British Museum published a blog post titled “Trade and contraband in ancient Assyria” (by Mathilde Touillon-Ricci). The author discusses merchant activity and correspondence in the ancient cities of Ashur in Iraq and Qanesh in Turkey, ca. 1900 BCE. https://blog.britishmuseum.org/trade-and-contraband-in-ancient-assyria/

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April 1, 2018

The Guardian published an article titled “UK archaeologists help Iraqis restore their Isis-ravaged heritage” (by Peter Beaumont). The British Museum will train groups of female archaeologists in archaeological restoration at the world’s oldest-known bridge, located at the entrance to the ancient Sumerian city of. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/01/uk-archaeologists-help-iraqis-restore-their-isis-ravaged-heritage

Deutsche Welle published an article titled “Mali: Alleged Timbuktu destroyer to appear at International Criminal Court.” A second member of the Al Qaeda-linked militant group Ansar al-Dine will be tried at the International Criminal Court on charges of destroying cultural heritage in Timbuktu, among other crimes. http://www.dw.com/en/mali-alleged-timbuktu-destroyer-to-appear-at-international-criminal-court/a-43212936


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