Sunday, 12 April 2015

Lamassu gone - but not a lot "saved"

It seems from the video that there was a lamassu gone before the ISIL blew up the palace, which would suggest that it was not destroyed in the explosions that left the site a huge crater. Is this the origin of the stonework we see being pounded by jack-hammers in front of the palace? If so, was the whole sculpture destroyed (why can we not see the head among the fragments)?

Here is the crater which has removed all the walls, floor levels, construction levels, ancient alterations, stratified deposits and who knows what else that remained on the site despite the earlier excavations. Perhaps a collector will say that we should not prevent artefact looting and smuggling, because it "saves" the artefacts themselves from destruction by ideologues. I really think this argument fails in the face of the tremendous loss of the archaeological and structural evidence we see in holes like this. A lamassu head and a few handfuls of cuneiiform tablets (or whatever) can never be a substitute for the mass of information lost here by the destruction of a substantial portion of the site in order to get them out. In any case, into whose pockets is that money going?

1 comment:

Brian Curtiss said...

To me there is no excuse, not "saving" the object, not anything, that can excuse lining the pockets of ISIL, arming them, quite literally for more destruction. The objects would be better off lost forever than "saving" them and providing additional funding for continued destruction of history.

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