Saturday, 11 January 2020

'Artefact detectives’ in Iraq aim to end the theft of their history' (video)

Crowd-sourcing attempt in Iraq to retrieve countless historical items taken from their country over the years (Artefact detectives’ in Iraq aim to end the theft of their history', Euronews 10/01/2020) 

Leading the charge is Wafaa Hassan, a recovery specialist at the National Museum of Iraq, with her team of archaeologists and lawyers. Together, they scour online websites like eBay and auction houses for ancient, national pieces, with the intention of repatriating them. To strengthen their efforts, Hassan’s squad works in partnership with agencies like Interpol, international museums and embassies. The team of archaeologists and lawyers look for lost Iraqi artefacts around the world “Each item is our history. Each item inside the museum, and also inside the archaeological site, belongs to Iraq,” says Hassan. Despite the group’s finds, recovering Iraq’s lost artefacts remains an uphill battle. There are an estimated 15,000 archaeological sites across the country and only 10 per cent that have been excavated. Many sites are unprotected and, therefore, left vulnerable to thieves. “You cannot stop the looting of these sites. It’s a continuous process, that each day they take tens or hundreds [of items] and they smuggle it out from Iraq,” says Hassan.

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