Wednesday 28 October 2015

UK Project to Protect Iraq Heritage from IS vandalism

The US has their ASOR project on Syrian antiquities, but the UK has launched its
A £3m ($4.5m) scheme to help Iraq protect its antiquities from war and Islamic State terrorism has been announced by the UK government. The Iraqi emergency heritage management project will use British expertise to help train experts from the country to assess and document threatened sites. The British Museum will run the scheme over the next five years.
I suppose the next question is just how Bloomsbury, taking this money, intend to stop ISIL blowing up or bulldozing just whatsoever takes their fancy? They cannot even get best practice from metal detectorists in the UK, so I do not hold out much hope the ISIL islamists in distant Northwest Iraq are going to listen to them.

Update 28th October 2015

as if in answer to the above question, a later clarification appears from Martin Bailey, 'British Museum helps ‘prepare for aftermath’ of Isil' Art Newspaper 28th Oct 2015. It seems a bit inaccurate to say you're protecting something "from" when what you mean is "after they've gone".
A museum spokeswoman said the programme, which has been awarded a £3m grant fr om the UK government, would help Iraq to document the damage and start the process of reconstruction and preservation.[...] Jonathan Tubb, the keeper of the department of the Middle East at the British Museum, says there has been a feeling of impotence in the face of Isil atrocities at archaeological sites. “We can’t do anything on the ground, so this seems a very positive contribution to prepare for the aftermath,” he says. The museum’s plan is to recruit two international archaeologists to head a training project. Small groups of Iraqi archaeologists will come to London for a three-month course and then return to their home country, where they will receive three further months of training from the two international specialists. The courses in Iraq will take place in the more secure regions of Kurdistan, in the north, and Basra, in the south. Altogether 50 Iraqis will be trained to work on damaged sites over the five-year period. Tubb hopes that the project may ultimately be expanded to include Syria and Yemen, although security conditions there make this impossible at present. John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, is [...] expected to reaffirm the UK government’s commitment to ratifying the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
I thought we'd done that? When does the UK stop talking about its "commitment to" doing something and actually goes about doing what it should have done decades ago?

Vignette: Stop the vandalism

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