Tuesday 10 May 2016

Nineveh Southwest Palace

More bad news from Nineveh. The Southwest Palace appears to have been dismantled:  Previously items looted from the site have been noted on the market:
In 1995, a relief sculpture looted from the Nineveh site museum was documented on the antiquities market (Russell 1998: 15, pl. 276). Additional sculptures were soon discovered on the market (Russell 1996). This led to a detailed cataloging and assessment of the Throne-Room Suite of Sennacherib’s Palace (Russell 1998). Photographs taken in 2013 by Iraqi excavators show the palace in disrepair after years of neglect as a result of 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom. Google Earth and DigitalGlobe imagery show that between June 3, 2002 and June 24, 2003 the roof covering the palace was stolen, exposing the palace interior. The World Monuments Fund replaced this roof in 2004. 
Now the site has been extensively damaged:
DigitalGlobe satellite imagery from May 8, 2016 shows the Palace of Sennacherib (Southwest Palace) at Nineveh has been completely dismantled, likely the result of scrap metal harvesting. This new imagery demonstrates that the economic exploitation of ancient Nineveh is even more severe than previously assessed. Between April 1, 2016 and May 2, 2016 the protective roof over the palace area, installed in 2004, was removed and the metal likely sold for scrap or reused. [...]  Between May 2 to May 8, 2016, the palace was further dismantled with the remaining metal pillars between Rooms I and V completely removed and the rest of the brick walls of Rooms I, IV, and V almost totally dismantled. Only small sections of the southern and western walls of Room V and the south wall of Room IV remain. Vehicle tracks now can be seen going inside the palace rooms, likely to remove the debris from the interior walls, and also now running directly through the Grand Entrance
Works referred to:
Russell, J.M. 1996a “Loss of Wall Reliefs from Sennacherib’s Palace at Nineveh, Iraq (704–681 BC).” IFAReports 17 no. 5 (May): 6–7;
Russell, J.M. 1996b “More Sculptures from Nineveh on the Market.” IFAReports 17 no. 12: 9–11;
Russell, J. M. 1998. The Final Sack of Nineveh. Yale University Press.
Barnett, B.D., E. Bleibtreu, and G. Turner (1998) Sculptures from the Southwest Palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh. British Museum Press.

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