Destruction in Mesopotamia

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Science  06 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5527, pp. 32-35
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5527.32

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BAGHDAD-- The past decade has been the worst of times for Iraqi and foreign researchers specializing in Mesopotamia. War, poverty, looting, and isolation have taken their toll on Iraq's once-proud archaeological heritage. But Iraqi researchers and their foreign colleagues are now moving to protect ancient sites and begin a new generation of digs. This special focus section, based on a recent extensive tour of Iraq, looks at damage to museums and ancient sites and at the attempts to rebuild the shattered country's archaeological community (see p. 38) and end a long period of isolation (see p. 36). The final story describes a spectacular cache of gold artifacts that will soon be put on display in Baghdad and available to scholars after being locked away for protection since the outbreak of the Gulf War (see p. 42).