Policy ForumConservation

Fate of Iraqi Archaeology

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Science  21 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5614, pp. 1848-1849
DOI: 10.1126/science.1083494

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The present crisis in Iraq threatens an important part of the world's cultural heritage. Ancient Mesopotamia was the place where the first civilization developed. Thousands of sites may be endangered, and the National Museum is at particular risk. In the aftermath of the crisis, efforts must be made to assess damage not only from war but from the last 13 years of sanctions. Key to such an assessment is the continuation of the strong Antiquities Law of the country, and the full reconstitution of the Antiquities Department. International scholars and institutions are ready to aid in that revival.