In DepthArchaeology

Militants leave trail of destruction at Iraqi sites

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Science  13 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6227, pp. 1185-1186
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6227.1185

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Summary

While inflicting misery on the people of northern Iraq, supporters of the Islamic State group have also attacked one ancient site after another in the past 2 weeks, systematically taking sledgehammers and drills to artifacts. Reports say that the militant forces are using bulldozers to demolish ancient buildings. By last week the toll included the statues in the Mosul Museum, the classical site of Hatra, and the ancient Assyrian capitals of Nineveh, Nimrud, and Khorsabad, famed for their massive protective deities in the form of human-headed winged bulls. Assur, a 4500-year-old temple-studded Assyrian city where kings and queens were laid to rest for centuries, is likely the next target, say archaeologists, who are desperately trying to piece together the extent of the damage.