In DepthArchaeology

Mission aims to salvage what's left of Nimrud

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Science  29 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6358, pp. 1340-1341
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6358.1340

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More than 2 years after the Islamic State group first rampaged through the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, bombing and bulldozing 3000-year-old temples and statues, a mission to preserve what's left is underway. This autumn, more than 20 archaeologists and conservators from Iraq and the United States will enter Nimrud, which is now controlled by the Iraqi government after nearby military successes. They are following a strategy called "first aid for cultural heritage," developed by an intergovernmental organization in Italy and first applied after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Time is of the essence because the artifacts urgently need protection. The team will identify and inventory objects and rubble, trying to work out how pieces of smashed structures, statues, and friezes once fit together. They must also separate original materials from pieces of roofing structure and from parts of the site that were reconstructed in recent decades. Items will then be moved to storage facilities at the edge of Nimrud.