In DepthArchaeology

Ancient sites savaged in Yemen, Iraq

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Science  13 Apr 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6385, pp. 140-141
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6385.140

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A new front has opened in the destruction of archaeological heritage in the Middle East. Across northern Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State (IS) group devastated antiquities during its reign of terror starting in 2014. The IS group has now been routed by Iraqi and Syrian forces, curbing the destruction but allowing archaeologists a firsthand look at an aftermath that is grimmer than many had expected. Meanwhile, the assault on antiquity has extended to Yemen, 2000 kilometers to the south, another archaeological treasure house riven by conflict. A Saudi-led bombing campaign combined with terrorist attacks has destroyed or severely damaged more than 60 sites, including what some archaeologists consider the world's oldest dam. Yemeni officials, backed by German researchers, say that the Saudi-inflicted damage appears to be a conscious effort to wipe out Yemen's rich heritage.