Donny George, Protector of Iraq’s Ancient Riches, Dies at 60

Historians in the News

Donny George, an esteemed Iraqi archaeologist who tried to stop the looters ransacking the Iraq National Museum after the invasion of 2003, then led in recovering thousands of stolen artifacts in the ensuing years, died on Friday in Toronto. He was 60.

His friend Gwendolen Cates said he had a heart attack in the Toronto airport.

Dr. George fled Iraq in 2006 because of threats to his family. He was also angry that Iraq’s post-invasion politicians seemed interested mainly in archaeology pertaining to the Islamic conquest in the seventh century and its aftermath. His passions were the older civilizations of the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians. He directed a major excavation of Babylon.

“I can no longer work with these people who have come in with the new ministry,” he said in an interview with The Guardian in Britain. “They have no knowledge of archaeology, no knowledge of antiquities.”...

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