Piecing back together an Iraqi archaeological gem blown sky-high by Isis

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tags: archaeology, ISIS, Kalhu



The shattered ruins of Nimrud say different things to different people. To Sheikh Abdullah Saleh, a custodian of the ancient site until he was chased away by Islamic State extremists two years ago, they represent nothing but destruction and loss.

To Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih the hulking piles of rock are a big jigsaw puzzle, from which one of the world’s most significant ancient sites might be slowly rebuilt.

Both the sheikh and the scholar have stood in the rubble of Nimrud in the week since the Iraqi military reclaimed what remained of it. Salih was at the site on Friday, picking out inscriptions from cracked stone and, in her mind’s eye, reassembling the giant winged buffaloes, known as lamassus, which Isis had laid to ruin among dozens of other priceless artefacts that had been there for almost 4,000 years.




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