It’s Disturbingly Easy to Buy Iraq’s Archeological Treasures

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tags: Iraq, Archeological Treasures



Fifteen years after U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein, ushering in a period of instability that led to the plunder of the museum while ignoring pleas to secure the building, some 7,000 looted items have been returned, but about 8,000 are still out there. And that’s only counting the items that were stolen from the museum. After the invasion, thousands of other artifacts were taken directly out of the ground at archeological sites. In most cases, their whereabouts are unknown.

But experts have noticed an uptick in the availability of ancient Mesopotamian artifacts at online retailers since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Now, anyone with broadband and a bit of spare cash can buy one of these artifacts. It’s likely, however, that at least some of the post-2003 internet wealth of Mesopotamian treasures is actually stolen goods. Although a unesco convention requires proper certification for objects excavated and exported after 1970, auction websites generally don’t require sellers to make this certification available upfront to prospective buyers.

Read entire article at The Atlantic

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