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Iraq: John Curtis on Looted Sites

The British Museum survey of archaeological sites in southern Iraq during June 2008 has been widely discussed. Martin Bailey writing for The Art Newspaper misleadingly suggested that there was no evidence for looting. Although the eight sites surveyed were not necessarily representative of Iraq as a whole, some pro-collecting lobby groups latched onto the story (see earlier comments).

John Curtis has now written a summary of the survey: 'Iraq Now', British Museum Magazine 61 (Autumn 2008), 24-25. He discusses the problem of looting as well as damage from military activity. He concludes, 'it does not appear that there has been significant looting at any of the eight sites [in southern Iraq] since 2003'. But Curtis continues:
We were not able to visit sites further north that are known to have been badly looted following the coalition invasion, and the situation at these sites might well be much worse. Further assessments are urgently needed.

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