Standing Tall Again: Fewer than half of 14,000 looted museum pieces have been located so far
By Larry Kaplow and Cathleen McGuigan NEWSWEEK
Feb 11, 2008 Issue
In the renovated Assyrian gallery of Baghdad's Iraq Museum, archeologist Amira Edan al-Dahab was doing what she likes best: explaining the priceless treasures in her care. Stately 3,000-year-old statues of royalty—a couple lost their heads during the museum's looting in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion—have been restored and are presiding over the vast space. Ancient stone reliefs line the walls, with intricate carving depicting the rituals of early civilization. In one panel, an Assyrian and a Babylonian king are posed shaking hands to seal a treaty, not unlike a diplomatic photo op today. But in another relief, victorious soldiers are piling up their enemies' severed heads as a tribute to a monarch in a chariot. Al-Dahab, the museum's temporary director, shakes her head. "You can see the violence all through history," she says. "This one was always ugly to me, but now it's even more so.".......