Google to digitise Iraq artefacts
The internet search giant, Google, says 14,000 images of the precious artefacts kept in Iraq’s National Museum will be available online from early next year.
Google’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, said the world should see Iraq’s rich heritage and contribution to culture.
“The history of the beginning of – literally – civilisation… is preserved in this museum,” he said.
Some 15,000 artefacts and antiquities were stolen from the museum when it was ransacked after 2003 US-led invasion.
Only about a quarter are believed to have been retrieved, despite international efforts to ban their trafficking or sale.
The museum, which only re-opened in February, nevertheless still holds countless relics from the Stone Age to the Babylonian, Assyrian and Islamic periods.
“I can think of no better use of our time and our resources than to make the images and ideas from your civilisation, from the very beginnings of time, available to billions of people worldwide,” Mr Schmidt told Iraqi officials at a ceremony in Baghdad.
Mr Schmidt said the thousands of images, “plus a few surprises”, would be available on the internet early next year.
The costs of the project, which have not so far been released, are being borne jointly by Google and the US state department.
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