Iraqi official: Theft of antiquities reaching dangerous levels
Posted : Mon, 10 May 2010 11:49:51 GMT
By : dpa
Category : Culture (General)
Baghdad – The theft of ancient artifacts from an important historical
site in Iraq’s southern Nasiriyah province is accelerating to
dangerous levels, an Iraqi official warned on Monday.
The Tel Joukha area, around 10 kilometres square and just west of the
city of al-Rifae, holds artifacts from the Sumerian kingdom, dating
back to 5,000 BC, Jamil Yusuf Shabib, Vice President of Nasiriyah
local council’s anti-corruption commitee, told dpa.
“Tel Joukha is being subjected to frequent looting, particularly by
residents of the areas surrounding the site,” he said.
The committee had called on police forces to protect the artifacts
numerous times, said Shabib, but the thefts continued to take place
“in plain sight of everyone.”
The area contains artifacts from some of the most important kingdoms
in Iraqi history, Amer Abdel-Raziq al-Zubaidi, head of Iraq’s
antiquities department, said.
“I call on the Iraqi and the Nasiriya local government as well as
international organizations to protect this area and establish a
security presence there, as well as to carry out excavations as soon
as possible in order to save these precious artifacts,” al-Zubaidi
The Nasiriyah area, 375 kilometres south of Baghdad, is historically
rich, with more than 1,200 known archaeological sites from successive
civilisations spanning 7,000 years.