IRAQ: Troops `Are Letting Looters Smuggle Iraqi Antiquities'
David Keys Archaeology Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
THE AMERICAN military was accused yesterday of doing nothing to prevent the mass smuggling of Iraq's antiquities - three weeks after the country's museums were ransacked.
Dr Donny George, the Iraq Museum's head of research, saidat the British Museum: "Anyone can take anything and go out of the country. It's a tragedy." Border checks were only being made on its western frontier by Jordanian police, he said.
Dr George and his colleague at the British Museum, Dr John Curtis, said thousands of objects were now thought to have been looted from the Iraq Museum - one of the most important museum collections in the world.
Among them is the Warka Vase from Uruk - a large limestone vessel decorated with a relief of ancient religious rites that dates from 3,100BC.
Also lost is the spectacular gold covering of an ancient lyre from the Sumerian city of Ur; a headless, inscribed statue of King Entemena of Lagash, dating from 2,400BC, and an ivory carving of a lion attacking a Nubian, made in around 800BC, from Nimrud. …