Do you want to keep up-to-date with stories about the ancient Middle East? Here are some links that might help. I’ve filtered out the nonsense, but please bear in mind that not everything you read is entirely true.
Seizure of objects in Norway
It is reported that 100 objects have been seized from a well-known private collection in Norway. They include a famous stela bearing an image of the ziggurat of Babylon. The seizure was in response to a letter from the Iraqi ambassador. Further report: https://www.nrk.no/norge/kjempebeslag-av-uvurderlige-kulturgjenstander-hos-norsk-storsamler-1.15635305
Major return of objects to Iraq
The most significant repatriation of objects to Iraq took place recently. About 17,000 clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform have been returned. About 12,000 came from the Museum of the Bible and about 5,000 from Cornell University. The well-known tablet containing text from the Gilgamesh Epic was not among them.
Iraqi Minister of Culture, Hassan Nadhem, quoted in New York Times as saying “It restores not just the tablets, but the confidence of the Iraqi people by enhancing and supporting the Iraqi identity in these difficult times.”
Makhoul dam causes significant concern
Construction of the Makhoul dam will flood a large area, displacing people and covering many important archaeological sites.
New funding for Nahrein Network
New funding provides for another 10 years of funding for the project aimed at promoting sustainable capacity development in Iraq.
New statues installed at Nasiriyah Museum
Two statues of ancient rulers of the region, Gudea and Ur-Namma, have been revealed to the public outside Nasiriyah Museum. They are the work of Iraqi sculptor Ahmed Hassan. November 24th.
Dr Laith Majeed Hussein new Head of SBAH
Iraqi Minister for Culture, Dr Hassan Nadhem, has confirmed Dr Laith Majeed Hussein as the new Head of the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage. Congratulations to Dr Laith! November 23rd. You can hear about some of his research on TEW episode 1.
Security cameras installed at Nineveh
New security cameras have been installed at the iconic site of Nineveh in Mosul. This technology could be a huge help in protecting the countless sites of Iraq. November 10th.
New female author identified
Researchers at the University of Munich have discovered that Bullussa-rabi, the author of a literary text addressed to Gula, goddess of healing, was a woman. Later scribes assumed that she must have been a man. October 22nd.
Attacks on objects in Berlin
Reports are emerging that on 3rd October, at least 70 objects in Berlin museums were attacked with an oily substance. Reports further claim that the motivation is suspected to have been a conspiracy theory that Chancellor Merkel was using an ancient altar for human sacrifices as part of a global satanic cult. These claims are baseless.
New exhibition by Michael Rakowitz in Clinton , NY
“For Michael Rakowitz: Nimrud, the Iraqi-American artist has recreated Room H from the well-known Northwest Palace in the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud …” October 19th
Op Ed on the closure of the CUNES collection
Neil Brodie on 13th October 2020 writes an opinion piece on Cornell University’s Jonathan and Jeannette Rosen Cuneiform Tablet Collection (CUNES Collection).
Renewed site looting in southern Iraq
Middle East Eye 12th October 2020 carries a story about how the ongoing economic problems, exacerbated by the impact of Covid 19, has led to a new wave of site looting.