Amid iconoclastic fury and the black market, we have lost a considerable part of our shared heritage. From a census of damage, we learn how a few heroes are trying to contain the extent of the tragedy.
In Ibn Hami, archaeologists slowly remove mosaics from the earth and are thrilled to discover that the figures are well preserved. At a first glance, they seem to date back to the 1st century AD, not an exceptional discovery from a historical and artistic point of view but still an amazing find. The mosaics were discovered in northeastern Syria, in a region under Kurdish control and recently freed from Islamic State (IS) domination. The archaeological dig is being carried out under the supervision of the Syrian General Directorate for Antiquities and Museums.
Fierce conflicts are being waged in Syria, Iraq and Yemen causing hundreds of thousands of casualties and creating millions of refugees. Among the dramatic victims of these wars has also been the region’s cultural and historic heritage. The temples of Palmyra in Syria, the many thousand-year-old sites at Nineveh and Hatra in Iraq, the ancient city of Barāqish in Yemen. These are just a few of the prominent victims of what Ban Ki-moon has deemed “cultural genocide”.