Evaluating the Damage done at the Mosul Museum

This large hole in the floor of the museum allowed looters to carry away smaller portable antiquities

As Iraqi forces are slowly gaining ground against ISIL fighters in Mosul, journalists have been shown the damage done to the museum in Mosul. The museum now sits almost completely empty, with many objects either carted away or smashed.

To be clear though, many of the objects in the museum had been taken away from the museum, an estimated 75% of the collection, as the museum was slated for renovation. Even some of the objects that were damaged and destroyed in the ISIL videos were likely museum-quality reproductions, so though the damage looked to have been catastrophic, many things survived. As for the portable objects, that material seems destined for the international antiquities market, likely with a fabricated history.

CBS reporter Holly Williams reports on efforts by Iraqi forces to retake Mosul, and is shown the damage done to the museum in Mosul near the end of this report:

  1. Kawa Omar, First look: Inside the museum ISIS pulverised, NewsComAu (Mar. 0, 2017), http://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/inside-devastating-ruins-of-mosul-museum-looted-and-vandalised/news-story/35302f51261428de5e69a410d35a1d4c.
  2. Ben Wedeman, ISIS devastated Mosul Museum, or did it?, CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/12/middleeast/mosul-museum-isis/index.html.

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