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Oriental Institute to Examine the Looting of the Iraq National Museum

CHICAGO, IL.-The Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago will present an exhibit Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past in Chicago from April 10 to December 31, 2008. The opening date, April 10, marks the fifth anniversary of the looting of the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad.

The looting of the Iraq Museum was widely publicized in the international press. However, it is less well known that ongoing looting of archaeological sites poses an even greater threat to the cultural heritage of Iraq. The exhibit “Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past” and the April 12 symposium examine the ongoing destruction and looting of Iraq’s cultural heritage.

Iraq, ancient Mesopotamia, is the cradle of civilization, the region that spawned the seminal inventions of writing, the calendar, the wheel, and even the concept of cities. The history of the world quite literally begins in Mesopotamia, making the loss of its cultural patrimony a loss for all humanity.

Archaeologists involved with the exhibit include McGuire Gibson, University of Chicago Professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology, Geoff Emberling, Director of the Oriental Institute Museum, and exhibit co-curator, Katharyn Hanson.

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