© Joanne Farchakh-Bajjaly / A U.S. tank outside the children's section of the Iraq National Museum. On April 8, 2003, a gaping hole in the façade of this gateway was made by a U.S. tank round. The Assyrian winged bull in the gateway is similar to the one on display in the Yelda Khorsabad Court in the Oriental Institute Museum.
Through January 5, Catastrophe! Ten Years Later: The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past is on view at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. This award-winning exhibition focuses on the looting of Baghdad’s Iraq Museum in April 2003 during the Iraq war. The museum was one of the most important museums of ancient culture, and this loss of antiquities and records was devastating. No artifacts are displayed in the exhibition; the cultural loss is conveyed through images and text.
This year is the tenth anniversary of the museum’s looting, and the exhibition has been updated with new content. This updated version is premiering at the ROM; the exhibition was originally developed, written and produced at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in 2008 and has toured internationally since then.
© Carabinieri / At a distance, the extent of looting at Umma and the surrounding area is highly visible. However, the scarred landscape tells only half the story: at the bottom of some of these pits are horizontal tunnels dug by looters in an attempt to stay out of the desert sun and exploit the most profitable layer of artifacts. This image was taken during a helicopter flight over archaeological sites conducted by the Carabinieri, an Italian military police unit stationed in Iraq from June though November 2003.