We are all horrified by the recent destruction of antiquities and sites in the Middle East. Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. Wars and the destruction, willful or otherwise, of antiquities have been going on for millennia.
As an archaeological conservator, I have been involved in two cases where antiquities were the casualties of war and the accompanying civil unrest. In October 2003.1 went to Baghdad lo assess the conditions in the Iraq Museum after the American invasion. This lecture will discuss the damage sustained by the museum and the antiquities.
War and civil unrest often lead to the looting of sites and museums. The looted material more often than not ends up on the antiquities market. The second case discussed involves some Byzantine mosaics that were looted from a church in Northern Cyprus after the invasion of Turkey in 1974 and later occupation. The fate of these mosaics is discussed and illustrates the damage that can befall antiquities in the inexperienced hands of the antiquities market.