Athena Review:  Archaeology News Archive

Iraq, Iran, Kuwait (Mesopotamia)


News archive index by region          Main page- Archaeology in the News         Main index of Athena Review      Current issue index  



The modern sacking of Nippur (July, 2003)

Nippur, famed fertile crescent city 200 km south of Baghdad, held the main temple of Enil, principal diety of the early Sumerian civilization from about 3500-2500 BC. Nippur has yielded numerous clay tablets with cuneiform inscriptions, telling of the city’s long history from Sumerian through Akkadian and Babylonian times. Here the law code of Hammurabi of Babylon prevailed in the 2nd millenium BC. Overall, the city was inhabited for nearly 5000 years, into the 9th century AD.

Sadly, many of Nippur’s structures, tombs, and artifacts, including its priceless cuneiform tablets, are currently being looted in the lawless aftermath of Saddam Hussein's fall. Today this world heritage site, now in a state of serious decay, is being routinely desecrated by thieves. A site guard for University of Chicago excavations (in progress since 1980) can only watch while well organized armed looters invade the site at night. Isin, Another Mesopotamian site supposedly under protection, has been almost completely destroyed. (



  • Early Vintage: 1st evidence of wine, in Iran’s Zagros mountains (AR 1,1)


  • Catal Hoyuk gains new Neolithic context (AR 2,3)







News Alerts  
email, comments for Athena Review

The news articles on this website are in abbreviated form; selected full articles are in the Recent Finds in Archaeology section of Athena Review.


©2004-2005 Athena Publications Inc. - Athena Review Main Index -  Subject Index  - Free issue  -  Subscribe