Near Babylon? Wondering where to park your tank?

… The Processonal Walk in the ancient city of Babylon still has excellent spots available. It isn’t news, the US army itself has admitted that it has caused damage to the ancient ruins of Babylon. Sandbags have been filled with fragment of artifacts and yet unexplored plots have been turned into helicopter landing pads. Now it seems guilt has finally kicked in. The World Monuments Fund and the US Embassy in Iraq have launched an initiative to start mapping the ancient sites.. they’re calling it ‘The Future of Babylon‘ project. The plan is to get a master plan for the conservation and reopening of the ruins to tourists. But it seems the British Muesum has beat us to the punch. Babylon: Myth and Reality. Best quote from Reuter’s report:

“They dug trenches for storing gas by the Babylon theater,” said Maitham Hamza, who keeps the site’s two museums. “They also crushed walls by landing helicopters on them.”

Oh and the US Embassy is donating $700,000 towards the restoration of the site… *sigh*.

3 Responses to “Near Babylon? Wondering where to park your tank?”

  1. quixote Says:

    $700,000, huh? Wow. Big spenders. That’ll buy what? Maybe one McDonalds franchise? With a sum that large, gotta make sure it’s used right.

  2. Dogbuff Says:

    WEll, it’s a good old tradition to blow things to smithereens and then pump $$ to get it “fixed”. Would be nice to know what is meant by restoration. This historical site sure has seen some weird things in it’s day; from bricks taken to build houses in the nearby villages to Saddam’s “reconstruction” of the place..dunno which is worse, actually. There was a time when we used to go there and literally stumble on Indiana Jones…no joke


  3. ChrisB Says:

    The British Museum has a display making reference to the US army’s vandalism in the main galleries where the core collection of artefacts from this area and period are kept.

    The Babylon exhibition also makes some reference to this but its main focus is a small number of the original tiled panels taken from the much larger collection at the Stats Museum Berlin.

    Then there’s a lot of good writen stuff on Babylon the historic site and a rather curious if interesting series of displays [maybe half the whole small exhibition, costing a whopping £8 entry, incidentally] on subsequent [inaccurate] attempts to reimagine Babylon and its curious cultural echoes in Western culture as a muythic place of excess. Rastafarianism even gets a look in.

    Its caused me to reflect on what would have occurred had the painted tile panels stayed in situ, ignoring the probability of Saddam trying a fuller restoration and building some crazy vanity project around them, would they have made the site’s significance clearer to the grunts or simply resulted in greater losses to the archaeological record. Probably they would have been looted I suppose.

    Links here to the stuff on the BM Iraq Project and the Babylon site:

    StaatlicheMuseen Berlin pics of the Ishtar Gate collection:

    Some pics on Flickr of the StatsMuseum Berlin reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate Processional Way:
    Processional Way Babylon Ishtar Gate

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