SIS’s Looting Campaign

16 Oct 2014 4:02 PM | Anonymous

SIS’s Looting Campaign

By David Kohn

For the past eighteen months, the University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Katharyn Hanson has been spending a lot of time analyzing satellite images from Iraq and Syria. As fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) overrun the region, they have been digging up many archaeological sites and looting whatever they find. “You get these sites that look like Swiss cheese, with all the holes,” Hanson said. “It’s just pockmarked.”

Thousands of vital archaeological sitesundefinedremains from Bronze and Iron Age settlements as well as from Islamic, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine civilizationsundefinedare now at risk. Humans built the first cities in the region, and some spots have been continuously occupied for more than six thousand years. “It’s a cliché, but it’s true. This is the cradle of civilization,” the director of research at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, Brian Daniels, told me.

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