Updated: Islamic State group seeks to erase history in Iraq

12 Mar 2015 7:12 AM | Anonymous

Updated: Islamic State group seeks to erase history in Iraq 

The ancient city of Hatra fended off two Roman emperors and repulsed a ruler of Persia’s powerful Sassanid dynasty. But late last week, local people near the ornate ruins about 110 kilometers southwest of the Iraqi city of Mosul heard massive explosions that likely marked the demise of the 2000-year-old city and its spectacular, well-preserved sculptures and stone architecture.

While inflicting misery on the people of northern Iraq, supporters of the Islamic State group have also attacked one ancient site after another in the past 2 weeks, systematically taking sledgehammers and drills to artifacts. Other reports say that the forces of the group, increasingly known by its Arabic acronym Daesh, are using bulldozers to demolish ancient buildings. By last week the toll included the statues in the Mosul Museum, the classical site of Hatra, and the ancient Assyrian capitals of Nineveh, Nimrud, and Khorsabad, famed for their massive protective deities in the form of human-headed winged bulls. Assur, a 4500-year-old temple-studded Assyrian city where kings and queens were laid to rest for centuries, is likely the next target, say archaeologists, who are desperately trying to piece together the extent of the damage.

http://news.sciencemag.org/archaeology/2015/03/updated-islamic-state-group-seeks-erase-history-iraq

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