Karbala among main destinations for archaeological artifacts discovered in 2021
Iraqi Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Antiquities Hassan Nadhim announced on Thursday the discovery of more than 2,000 archaeological artifacts during 2021, Globaltimes.cn reported.
"We have opened an exhibition of artifacts discovered this year by joint foreign and Iraqi archaeological expeditions which worked in different areas in Iraq. These newly discovered artifacts will be added to the treasure troves of the Iraq Museum," Nadhim said in a statement during the opening ceremony of an exhibition in a hall of the national Iraq Museum in the capital Baghdad.
A separate statement by the ministry of culture said the archaeological artifacts were discovered by joint work of eight foreign expeditions and 12 local ones in the provinces of Baghdad, Babil, Dhi Qar, Karbala, Nineveh, and Najaf.
The ministry said the goal of holding such an exhibition is "to spread the archaeological culture (in Iraqi society) and send a message to the world that the security situation is stable in Iraq and foreign archaeological expeditions can move freely in the country."
Sinaa Mohsen, head of the exhibition, told Xinhua that the museum received about 2,250 artifacts discovered during the year, of which 463 are displayed in the hall, which date back to between 4,500 BC and 630 AD.
The discovered artifacts include pottery jars, ploughs, cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals, and necklaces from different periods of Iraqi history, Mohsen said, adding the discoveries indicate the richness of Mesopotamia in artifacts and archaeological sites that have not yet been excavated.
According to official statistics, about 15,000 archaeological items in Iraq were stolen or destroyed by looters, mainly in the national Iraq Museum, after Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled by the U.S.-led coalition in 2003.
More than 10,000 sites in Iraq are officially recognized as archaeological sites, but most of them are not safeguarded and many are still being looted.