Museums: Custodian for the Fertile Crescent

"A shelf and a half in a borrowed room" is all that Oxford Archaeologist Max Mallowan remembers the Iraq Museum as being back in 1925. But the surge of Arab nationalism that made Iraq independent after World War I carried with it pride in a past that goes back 90 centuries, and included such mighty capitals as Babylon, Nineveh and Ur. In 1936 laws were passed to safeguard Iraq's antiquities, which for over a century had been filtering out to the world's great museums. And to insure that relics unearthed in the...

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