Touring UK exhibition displays ancient artefacts from Iraq following IS destruction

Touring UK exhibition displays ancient artefacts from Iraq following IS destruction
2 min read
23 March, 2022
An exhibition associated with the British Museum will open in Nottingham this week to celebrate Iraq's 'rich cultural legacy' following attacks on historic sites by the IS extremist group.
The exhibition tells the story of Girsu, one of the world's first cities [Getty]

Ancient artefacts from Iraq will be displayed at a new exhibition opening in the UK city of Nottingham this week.  

The “Ancient Iraq: New Discoveries” collection features 80 objects and focuses on two important archaeological sites: Girsu, among the world’s first cities, and Qalatga Darband, which dates back to the mid-second and first centuries BC. 

The antiquities are part of the British Museum touring exhibition and their display is intended to showcase the museum’s Iraq Scheme, which was originally set up to preserve heritage sites following the rise of the Islamic State extremist group in the country. 

“This British Museum touring exhibition celebrates the rich cultural legacy of Iraq through 80 remarkable objects and two fascinating stories, helping to highlight the challenges of protecting Iraq’s diverse cultural heritage following decades of conflict,” the exhibition’s website said. 

Girsu, a Sumerian site discovered in the 19th century, is believed to be home to the world’s oldest surviving bridge. Qalatga Darband, located in Iraqi Kurdistan, is the site of an ancient fortress. 

The British Museum’s Iraq Scheme was established in 2015 “in response to the destruction of heritage sites in Iraq and Syria” by the IS group 

Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria smashed priceless statues and destroyed several ancient archaeological sites as part of efforts to eradicate histories that conflicted with their extremist interpretation of Islamic law.

The Iraq Scheme, which finished in 2020, said it “aimed to offer something positive and constructive, in the fact of frustration and outrage from this destruction”. 

“Ancient Iraq: New Discoveries” will open at Nottingham's Lakeside Arts on March 26 and will run until June 19.