Iraqi Museum Restores Artifacts Destroyed by ISIS With Help From The Louvre

Left in ruins by jihadists, Iraq's once-beloved Mosul Museum and its 2,500-year-old treasures are being given a second life thanks to restoration efforts backed by French experts.

The Mosul Museum is the second-largest museum in Iraq, but ancient artifacts were smashed into small pieces when the jihadists seized the northern city of Mosul in 2014. 

“We must separate all the fragments… It’s like a puzzle, you try to retrieve the pieces that tell the same story,” said restoration worker Daniel Ibled, commissioned by France’s famous Louvre museum, which is supporting Iraqi museum employees. “Little by little, you manage to recreate the full set.”

When the jihadists were in control, they filmed themselves taking hammers to the pre-Islamic treasures, proudly displaying their destruction. The largest and heaviest artifacts were destroyed, but the smaller pieces were sold on black markets all over the world.

Experts are now hard at work sorting through the items, with financing from the International Alliance for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH). Many of the pieces are dated all the way back to the first millennium BC.

The Louvre has tasked 20 people with helping the restoration efforts, said Ariane Thomas, director of the Louvre’s Department of Near Eastern Antiquities.

“When we said that with time, money and know-how, we could revive even the most damaged of works, this proves it,” Thomas said. “Works that were completely destroyed have started to take form once again.”

Image source: The National News