The British Museum Joins the Army to Hunt for Iraqi Artifacts


Huh. Rare is the day you make any connection between The British Museum and the armed forces. But such is the case in Iraq, as the mammoth museum and the British army have decided to team up to inspect “cultural locations” throughout the country, seeing what still might be salvageable after years of conflict. Although this does seem like a great gesture by the museum in hoping to help keep at least some of the country’s history in tact, following widespread looting of countless natural treasures, reading between the lines in the piece makes it seem a little underhanded and largely for the museum’s benefit, with that “let’s make sure their artifacts are safe” line thrown in for good press, particularly after this section:

At the British Museum the initiative is being driven by Dr John Curtis, keeper of the Middle East collections and an expert on Iraq and Iran. He said the plan was at an early stage and they had not yet talked to the Iraqi authorities, who would be key to it happening at all.

You’d think that might be, like, priority number one, wouldn’t you? Otherwise, it’s a little like sending a letter a few months down the line saying, “By the way, we’re going to be bringing our troops in and taking your priceless vases. Just wanted to give you a heads up!” We’re likely 100% wrong on all of this and just being horrible horrible cynics, per usual, but if that was the way it all played out, it would kinda make the US-issued “cultural heritage playing cards” look downright holy in comparison.