Daily Archives: January 5, 2011

Repairing the ruins of ancient Babylon

The New York Times ran an article by Steven Lee Myers on the current efforts to save the ruins of Babylon.

On the hillside during one of his many visits to the ruins, Jeff Allen, a conservationist working with the World Monuments Fund, said: “All this is unexcavated. There is great potential at this site. You could excavate the street plan of the entire city.”

That is certainly years away given the realities of today’s Iraq. But for the first time since the American invasion in 2003, after years of neglect and violence, archaeologists and preservationists have once again begun working to protect and even restore parts of Babylon and other ancient ruins of Mesopotamia. And there are new sites being excavated for the first time, mostly in secret to avoid attracting the attention of looters, who remain a scourge here.

The entire article is available here. The article is accompanied by a nice 4:12 minute video of the restoration efforts here. According to the reports the reconstructions made by the Sadaam Hussein regime in the 1980s will probably be torn down.

Jim Davila adds this tip at Paleojudaica:

Related, also in the NYT: A Tour of Iraq’s Ancient Sites. Included are a video about the (traditional) tomb of Ezekiel … and a photo of Hebrew inscriptions at the (traditional) tomb of the prophet Nahum, as well as photos and videos of other sites of biblical and related interest.

The photo below was made Tuesday, May 12, 1970, and still looks fairly good considering the time lapse and my camera equipment at the time.

Ruins of Ancient Babylon, 1970. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ruins of Ancient Babylon, 1970. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The prophet Jeremiah spoke about the future of Babylon:

Babylon will become a heap of ruins. Jackals will make their home there. It will become an object of horror and of hissing scorn, a place where no one lives. (Jeremiah 51:37 NET)

We called attention to the UN report of US damage to ancient Babylon here.

HT: Ben Witherington III; Paleojudaica.