A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Assessing the Damage at Palmyra after a Week

A week after the recapture of Palmyra from the Islamic State, considerably more information is emerging about the degree of damage to the antiquities in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. My initial assessment last week seems to still hold true: the destruction is not complete, but it's bad enough.

ASOR, the American Schools of Oriental Research, today released their detailed assessment, based on journalists' reports, the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM),  and military sources. In addition to the videos I posted last week, there are links to many more by Russian and Syrian media and an AFP photographer. You can read the ASOR report online here, or download the PDF here. This is probably the best overview I've seen to date,

You can also find extensive photographs at the DGAM web page, including photos of the damage to the ruins  (English; Arabic here) and to the museum (English; Arabic here); a more recent report here. (Arabic here).

DGAM also posted a Tribute to Khaled Assad, the octogenarian archaeologist  and Director of the site, who was executed last year by ISIS.

The Gates of Nineveh website also has a good survey with links, photos, and videos.

Not all sites have been fully investigated as mines are still being cleared.

Here's an overview video among many:

The museum was extensively damaged; however some reports say that many key exhibits were moved to Damascus and replaced by casts before the fall to ISIS.

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