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Pictures | Fri Mar 10, 2017 | 11:55am EST

Islamic State preserves artifacts in tunnel

A boy looks at artefacts and archaeological pieces in a tunnel network running under the Mosque of Prophet Jonah, Nabi Yunus in Arabic, in eastern Mosul, Iraq March 9, 2017. Extensive excavations by Islamic State militants under Mosul's ancient Mosque of Jonah show they took care to preserve artifacts for loot, a local archaeologist said, in sharp contrast to their public desecration of antiquities.  REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

A boy looks at artefacts and archaeological pieces in a tunnel network running under the Mosque of Prophet Jonah, Nabi Yunus in Arabic, in eastern Mosul, Iraq March 9, 2017. Extensive excavations by Islamic State militants under Mosul's ancient...more

A boy looks at artefacts and archaeological pieces in a tunnel network running under the Mosque of Prophet Jonah, Nabi Yunus in Arabic, in eastern Mosul, Iraq March 9, 2017. Extensive excavations by Islamic State militants under Mosul's ancient Mosque of Jonah show they took care to preserve artifacts for loot, a local archaeologist said, in sharp contrast to their public desecration of antiquities. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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Artefacts and archaeological pieces are seen in a tunnel network running under the Mosque of Prophet Jonah, Nabi Yunus in Arabic. The ultra-hardline Islamists seized the mosque when they stormed through northern Iraq three years ago, bulldozing and dynamiting ancient sites and smashing statues and sculptures, declaring them all idolatrous.  REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Artefacts and archaeological pieces are seen in a tunnel network running under the Mosque of Prophet Jonah, Nabi Yunus in Arabic. The ultra-hardline Islamists seized the mosque when they stormed through northern Iraq three years ago, bulldozing and...more

Artefacts and archaeological pieces are seen in a tunnel network running under the Mosque of Prophet Jonah, Nabi Yunus in Arabic. The ultra-hardline Islamists seized the mosque when they stormed through northern Iraq three years ago, bulldozing and dynamiting ancient sites and smashing statues and sculptures, declaring them all idolatrous. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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Jonah's mosque was blown up in July 2014, but experts surveying the damage after it was recaptured in January by a U.S.-backed Iraqi campaign found a network of tunnels dug by the militants, leading down to a 7th century BC Assyrian palace.   REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Jonah's mosque was blown up in July 2014, but experts surveying the damage after it was recaptured in January by a U.S.-backed Iraqi campaign found a network of tunnels dug by the militants, leading down to a 7th century BC Assyrian palace. ...more

Jonah's mosque was blown up in July 2014, but experts surveying the damage after it was recaptured in January by a U.S.-backed Iraqi campaign found a network of tunnels dug by the militants, leading down to a 7th century BC Assyrian palace. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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The careful way the tunnels were dug show the militants wanted to keep the treasures intact, said archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim, from the Nineveh Antiquities and Heritage Department.  REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

The careful way the tunnels were dug show the militants wanted to keep the treasures intact, said archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim, from the Nineveh Antiquities and Heritage Department. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

The careful way the tunnels were dug show the militants wanted to keep the treasures intact, said archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim, from the Nineveh Antiquities and Heritage Department. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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"They used simple tools and chisels to dig the tunnels, in order not to damage the artifacts," archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim said, standing near the tunnel network which leads from the mosque ruins above ground to the much older subterranean palace.  REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

"They used simple tools and chisels to dig the tunnels, in order not to damage the artifacts," archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim said, standing near the tunnel network which leads from the mosque ruins above ground to the much older subterranean...more

"They used simple tools and chisels to dig the tunnels, in order not to damage the artifacts," archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim said, standing near the tunnel network which leads from the mosque ruins above ground to the much older subterranean palace. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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The efforts to avoid damaging the antiquities contrast with the destruction of ancient sites across Islamic State's self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, from the desert city of Palmyra to the Assyrian capital of Nimrud, south of Mosul.  REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

The efforts to avoid damaging the antiquities contrast with the destruction of ancient sites across Islamic State's self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, from the desert city of Palmyra to the Assyrian capital of Nimrud, south of Mosul. ...more

The efforts to avoid damaging the antiquities contrast with the destruction of ancient sites across Islamic State's self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, from the desert city of Palmyra to the Assyrian capital of Nimrud, south of Mosul. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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While Islamic State's 30-month occupation of the Mosque of Jonah left a legacy of damage and theft, it has also opened up fresh opportunities for archaeologists.   REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

While Islamic State's 30-month occupation of the Mosque of Jonah left a legacy of damage and theft, it has also opened up fresh opportunities for archaeologists. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

While Islamic State's 30-month occupation of the Mosque of Jonah left a legacy of damage and theft, it has also opened up fresh opportunities for archaeologists. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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Excavations which were launched in 2004, the year after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, revealed an entrance to the palace of Assyrian king Esarhaddon, guarded by large lamassus - human-headed winged bulls carved from stone.   REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Excavations which were launched in 2004, the year after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, revealed an entrance to the palace of Assyrian king Esarhaddon, guarded by large lamassus - human-headed winged bulls carved from stone. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Excavations which were launched in 2004, the year after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, revealed an entrance to the palace of Assyrian king Esarhaddon, guarded by large lamassus - human-headed winged bulls carved from stone. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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"The whole palace remained untouched by the experts and foreign excavation," Jassim said as he toured the tunnels, still lined with broken bits of pottery as well as sections of stone panel with carved figures and cuneiform text. "So this site, the Esarhaddon Palace, maintained all its features...It contains large collections of sculptures of different sizes and shapes and valuable artifacts".  REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

"The whole palace remained untouched by the experts and foreign excavation," Jassim said as he toured the tunnels, still lined with broken bits of pottery as well as sections of stone panel with carved figures and cuneiform text. "So this site, the...more

"The whole palace remained untouched by the experts and foreign excavation," Jassim said as he toured the tunnels, still lined with broken bits of pottery as well as sections of stone panel with carved figures and cuneiform text. "So this site, the Esarhaddon Palace, maintained all its features...It contains large collections of sculptures of different sizes and shapes and valuable artifacts". REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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Iraqi forces earlier this week captured the ransacked main museum of Mosul, where the militants filmed themselves destroying priceless statues.   REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Iraqi forces earlier this week captured the ransacked main museum of Mosul, where the militants filmed themselves destroying priceless statues. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Iraqi forces earlier this week captured the ransacked main museum of Mosul, where the militants filmed themselves destroying priceless statues. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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Archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim shows artifacts and archaeological piece. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim shows artifacts and archaeological piece. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim shows artifacts and archaeological piece. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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Archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim shows artifacts. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim shows artifacts. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim shows artifacts. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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A man looks at artifacts and archaeological pieces. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

A man looks at artifacts and archaeological pieces. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

A man looks at artifacts and archaeological pieces. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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Artifacts and archaeological pieces are seen in a tunnel network. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Artifacts and archaeological pieces are seen in a tunnel network. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Artifacts and archaeological pieces are seen in a tunnel network. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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A man walks in a tunnel network running under the Mosque of Prophet Jonah. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

A man walks in a tunnel network running under the Mosque of Prophet Jonah. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

A man walks in a tunnel network running under the Mosque of Prophet Jonah. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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