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...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...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. ...more
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
Iraqi forces earlier this week captured the ransacked main museum of Mosul, where the militants filmed themselves destroying priceless statues. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
Archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim shows artifacts and archaeological piece. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
Archaeologist Musab Mohammed Jassim shows artifacts. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
A man looks at artifacts and archaeological pieces. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
Artifacts and archaeological pieces are seen in a tunnel network. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
A man walks in a tunnel network running under the Mosque of Prophet Jonah. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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