Iraq recovers thousands of stolen artifacts in ongoing effort to preserve cultural heritage

Artifacts are displayed at the Iraqi Ministry of foreign Affairs in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010. Hundreds of Iraqi artifacts looted from museums and archaeological sites across the country have been returned to Iraq. The display is part of Iraqi efforts to repatriate its looted cultural heritage. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

In a joint effort with international partners, Iraq has successfully retrieved over 6,250 stolen and smuggled artifacts, as announced by Ali Obaid Shalgam, the head of Iraq’s Antiquities and Heritage Board.

The recovery was highlighted during a conference focused on safeguarding Iraq’s cultural legacy in Nineveh.

Shalgam emphasized the pivotal role played by the current Iraqi government in the retrieval of these valuable artifacts, which are now safeguarded in the Iraqi Museum.

This accomplishment underscores Iraq’s continuous efforts to reclaim its cultural heritage, which faced severe losses due to looting and destruction following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Recently, in an additional retrieval mission, Iraq succeeded in bringing back 6,000 artifacts that had been temporarily housed in the United Kingdom for research purposes for a century.

Despite these achievements, Iraq’s cultural treasures, particularly in regions like Nineveh and Babel, remain under constant threat. The occupation of parts of the country by the Islamic State from 2014 to 2017 led to widespread pillaging and devastation of archaeological sites.