In 2015, in response to the appalling destruction by Daesh (also known as so-called Islamic State, ISIS or IS) of heritage sites in Iraq and Syria, the British Museum developed a scheme which, in the face of frustration and outrage, could offer something positive and constructive.
The State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH) manages the National Heritage Sites and National Museums of Iraq. Since 2015 the Iraq Scheme has been building capacity in the State Board by training 50 of its staff in a wide variety of sophisticated techniques of retrieval and rescue archaeology.
At the end of their UK training all participants present about a project that they are working on back home. Rana, pictured here with Jonathan Tubb, Project Director of the Iraq Scheme, decided to present on the Great Mosque of al-Nuri and a local heritage site, both of which Rana has a deep, personal affinity with. These heritage sites have been destroyed by Daesh but Rana is hopeful that in the future they can be reconstructed.
The fieldwork at Darband-i Rania enables the participants and excavation team to research and reconstruct the dynamics of control at this strategic location.
Both excavation projects have provided, and will continue to provide, a wealth of experience for the participants. As a measure of the impact that the scheme has already made, one of the ‘graduates’ has been appointed by the Iraqi State Board to lead the assessment of the site of Nimrud, and a graduate of the second group has been made Director of Mosul Museum.
©Trustees of the British Museum
©State Board of Antiquities and Heritage
Thank you to Helene Canaud, Alberto Giannese, Dani Tagen and our colleagues in the British Museum photography department for providing photographs of the training.