News / Middle East

Regional Security Boosts Archeology in Northern Iraq

Regional Security Boosts Archeology in Northern Iraqi
X
September 30, 2013 3:00 PM
The mineral wealth and relative security of Iraqi Kurdistan has created a haven for foreign investment. Now, the region’s historical richness is making it a haven for foreign archeologists who are swarming into the region in unprecedented numbers. Sebastian Meyer reports from northern Iraq.
Sebastian Meyer
The mineral wealth and relative security of Iraqi Kurdistan has created a haven for foreign investment. Now, the region’s historical richness is making it a haven for foreign archeologists who are swarming into the region in unprecedented numbers. Sebastian Meyer reports from northern Iraq.

It’s 7 a.m. in Bakrawa, Iraqi Kurdistan. An archeological team from Germany’s Heidelberg University has been up and digging for the past hour.  They are one of dozens of teams working in the region, which is experiencing an unparalleled wave of archeological excavations.

The site sits on the outskirts of the city of Halabja, where Saddam Hussein gassed and killed 5,000 Kurds in 1988.

Leading the excavation is Peter Miglus, who says improved security following the removal of Saddam Hussein in the U.S.- led invasion of Iraq, has made the Kurdish region a prime location for archeologists.

"This area was not investigated for a long time. There were only short periods of peace in this region and it was difficult to make research here. It’s now the only part of Iraq which is safe and where we can do something,” says Miglus.

Along with improved security, Iraqi Kurdistan is also home to one of the densest areas of Mesopotamian archeology.

Jason Ur, of Harvard University, is using declassified CIA maps to survey and locate archeological sites.  He says he’s found the Kurdish region of Iraq to have twice the archeological density of Syria and 10 times that of southern Iraq. The Kurdish region, he says, has incredible archeological potential.

"We’re discovering a completely unknown center of civilization. There are cities that no one has ever seen before, there are elaborate engineered canals and irrigation systems and unbelievable landscapes that we’ve known nothing about. We’re really in the absolute core of one of the world’s first great empires," says Ur.

Some 70 kilometers northeast of Halabja, a team from the University of Paris is uncovering a small city replete with defensive walls, family kitchens, and burial grounds.

While archeologists flock to the region to uncover its past, oil companies have also moved in, digging for other hidden riches.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs