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The Ziggurat at Ur
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The Ziggurat at Ur
The Ziggurat at Ur

As luck would have it, the site of Ur is located on the edge of the Tallil Airbase, one of the largest military bases in the Middle East. It has, therefore, been spared the worst of the looting. The site itself has been inside the security perimeter of the airbase since it was occupied by coalition forces in 2003. Closed to civilian visitors, Ur has been open to visits from military personnel and there has been some concern that it may be suffering from military tourism. Several surveys of the site have been undertaken to evaluate any damage. Military activity so near the site was of particular concern, in part, because of the damage suffered by the ancient site of Babylon from the military forces located there.

[stextbox id="grey"]The site of Ur has been spared the worst of the looting.[/stextbox]

In February 2007 and June 2008, Dr. John Curtis of the British Museum conducted a survey on the condition of Ur. His major observations were of bullet and shell damage to the south face of the ziggurat, which most likely occurred during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. He observed no evidence of looting or illegal digging at the site and he made several recommendations. One of these was to allow the officials of the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage access to the site. Recently, the fence surrounding the airbase has been moved and control of site of Ur, with its ziggurat, was handed over to Iraq’s State Board of Antiquities on May 13, 2009. The government hopes to reopen the site to the public.

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