Nimrud and Hatra


Reuters “Isis extremists bulldoze ancient Assyrian site near Mosul”
Chris Johnston “Isis militants destroy remains of Hatra in northern Iraq”


Islamic State fighters have looted and bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, the Iraqi government said, in their latest assault on some of the world’s greatest archaeological and cultural treasures.

A tribal source from the nearby city of Mosul said the jihadis, who dismiss Iraq’s pre-Islamic heritage as idolatrous, had pillaged the 3,000-year-old site on the banks of the Tigris river.

Nimrud, about 20 milessouth of Mosul, was built around 1250BC. Four centuries later it became the capital of the neo-Assyrian empire – at the time the most powerful state on Earth, extending to modern-day Egypt, Turkey and Iran.

Many of its most famous surviving monuments were removed years ago by archaeologists, including colossal winged bulls, which are now in London’s British Museum, and hundreds of precious stones and pieces of gold, which were moved to Baghdad.

But ruins of the ancient city remain at the northern Iraqi site, which has been excavated by a series of experts since the 19th century. The British archaeologist Max Mallowan and his wife, the crime writer Agatha Christie, worked at Nimrud in the 1950s.


A local tribal source confirmed the attack had taken place. “Islamic State members came to the Nimrud archaeological city and looted the valuables in it and then they proceeded to level the site to the ground,” the source told Reuters. “There used to be statues and walls as well as a castle that Islamic State has destroyed completely.”
Chris Johnston氏の記事から;

A nearby resident said he heard a powerful explosion early on Saturday and that neighbours had reported that Isis militants had destroyed some of the larger buildings in Hatra and were bulldozing other parts.

The destruction follows a similar incident this week when Isis fighters bulldozed the ancient Assyrian archaeological site of Nimrud, south of Mosul. Some of the works had survived for more than 1,500 years.

Unesco, the United Nations cultural agency, condemned the action as “cultural cleansing” and said they amounted to war crimes.

Saeed Mumuzini, a spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic party in Nineveh province, said Isis stole ancient gold and silver coins that were used by Assyrian kings and were stored in Hatra.

Hatra dates back 2,000 years to the Seleucid empire*7, which controlled a large part of the ancient world conquered by Alexander the Great. It is famous for its striking pillared temple at the centre of a sprawling archaeological site.

See also

Khaleda Rahman “ISIS extremists continue bulldozing Iraq's history as they begin demolishing a second ancient archaeological site”


*2:See eg.

*3:See also Richard Spencer “Islamic State militants bulldoze ancient Nimrud city”

*4:See also

*5:See eg. Kareem Shaheen “Outcry over Isis destruction of ancient Assyrian site of Nimrud”

*6:See Duncan B. Campbell “Between Rome and Parthia: The desert city of Hatra”

*7:See eg. Jona Lendering “Seleucids”