The Islamic State isn’t the only group looting Syrian archaeological sites
By Adam Taylor October 21 (...)
Jesse Casana, an associate professor of anthropology at Dartmouth, has found a way to get around that problem, using extensive archives of satellite imagery to examine nearly 1,300 archaeological sites in the country. What his research found was surprising – while it was clear that there had been significant looting in areas controlled by the Islamic State, looting may have been even more widespread in areas controlled by opposition forces or the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG).
“Most media attention has focused on the spectacles of destruction that ISIS has orchestrated and posted online, and this has led to a widespread misunderstanding that ISIS is the main culprit when it comes to looting of archaeological sites and damage to monuments,” Casana said in a statement, using an acronym to refer to the Islamic State.
In areas controlled by the Islamic State, Casana found around 21.4 percent of the sites showed some evidence of looting. Remarkably, this was lower than in areas controlled by opposition forces (26.6 percent) or by the YPG (27.6 percent). The lowest percentage of sites looted could be found in areas controlled by the Syrian regime, where around 16.5 percent appeared damaged by looting.
The report does make clear that some of this looting may have occurred while a different group controlled the area, given the shifting front lines of fighting over the past few years, and in some cases where it was unclear who controlled the site it was counted twice. It is also important to note that the Islamic State controlled the greatest number of the sites Casana was able to examine and that the largest number of looted sites were found in Islamic State-controlled territory.
Additionally, the majority of damage in YPG-held territory was classified as "minor looting," meaning that evidence had been found of fewer than 15 holes had been dug with pickaxes for the purpose of finding artifacts. In contrast, 22.9 percent of looted sites in territory held by the Syrian regime and a remarkable 42.7 percent of those held by the Islamic State appeared to have evidence of "severe looting" – a classification that indicates the scale of the looting could only have been performed by a group of laborers operating heavy machinery."
Source : https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/10/21/the-islamic-state-isnt-the-only-group-looting-syrian-archaeological-sites/
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