Andrew Lawler's new piece in Science on the visit to 8 major sites in southern Iraq by John Curtis, Elizabeth Stone, Margarete Van Ess, et. al. makes clear how overblown was the Arts Newspaper reporting on their findings. The money quote from Lawler:
"The three archaeologists agree that their limited visit provides little new data on the host of other sites in southern Iraq that satellite data suggest may still be plagued by looting. Hamdani says that smaller and more remote sites are especially vulnerable. The international team was unable to visit any of these sites, although Stone confirmed that remote-sensing images show widespread damage to ancient settlements in the area."
So much for the notion that this report "contradicts" claims of widespread and sustained looting. One can only wonder why the reporter for the Art Newspaper did not ask the three archaeologists the question Lawler did. Could it be that the story's slant was designed to appeal to a readership eager to be told that it was fine to collect Iraqi antiquities since looting was non-existent?
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