The Assyrian Sculptures from the Nergal Gate Museum at Nineveh before the Islamic State’s Attack

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Paolo Brusasco



After the destruction of the treasures of the Mosul Cultural Museum in Iraq shown in the Islamic State (IS) video released on February 26, 2015, scholars focused their discussion on the inventory of the missing items and the question of how many modern copies were present. A few suggested that the video circulating of the devastation was possibly a montage of items originating from different places. Based on a new photographic database provided by Suzanne E. Bott, a U.S. Reconstruction Advisor in Iraq between 2007 and 2010, this paper shows that some of the artifacts featured in the video were photographed in the small Nergal Gate Museum at the archaeological site of Nineveh. This sets up the problem of identifying objects whose provenance is the Nergal Gate Museum instead of the Mosul Museum. An historical and archaeological analysis of items from the Nergal Gate Museum, both originals and copies, is here carried out in order to highlight the cultural importance of this little-known but significant institution which has been lost forever.

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