Looting the Baghdad Museum


Sunday October 16, 2005, 4:00PM
The Rye Free Reading Room 1061

Boston Post Road
Rye, New York

The Spoils of War Click to order


SAFE presented Professor Elizabeth Simpson in a discussion of the state of Iraqi archaeological sites and the trade in stolen antiquities.

Professor Simpson is a specialist in the arts and technology of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean and has an active interest in the protection of cultural property and archaeological sites. In 1995, she organized the ground-breaking symposium, “The Spoils of War–World War II and Its Aftermath: The Loss, Reappearance, and Recovery of Cultural Property,” and, in 2005, a conference on Iraq for the Archaeological Institute of America, “Iraq 2004-2005: Museums, Antiquities, and Archaeological Sites.”

She is a professor at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts in New York City. She is also the director of the project to restore and reconstruct the ancient wooden furniture of King Midas and his family, which was excavated by the University of Pennsylvania in the 1950s at the site of Gordion, Turkey. In this capacity, she is a research associate in the Mediterranean Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia. Professor Simpson is the recipient of many grants and awards and the author of numerous publications.

Following the lecture, there was a dinner with Professor Simpson at a local restaurant.

The lecture, sponsored by SAFE and the New York Council for the Humanities, was free to the public.

Read excerpt.

“As most of these objects are looted from sites, they have not been officially recorded, and there is usually no way of proving when or where they were acquired. Most will therefore never make their way back to Iraq.”

Elizabeth Simpson