Aug 10 2012
By Khayoon Saleh
Azzaman, August 10, 2012
Four archeological teams have begun excavations in the provinces of Basra, Dhiqar and Missan, according to the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Liwa Sumaism.
“The teams are led by highly qualified Iraqi experts and they have been provided with all the requirements to do a good job,” the minister said.
It is the first time since the 2003-U.S. invasion excavations on such a scale are conducted in Iraq. The dispatch of four teams to southern Iraq indicates that the region is relatively quiet and attacks by smugglers and illegal diggers on ancient Iraqi sites have diminished.
Sumaism said the teams will dig sites that have never been touch by scientists before, expecting “significant discoveries.”
“We place great hope and expectation on the new excavations and we are looking forward to fabulous finds,” he said.
The minister said Iraqi experts are currently carrying out the bulk of excavations but he stressed the need for foreign expertise.
An Italian team is already in Iraq and groups from other foreign states are expected, he said.
However, Sumaism reiterated that no American scientist will be allowed to dig in Iraq so long as the U.S. persisted on not handing back the Jewish archives and other antiquities to Iraq.
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