ISIS Digs Up Ancient Statues and Artifacts – Then Destroys Them

The Islamic State dug up ancient statues and tablets in Tal Ajaja, Syria the last two years.
Then they destroyed them.

isis art destruction
ISIS smashed up artifacts from Palmyra and posted the photos online. (Independent)

Art Daily reported:

When the Islamic State group captured Tal Ajaja, one of Syria’s most important Assyrian-era sites, they discovered previously unknown millennia-old statues and cuneiform tablets, and then they destroyed them.

The extremist group, which has ravaged archeological sites under its control in Syria and Iraq, was chased from Tal Ajaja in northeastern Hasakeh province in February by Kurdish fighters.

But the destruction IS wrought there over two years remains.

Perched on a large hill around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the Iraqi border, the site is now a vision of desolation, riven with long tunnels.

Fragments of broken artifacts are strewn throughout and large holes dug by looters pockmark the ground.

The Assyrian empire, with its capital in Nineveh in modern-day Iraq, flourished in the first millennium BC.

It produced celebrated artifacts, particularly bas-reliefs often depicting scenes of war.

“Tal Ajaja, or ancient Shadikanni, was one of the main cities of Assyria,” said Cheikhmous Ali of the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archeology.

Most of the known treasures of Tal Ajaja, discovered in the 19th century, had long been removed and placed in museums in Syria or abroad.

But the jihadists, as well as local looters, dug up artifacts that archeologists had not yet uncovered, destroying or trafficking priceless pieces.

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