On the cover of today’s NYTimes (print washington edition)
BAGHDAD — In those areas of Iraq and Syria controlled by the Islamic State, residents are furtively recording on their cellphones damage done to antiquities by the extremist group. In northern Syria, museum curators have covered precious mosaics with sealant and sandbags….
…There was also the United States invasion in 2003, when American troops stood by as looters ransacked the Baghdad museum, a scenario that, Mr. Shirshab suggested, is being repeated today….
…The Babylon preservation plan also includes new documentation of the site, including brick-by- brick scale drawings of the ruins. In the event the site is destroyed, Mr. Allen said, the drawings can be used to rebuild it….
…The American invasion alerted archaeologists to what needed protecting. After damage and looting at many sites, documentation and preservation accelerated. One result was that the Mosul Museum, attacked by the Islamic State, had been digitally cataloged…
…He oversees an informal team of Syrians he has nicknamed the Monuments Men, many of them his former students. They document damage and looting by the Islamic State, pushing for crackdowns on the black market. Recently, the United Nations banned all trade in Syrian artifacts….
…Now, Iraqi colleagues teach conservators and concerned residents simple techniques to use in areas controlled by the Islamic State, such as turning on a cellphone’s GPS function when photographing objects, to help trace damage or theft, or to add sites to the “no-strike” list for warplanes….