Confirmed: the Shrine-Mosque of Prophet Seth/Nabi Sheet has been destroyed

The Iraqi Media Network broadcast a video of the destruction of a mosque on the 25th of July, allegedly of the Shrine-Mosque of the Prophet Seth/Shayt/Sheet. Reggie Davis @davreg37, Fanar Haddad @fanarhaddad and Jane Moon @EaNasir shared the news (responsibly, with the caution/appeal that it had only been reported, not confirmed). It seems likely that it has been destroyed, but I’m not confident that each piece of evidence shared is valid.

I’ve searched for old sources for the before and after photos, and haven’t been able to find any – not even of the before photo, which may suggest that the site was photographed after the Islamic State had declared its intention to destroy the tomb. Although the angle of the shot is very different, it seems to fit A. Kerim’s historic photo of Nebi Street – the Tomb of Seth, Son of Adam, at Mosul.

The angle is different again from the video. And, while the limited view of the dome is not immediately inconsistent with the dome in the historic photo, the minaret in the video appears shorter, fatter and blander than the minaret in the new and historic photos. So, are the new photos valid evidence of the destruction of the Tomb of Seth, but the video (albeit genuine) evidence of the destruction of another site, or am I looking too hard and seeing too poorly?

Source check [initial update (29th July 2014)]

An archaeologist has confirmed that the tomb/shrine/mosque has been destroyed.

Archive check [conclusive update (29th July 2014)]

The Bibliographer in Islamic Art and Architecture (and expert witness on cultural destruction at the ICTY), András Riedlmayer, has commented to reaffirm the bad news.

As well as a bibliographical reference for people with library access, he pointed out ‘another old photo [via Müfid Yüksel @mufidyuksel] of the mosque/shrine of the Prophet Seth/Nabi Sheet in Mosul, built in 1057 AH (1647 AD) by the Ottoman governor Mustafa Pasha’, which ‘shows more mausolea than can be seen on the A.Kerim photo, but it’s clearly the same domed mosque, albeit without a minaret’.

I’ve changed the title of this post to reflect the bad news. Originally, it only said, “the Shrine-Mosque of the Prophet Seth appears to have been destroyed”.

Triple-checked confirmation [evidence demonstration update (23rd August 2014)]

So far, I’ve used rough and ready material to test claims and demonstrate or debunk connections. But I aspire to the precision of Brown Moses and other open-source analysts (for example the collaborative Bellingcat). Where possible (or at least where helpful), I want to improve my presentation, so that it helps people to see, and to learn how to look for, the clues in the evidence.

As AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA) show, and as I highlight here, some of the standing remains correspond with pre-conflict photos and reaffirm that the destroyed building is the Shrine-Mosque of Seth/Sheet.

As AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA) show, and as I highlight here, some of the standing remains correspond with pre-conflict photos of the site and reaffirm that the destroyed building is the Shrine-Mosque of Seth/Sheet.

As AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA) show, and as I highlight here, some of the standing remains correspond with pre-conflict photos of the site and reaffirm that the destroyed building is the Shrine-Mosque of Seth/Sheet.

تنظيم “داعش” الإرهابي يفجر مرقد النبي شيت (ع) في مدينة الموصل العراقية
(c) AhlulBayt, 26th July 2014

Nabi Sheet mosque (built 1647 AD) reported destroyed. #Mosul #Iraq #antiquity (c) Jane Moon @EaNasir, Twitter, 27th July 2014

Nabi Sheet mosque (built 1647 AD) reported destroyed. #Mosul #Iraq #antiquity
(c) Jane Moon @EaNasir, Twitter, 27th July 2014

'Musul'da IŞİD tarafından geçtiğimiz haftalarda bombalarala ortadan kaldırılan Hz. Şit (a.s) türbesi ve Cami-i Şerifi.' (c) Müfid Yüksel, Twitter, 26 Temmuz 2014

‘Musul’da IŞİD tarafından geçtiğimiz haftalarda bombalarala ortadan kaldırılan Hz. Şit (a.s) türbesi ve Cami-i Şerifi.’
(c) Müfid Yüksel @mufidyuksel, Twitter, 26 Temmuz 2014

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7 Responses to “Confirmed: the Shrine-Mosque of Prophet Seth/Nabi Sheet has been destroyed”

  1. Here’s another another old photo of the mosque/shrine of the Prophet Seth/Nabi Sheet in Mosul, built in 1057 AH (1647 AD) by the Ottoman governor Mustafa Pasha. This view shows more mausolea than can be seen on the A.Kerim photo, but it’s clearly the same domed mosque, albeit without a minaret:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BtfmPatCIAANaW_.jpg:large

    Compare it with the A.Kerim photo, which dates from the 1920s
    http://archnet.org/collections/14/media_contents/5307

    A description of this shrine (and perhaps other photos) may be found in Abdüsselam Uluçam’s book, Irak’taki Türk Mimari Eserleri [Turkish architectural monuments in Iraq] (Ankara: Kültür Bakanlığı, 1989).

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