Archive for ‘Property Destruction’


a very preliminary review of destruction, trafficking and politics of heritage in social media of Russian trolls

troll factories: the Internet Research Agency and state-sponsored agenda building

Identified members of a Russian state-linked propaganda outlet, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), are being prosecuted for participating in ‘a sophisticated and coordinated campaign to sow disinformation and discord into American politics via social media’, ‘interfering in American electoral and political processes’. Journalist Jim Galloway has captured the logic of much of the activity: ‘let’s you and him fight’.

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textbook public archaeology is open-access public archaeology

I’m delighted to say that I was able to make a small contribution to Key Concepts in Public Archaeology (PDF DOI), which explores ‘practice and scholarship where archaeology meets the world’. Realising an ideal of public archaeology, it’s published by UCL Press, under a Creative Commons 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0) for open access. It’s ‘dedicated to Tim Schadla-Hall who has… inspired and supported a generation of public archaeologists’, including me.

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trigger warnings or content warnings and archaeologies of modern conflict

Someone at the Daily Mail appears to have been searching for material with content warnings and incidentally found the syllabus for a colleague’s course on Archaeologies of Modern Conflict at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Even though it required implicitly humiliating military veterans and abuse victims, whom the paper would normally claim to valorise, the article decried Gabe Moshenska’s trigger warnings and delivered a payload quote from the so-called Campaign for Real Education about “health and safety going mad again” in an “overprotective nanny state”.

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A very brief and very remote review of recent damage and destruction of cultural property in south-eastern Turkey

This is a very brief and remote survey of English-language reports. It does not cover “collateral damage” and mass destruction of civilian property in a “scorched earth” policy in Cizre, Diyarbakir (in particular its Sur district), Silvan and elsewhere; it does not cover the lynching campaign against the homes of the Kurdish community and the offices of the “pro-Kurdish” (pro-human rights) People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

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Maltai, Dohuk, KRG, Iraq: Peshmerga have not used ancient Assyrian art for target practice

[Evidently, it is necessary for me to explain: yes, I do object to nationalists who vandalise cultural property; and yes, I am concerned with the suffering of the Assyrian community, as I am with the suffering of other civilian communities. In my work on state crime, I have highlighted how plunder of cultural property was a constituent element of the genocide of Assyrians.]

Based on multiple media reports and social media comments, I tweeted that Peshmerga had ‘practiced shooting and painted [a] flag on [the] ancient Assyrian city of Khenis (Dohuk, KRG, Iraq)’. Thankfully, Simone Muehl quickly pointed out that this was wrong.

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destruction of tombs in Yemen by Ansar al-Sharia

In the last post on the destruction of a supposedly “polytheistic” shrine in Hadhramaut, Yemen, by Ansar al-Sharia (which I was sent by @oivej), I noted a video of the ‘targeting and clearing of sites where Houthi rebels were stationed’. I’ve updated the last post with another two images of that act of destruction. Here, I’ve clipped some frames from the video of the “targeting” and “clearing” of Houthi rebel sites in Yemen [استهداف وتطهير مواقع يتمركز فيها الحوثيين ولاية تع].

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destruction of a ‘polytheistic’ shrine in Hadhramaut, Yemen, by Ansar al-Sharia, by 30th January 2016

Although he continues to refuse my pleas to blog or otherwise publicly record these finds, @oivej has shared three [and I’ve added another two] images of destruction, of [a] domes of [a] supposedly “polytheistic” shrines in Hadhramaut (Hadhramout, Hadramawt, Hadramout or Ḥaḍramūt (حضرموت‎)) in Yemen, apparently by Ansar al-Sharia(?), by the end of January 2016. But this really is beyond the limits of Google Translate.

I should also note, again, that I am working full-time on trafficking. I did not have the time or the capacity to cover the destruction in Syria and Iraq as well. I certainly do not have the time or the capacity to cover the destruction in Yemen on top of that (or indeed instead).

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Nazi War Diggers’ Battlefield Recovery: playing soldiers and exhuming them

While it might be fun, it might not be fair to take the piss out of the Nazi War Diggers for finding it emotionally difficult to exhume some human remains. Handling dead bodies is a sombre and sombring act. It is certainly healthy for them to acknowledge the difficulty and manage their emotions, rather than try to be “manly” and “battle” through it. And it can be duly difficult to express such feelings as, when they found a child’s clothes, one retreated from the trench because his daughter ‘wears clothes‘ too.

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I have never before seen anyone jam a metal pole into a suspected mass grave

I don’t know what to say about the Nazi War Diggers’ latest episode of Battlefield Recovery, though it looks like Paul Barford will have something to say. I do know that I’ve never before seen a metal pole (probe/auger) used to try to find human remains in a suspected mass grave. Who could have guessed that the first probe in relation to the Nazi War Diggers would be on screen and being used by them?

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Lebanese authorities suspend Ashkal Alwan founder-director Christine Tohme’s passport

The good, the bad and the inevitable

In November 2015, I was lucky enough to be invited to Home Works, an arts forum at the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts (Ashkal Alwan) in Beirut, Lebanon. Ali Cherri and I discussed matters from the invention of ruins to the end of the national museum.

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