Conflict archaeology—a new course of scientific inquiry
In the 21st century, numerous examples have attracted global attention and alarm of the destruction of heritage sites in areas of armed conflict—both as intentional acts and as collateral damage. A new branch of archaeology has developed—conflict archaeology—to look at the historical and cultural impacts of armed conflict throughout history. In the relatively recent past, numerous examples exist. In March 2001, the Taliban intentionally destroyed the monumental Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein had damaged part of the ancient of Babylon with the construction of a new palace for himself at the site; during the US war in Iraq, US troops complicated the situation with the construction of a US base there. In Syria, numerous examples of the intentional destruction of sites by ISIL—such as the ancient city of Palmyra—drew widespread global condemnation. Recently, the destruction of a shrine in Mosul b ISIL revealed a previously unknown 600 BC palace.
By Josie Ensor
February 28, 2017