In memoriam: Lamia al-Gailani Werr, protector of Iraq’s archaeological heritage
“Because her family is one of the oldest in Iraq, her sense of history was very keen."
One of the earliest effects of the Iraq War on its cultural heritage – initiated prior to the arrival in early 2003 of the US-led fighting force – was the looting and pillaging of Baghdad’s Iraq Museum. Numerous news reports, op-eds, studies, and articles subsequently explored the damage done, the lack of proper planning for the war effort’s predicted effects on Iraq’s cultural heritage, and the resulting efforts to find and return as much of the pillaged collection as possible. (For example, see this article in the Smithsonian Magazine from 2008).
Recently, one of the most heralded of Iraq’s archaeologists – Lamia Al-Gailani Werr – passed away at the age of 80. Already known for her scholarly research on Iraq’s rich archaeological heritage, she became even more famous for her efforts in 2003 to help the museum recover from its war-time looting. (The 2019 photo above of Lamia al-Gailani Werr by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg) is shared here under CC BY-SA 4.0).
By Richard Sandomir
The New York Times
January 25, 2019