Coalition Protects Babylon Archaeological Site
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 11, 2004 The coalition in Iraq has taken steps to protect an ancient Babylon archaeological site.
Coalition Provisional Authority administrator Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III and Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, announced the initiative today in a joint statement.
"Recently, the coalition dispatched a team of archaeologists and Iraqi cultural antiquities experts to the city of Babylon to assess the current condition of the archaeological site located at Camp Alpha, a coalition base originally established to protect and defend the ancient city of Babylon during military operations in 2003," the statement said.
Based on the experts' findings, coalition officials have directed all contractors working in or around the Babylon site to halt any activities that are or may be likely to cause archaeological damage, the statement continued.
Bremer and Sanchez also directed an official investigation into the construction and expansion of Camp Alpha to ensure that the coalition is respecting the surrounding archaeological site and ordered that planning begin for the relocation of all coalition troops in the immediate area of Babylon. The statement also said remediation is being considered for any damage the investigation reveals.
"The coalition is committed to continue working with the citizens of Iraq and the ministry of culture to preserve Iraq's cultural heritage," the joint statement said. "Any future construction, excavation, or expansion of facilities in the vicinity of Babylon will be done in close consultation with the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities. Iraq's treasures are not only of great importance to Iraq, but to the entire international community and civilization as a whole."