Thanks to Quod for bringing attention to this. According to a report today in the Guardian, the British Museum has examined the site of the ancient city of Babylon, which has been used by the US and Polish military as a depot. John Curtis of the museum's Near East department found:

"...cracks and gaps where somebody had tried to gouge out the decorated bricks forming the famous dragons of the Ishtar Gate. He saw a 2,600-year-old brick pavement crushed by military vehicles, archaeological fragments scattered across the site, and trenches driven into ancient deposits. Vast amounts of sand and earth, visibly mixed with archaeological fragments, were gouged from the site to fill thousands of sandbags and metal mesh baskets. When this practice was stopped, large quantities of sand and earth were brought in from elsewhere, contaminating the site for future generations of archaeologists."

It would be hard not to agree with the parliamentarian-archaeologist Lord Redesdale, quoted in the report -- "Outrage is hardly the word, this is just dreadful."

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