Cover image of Museum of Lost Objects
(22)
Society & Culture

Museum of Lost Objects

Updated 4 days ago

Society & Culture
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Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria, India and Pakistan.

Read more

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria, India and Pakistan.

iTunes Ratings

22 Ratings
Average Ratings
19
3
0
0
0

Amazing Podcast!

By Ziggy48183 - Jul 26 2017
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A beautiful show. A welcome alternative to simple catagorizations from the news and state, the authors take us into the personal stories associated with Iraq, Syria, and other locations touched by recent upheaval. The stories helpfully complicate the western listener's concept of lands and people often misunderstood.

Thank you

By morganfitzp - Mar 05 2016
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Another great thing from Radio 4.

iTunes Ratings

22 Ratings
Average Ratings
19
3
0
0
0

Amazing Podcast!

By Ziggy48183 - Jul 26 2017
Read more
A beautiful show. A welcome alternative to simple catagorizations from the news and state, the authors take us into the personal stories associated with Iraq, Syria, and other locations touched by recent upheaval. The stories helpfully complicate the western listener's concept of lands and people often misunderstood.

Thank you

By morganfitzp - Mar 05 2016
Read more
Another great thing from Radio 4.
Cover image of Museum of Lost Objects

Museum of Lost Objects

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria, India and Pakistan.

Rank #1: Looted Sumerian Seal, Baghdad

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The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

This is the oldest and smallest object in the series: a tiny Sumerian cylinder seal depicting a harvest festival. It was carved in 2,600 BC and was part of the collection of ancient cylinder seals which disappeared when the Iraq Museum in Baghdad was looted during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We tell the story of this seal and the pillaging of the country's most important museum.

Contributors: Lamia al-Gailani, SOAS; Mazin Safar, son of Iraqi archaeologist Fuad Safar; John Curtis, Iran Heritage Foundation

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Sumerian harvest seal
Credit: Lamia al-Gailani

With thanks to Augusta McMahon of Cambridge University, Mark Altaweel of the Institute of Archaeology UCL, and Sarah Collins of the British Museum.

Mar 07 2016

14mins

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Rank #2: Tell Qarqur, Hama Province

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The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

As archaeological sites go, Tell Qarqur isn't the most glamorous, but this mound in Syria is unique. It's in the Orontes Valley in the west of the country and it contains 10,000 years of continuous human occupation. It is a goldmine of information for studying the movements of long history in a single place. In 2011, Tell Qarqur was occupied by the Assad military and since then, the whole area - the province of Hama and neighbouring regions - has been on the frontline of the war and many local residents forced to flee. Jesse Casana, the archaeologist who ran the excavation at Tell Qarqur, talks about monitoring the destruction of his site from space using satellite archaeology, and the Syrian villagers who worked with him now living as refugees.

Contributors: Jesse Casana, Dartmouth College; the reading is by Sargon Yelda

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Tell Qarqur
Credit: Jesse Casana.

Feb 29 2016

13mins

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Rank #3: Minaret of the Umayyad Mosque, Aleppo

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The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

Since 2012, Aleppo - Syria's largest city - has been a key battleground in the conflict, and hundreds of its residents killed or displaced. Aleppo, thought to be the oldest city in the world, is now left in ruins. One of the great monuments of the city was the minaret of the Umayyad Mosque (also known as the Great Mosque) which was toppled in April 2013. It's still unclear who was responsible - Syrian government forces and rebels blame each other. We tell the story of the minaret, a world heritage site that was connected to that other great Aleppo landmark, the souk.

Contributors: Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Zahed Tajeddin, artist and archaeologist; Heghnar Watenpaugh, University of California Davis; Jalal Halabi, photographer; Will Wintercross, Daily Telegraph

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Minaret of the Umayyad Mosque
Credit: Getty

With thanks to Haider Adnan of BBC Arabic, Elyse Semerdjian of Whitman College, and Aya Mhanna.

Feb 29 2016

16mins

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Rank #4: The Lion of al-Lat

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The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

The Lion of al-Lat was a protective spirit, the consort of a Mesopotamian goddess. This 2,000 year old statue was one of the first things the so-called Islamic State destroyed when they took Palmyra in 2015. The Polish archaeologist Michal Gawlikowski recalls discovering the lion during an excavation in the 1970s, and we explore the wider symbolism of lions and power and how this was appropriated by modern rulers including Bashar al-Assad's own ancestors.

Contributors: Michal Gawlikowski, Warsaw University; Zahed Tajeddin, artist and archaeologist; Augusta McMahon, University of Cambridge; Lamia al-Gailani, SOAS

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Lion of al-Lat
Credit: Michal Gawlikowski

With thanks to Sarah Collins of the British Museum.

Feb 29 2016

11mins

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Rank #5: The Genie of Nimrud

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The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

The ancient Assyrians were fond of protective spirits. They had sculptures of all manner of mythological creatures lining the walls of their palaces. One such sculpture was a stone relief of a genie. This was a powerful male figure - a bountiful beard and muscular thighs but with huge wings sprouting from his back. Three thousand years ago, it adorned the walls of Nimrud, one of the great strongholds of Mesopotamia, near Mosul in modern day Iraq. During the 1990s, this genie disappeared - believed to have been taken during the chaos of the first Gulf war - and ended up in London around 2002 - just before the mire of the second Gulf war. It's been kept by Scotland Yard for these last 14 years - locked in legal limbo, and unlikely to ever re-emerge or return to Iraq. We explore the cost of looting to a country's cultural heritage, and tell the story of another valuable Mesopotamian antiquity that was looted, eventually uncovered, but managed to stay in Iraq. This is a tablet, and holds a new chapter from the oldest tale ever told - the Gilgamesh epic.

Contributors: Mark Altaweel, Institute of Archaeology UCL; Augusta McMahon, University of Cambridge; Mina al-Lami, BBC Monitoring; the readings are by Martin Worthington, George Watkins, and Susan Jameson

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Assyrian winged-genie from Nimrud, very similar in style to the genie in possession of Scotland Yard
Credit: Brooklyn Museum

With thanks to Vernon Rapley of the V&A, Sarah Collins of the British Museum, Andrew George of SOAS, and John Russell of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Mar 07 2016

15mins

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Rank #6: Armenian Martyr's Memorial, Der Zor

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The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

The Armenian martyr's memorial in Der Zor, Syria was a tribute to the Armenians who perished in the mass killings of 1915. It was consecrated in 1991 and then completely destroyed in 2014 by Islamic militants. A British Armenian writer recalls her visits to Der Zor, and tracing the harrowing journey of her ancestors through the Syrian desert.

Contributors: Nouritza Matossian, writer; Heghnar Watenpaugh, University of California Davis

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Armenian Martyr's Memorial, Der Zor

With thanks to Elyse Semerdjian of Whitman College.

Mar 07 2016

14mins

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Rank #7: Mar Elian Monastery

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The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

This monastery in the remote Syrian town of Qaryatayn held the 1,000 year old tomb of a saint, Mar Elian, who was revered by Christians and Muslims alike. After the Islamic State group took Palmyra, they came to the monastery of Mar Elian, kidnapped its priest and later bulldozed the site. A British archaeologist who lived and worked there for many years tells the legends of Mar Elian and her close relationship with the community.

Contributors: Emma Loosley, University of Exeter; Father Jacques Murad, formerly priest at Mar Elian

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Doorway to Mar Elian
Credit: Emma Loosley

With thanks to Shadi Atalla.

Mar 07 2016

16mins

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Rank #8: Al-Ma'arri the Poet

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The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

In 2013, Islamic militants decapitated the statue of an 11th Century Arabic poet that stood in his hometown of Maarat al-Nu'man, a city that's seen heavy fighting during the Syrian conflict. The poet al-Ma'arri was one of the most revered in Syria, and poetry enthusiasts tell his story - he was blind, vegetarian, atheist, and some even claim that his work inspired Dante's Divine Comedy.

Contributors: Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Mahmoud al-Sheikh, BBC Arabic; the reading is by Susan Jameson

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Statue of al-Ma'arri with the sculptor Fathi Mohammed in the 1940s, and the statue after its decapitation in 2013.

Mar 07 2016

13mins

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Rank #9: The Necklace That Divided Two Nations

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Seventy years ago, India and Pakistan became independent nations - but at a cost. People and lands were partitioned, and a once shared heritage was broken apart. Kanishk Tharoor explores the tussle for ancient history and the prized artefacts of the Indus Valley civilization. There was a bureaucratic saga over the fates of the priest-king, the dancing girl, and the jade necklace so precious to both India and Pakistan that neither country could let the other have it whole.
Presented by Kanishk Tharoor

Produced by Maryam Maruf
Contributors: Maruf Khwaja; Saroj Mukherji; Vazira Fazila-Yacoubali Zamindar, Brown University; Sudeshna Guha, Shiv Nadar University
With thanks to Anwesha Sengupta, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata
Museum of Lost Objects series two is broadcast on BBC World Service.
Image: The Mohenjo Daro jade necklace that was cut in two. India's share on the left, Pakistan's share on the right. Credit: Archaeological Survey of India and Getty Images

Jul 15 2017

22mins

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Rank #10: Nimrud and Hatra

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Nimrud is a 3,000 year old archaeological site blown up by the so-called Islamic State. The Iraqi archaeologist Muzahim Hossein spent 30 years excavating there, and he goes back for the first time to see what remains. And the story of one Iraqi family who grew up with the temples and talismans of the beautiful, fabled city of Hatra.
Including contributions from Layla Salih, Nineveh Heritage Buildings; Alessandra Peruzzetto, World Monuments Fund; and Watha Saleh.
Presented by Kanishk Tharoor

Produced by Maryam Maruf

With thanks to Eleanor Robson, Lamia al-Gailani, Ali Juboori, Mehdi Musawi, Faisal Irshaid, Lucinda Dirven and Roberta Venca.
Museum of Lost Objects series two is broadcast on BBC World Service.
Image: Gorgon head in Hatra Credit: Getty Images

Jun 10 2017

28mins

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