British Museum to set up online archive of Mesopotamian artefacts

Penn Museum tie-up will forge links with Iraq
Patrick Steel
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The British Museum and US-based Penn Museum are collaborating on the creation of a web resource to display archaeologist Leonard Woolley’s Mesopotamian excavations from 1922-34.

The two institutions are in talks with colleagues at the National Museum of Iraq about the project and hope to develop a collaboration with their Iraqi counterparts as the initiative progresses.

The project will include all available information on each object, as well as photographs, drawings, maps and field records, with full translations in English to provide context. The project is funded by a $1.28m grant from the Leon Levy Foundation and is due to be completed in June 2015.

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, said: “Through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation, these sensational discoveries, housed in three great museums, can be presented to a worldwide audience of millions.”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the US, Museums Journal understands that a deal is being finalised with Iraq over the return of artefacts.

According to reports, the artefacts are being registered in an electronic database at Cornell University before being transferred to Iraq.

The US state department and Cornell University declined to comment.


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