The Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, in collaboration with The Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino (CRAST), present "Heritage in danger. The Centro Scavi Torino and the requalification of the Iraqi cultural heritage", a conference by Carlo Lippolis, President of CRAST and director of the Italian archaeological expedition in Tulul al Baqarat.
The Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino (CRAST) has been active in Iraq for over 50 years. Research and interventions in favor of the protection of the Iraqi cultural heritage of the country has never been interrupted. Immediately after the looting of the Museum in Baghdad (2003), CRAST initiated a requalification project for some of the main rooms of the Museum; at the same time training projects and classes started. In March 2015, these interventions have enabled the official reopening of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad.
More recently the Center resumed archaeological research activities in the south of the country and in April 2016 the joint Institute (Italian-Iraqi) of archaeological sciences was re-opened.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
The exhibition illustrates some of the main activities carried out in Iraq, during the last 10 years, by the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino (Italy).
The first section will be focused on the re-habilitation works in the Iraq Museum of Baghdad: a window on the past of Mesopotamia and the human history.
Despite the difficult political situation in the country, the works started already in 2006 and ended in 2013 involving almost the entire large ground floor of the building. In February 2015 the Baghdad Museum was officially reopened to the public.
Another project carried out is the reopening of the Iraqi-Italian Institutes, founded in 1969 and looted during the Second Gulf War. On April 2016, after a restoration of a historical building close to the Qislah (old Turkish military quarters), the Institutes reopened with the aim of contributing to the increasingly far-reaching safeguard of the Iraqi cultural heritage and to the archaeological scientific research.
Finally, since 2012, an Italian archaeological expedition is working in south-eastern Iraq (site of Tulul al Baqarat, province of Kut) with survey and excavation projects on an important but still unknown site with cultural layers from the IV to the I millennia BC.
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Embassy of Italy - Auditorium
3000 Whitehaven Street NW
Washington, DC 20008
Carlo Lippolis was born in Turin on 06/09/1970. Attracted by studies on the ancient history and civilizations, he graduated in Classic Studies and then received and a MA and a PhD in Archaeology and Art History of the Ancient Near East in Torino.
Currently he is Professor of Archaeology and History of Art of the Ancient Near East at the University of Torino. He is specialized in the study of the spread of the Hellenistic culture in Central Asia and in the civilizations of the Ancient Near East (Mesopotamia). He is director of the scientific journals "Mesopotamia" and "Parthica" and of the serie "Monografie di Mesopotamia".
Since 2011 he has coordinated the restoration works of the Iraq Museum of Baghdad and the project of the reopening of the Iraqi-Italian Institutes in Baghdad. He is actually director of the excavations at Parthian Nisa (Turkmenistan) and at Tulul al Baqarat (Iraq). In 2013, he was awarded the International “Magtymguly” Cultural Award for his field researches by the President of Turkmenistan.
The Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino (CRAST):
For half a century CRAST has been associating its name and the one of the city of Turin to the historical and archaeological research, the enhancement of the cultural heritage and the preservation and restoration of the architectural and archaeological resources in several countries within the Mediterranean area – including Italy – and the Near and Middle East.
Starting in the 1960s, the Center has conducted field researches in Iraq on the sites of Seleucia on the Tigris, Choche-Ctesiphon, in the Tell Yelkhi area when the Diyala dam was built, in the Roman fortress at Kifrin on the Euphrates, at Khirbet Hatara, Hatra, Nimrud, Babylon. In Jordan it has carried out excavations in the Sanctuary of Artemis at Gerasa and the restoration of its propylaeum on the columned alley. In Syria it has surveyed the Palmyra oasis; in Lebanon it has carried out excavations in the Roman forum of Beirut and restored and preserved the monumental remnants under the Lebanese Parliament building. In Tunisia it has drawn up a project concerning an archaeological park in the Carthage area. In Pakistan and Afghanistan it has taken part in the joint missions with IsIAO. In Iran it has surveyed the Kuh-e Khwaja monument at Sistan.
At present, field researches focus on Iran, with the study of the rock reliefs and the excavations in the Izeh region in Khuzistan, Turkmenistan, where the archaeological mission at Parthian Nisa has been active since 1990, and Iraq, with the project of surveys and excavations at Tulul al Baqarat. Moreover, in cooperation with CrISSMA (Centro di Ricerche sul Sistema Sud e il Mediterraneo Allargato) and Università Cattolica di Milano, the Center is taking part in the excavations at Banhbore, Pakistan.
Besides field research, the Center has always been promoting activities of study, restoration, testing and application of new methodologies in the field of cultural heritage in cooperation with the authorities of the various countries in which the Center has operated. For this reason, the Italian-Iraqi Institute of Archaeological Sciences and the Italian-Iraqi Centre for the Restoration of Monuments have been operating in Baghdad since 1969. The Institutes were founded by the late Giorgio Gullini with the purpose of creating an ongoing joint cooperation between Italy and Iraq. In the past decades, the activities of the two Institutes concentrated on survey, restoration and study campaigns of important monuments and archaeological sites such as Ctesiphon, Babylon, ‘Aqar Quf, Mosul and its Minaret, ‘Anah and the monuments of Islamic Baghdad.
Since 2002, due to the conflicts in the area, the activities of the Centro Scavi have mainly been focused on the protection of the Iraqi archaeological heritage: within this framework fall the documentation of the orthostats of Sennacherib’s Palace without rivals at Nineveh (illustrated in the section of the site dedicated to the research projects), the documentation and recovery of looted artifacts (B.R.I.L.A. project), the reconstruction of the restoration laboratories and the reopening of the Iraq Museum, and the reopening of the Iraqi-Italian institutes, which closed after the Second Gulf war.
In 2009, for these activities, the Centro Scavi was awarded the Rotondi Prize for art saviours – World section.
The Iraqi-Italian Institutes, looted during the Second Gulf War and closed since 2003, have recently reopened (April 2016). Their role is to provide full cooperation on all issues raised by the Iraqi side, but especially to contribute to the increasingly far-reaching safeguard of the cultural heritage seen as the product of an interdisciplinary integration of different disciplines.