Bishop of Southwark asks about conservation of antiquities in Iraq

The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 8th March 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the work of a British Museum team in the discovery of an early Sumerian Palace at Girsu/Tello, funded by the Getty Museum, and (2) making provision of similar funding for the training of Iraqi archaeologists and the conservation of Iraq’s antiquities under the Cultural Heritage Protection Programme.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con): His Majesty’s Government is proud of the partnership between the British Museum, the Getty Museum and the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities. HM Government supports the protection of cultural heritage – particularly in regions at risk from conflict, instability and climate change – through the Cultural Protection Fund, which includes support for training and education.

Since its inception, the Cultural Protection Fund has supported and continues to support a number of projects in both Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. This included the Iraq Scheme which from 2015 to 2021 trained over 50 staff from the State Board of Antiquities. The Girsu Project builds on the legacy of the scheme and we congratulate the British Museum for its part in recent excavations in Tello.

In November 2022, 17 new Cultural Protection Fund projects were awarded funding. Four of these will support the preservation of cultural heritage in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. The projects include archaeological training, safeguarding folk music, and the preservation of maritime craft and life in the wetlands of Southern Iraq.


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