Chicago Institute Helps in the Search for Looted Iraqi Antiquities

National Geographic: Scholars at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute have set up a website to help stop smuggling of Iraq's looted treasures. The Oriental Institute of the Unversity of Chicago has created a website with a virtual tour of the stolen Iraqi antiquities. Even though the full extent of the theft and damage is still unknown, the staff hopes that by publicizing the missing artifacts, some may yet be recovered.

Institute Director Gil Stein says, "We're acting as a clearing house, and so far 36 different institutions and individuals from all over the world are contributing information, sending images, and volunteering labor. It's really inspiring how much people want to help."

The database of artifacts acts as a "virtual wanted poster" to familiarize the world with the items that are missing, but scholars hold little hope that everything will be recovered. Says University of Michigan professor Henry Wright, "Even centuries from now, specialists will still be looking."

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