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U.S. Archaeologists To Excavate In Iraq

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki during the reopening ceremony of Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad on February 23.
BAGHDAD -- A U.S. archaeological team will return to Iraq’s ancient city of Ur, the biblical birthplace of Abraham, to conduct excavations after the area is returned to Iraq by U.S.-led forces on May 13.

An official told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq (RFI) that Iraqi archaeologists will work with a university team from the state of Pennsylvania, which on an earlier visit uncovered statues, baked clay pots, and other artifacts from Ur for the Iraqi National Museum.

Parliament’s cultural committee chairman Mufid al-Jazaeri welcomed the cooperation with the United States but said that international archaeological expertise is needed because there are so many artifacts still buried in the country.

He said most of Iraq's 10,000 historical artifacts remain vulnerable to looting.