End of February, 2003. Iraq’s Minister of Culture appoints one of his advisors, Muayyad Damerji, to remove many of the most valuable antiquities to a secret location. Damerji, Jaber Khalil, Al-Mutawalli, and two others spend the next 7 to 10 days moving thousands of items to an air-raid shelter than had been built in 1991. They make a pact not to disclose the location until a new government in is place. They will eventually reveal the location to Col. Bogdanos on July 6, 2003.

Mid-March, 2003. A week or so before the war begins three bunkers are dug into the front grounds of the Iraq National Museum, covered with corrugated metal sheets, and sandbagged.

Tuesday, April 8, 2003. When Iraqi soldiers and Fedayeen begin firing on US forces from positions inside the museum grounds, Donny George, Jaber Khalil, and perhaps Nawala Al-Mutawilli lock the doors and leave, leaving behind only Mohsen Hassan, who lives behind the museum.

Wednesday, April 9, 2003. Fighting continues. Statue of Saddam comes down in Firdos Square.

Thursday, April 10 - Friday, April 11, 2003. Looters are seen entering and exiting the museum grounds.

Saturday, April 12, 2003. The foreign correspondents arrive at the Iraq National Museum. Nabhal Amin announces that the museum has been entirely looted and that 170,000 have been stolen while Americans stood by and did nothing.

April 16, 2003. The US military secures the Iraq National Museum.

April 22, 2003. US Marine Col. Matthew Bogdanos begins efforts to locate missing antiquities and discover what happened on April 10 and April 11.

April 29, 2003. Donny George gives a talk at the British Museum

May 16, 2003. Col. Bogdanos gives a press briefing in which he refutes the original claim of 170,000 items missing.

June 7, 2003. The Customs Office / State Department Preliminary report is released.

June 8, 2003. Dan Cruickshank’s “Raiders of the Lost Art” on BBC2 highlights the numerous problems around the original looting story.

June 10, 2003. David Aaronovitch at the Guardian speaks for many when he summarizes, “It’s bollocks.”

September 10, 2003. Col. Bogdanos gives his final press briefing and releases his report, “Iraq Museum Investigation: 22APR – 8SEP03.”

Press Briefing

Final Report


free hit counter