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Yemen | Largely unnoticed by wider world, archaeological heritage under attack by Islamic militants

A new front has opened in the destruction of archaeological heritage in the Middle East. Across northern Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State (IS) group devastated antiquities during its reign of terror starting in 2014, pulverizing classical statues such as those of Palmyra in Syria and bulldozing a 3000-year-old ziggurat at Iraq’s Nimrud. The IS group has now been routed by Iraqi and Syrian forces, curbing the destruction but giving archaeologists a firsthand look at an aftermath that is grimmer than many had expected. Meanwhile, the assault on antiquity has extended to Yemen, 2000 kilometers to the south, another archaeological treasure house riven by conflict.

“Our immortal history has been wasted by wars,” lamented Mohanad Ahmad al-Sayani, chair of Yemen’s General Organization of Antiquities and Museums in Sana’a.


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