A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Nine more fragments from reliefs at the Sennacherib Palace Site Museum at Nineveh in northern Iraq have surfaced on the antiquities market, further evidence that many panels recounting the Assyrian king Sennacherib's 701 B.C. siege of Jerusalem have been vandalized. Columbia University art historian John Malcolm Russell says he was first shown photographs of three fragments from the palace late in 1995 (see "Assyrian Wall-Reliefs for Sale," ARCHAEOLOGY, November/December 1996) by a European museum seeking to check the provenance of the reliefs in advance of purchase. Russell, who photographed many of the slabs in situ between 1989 and 1990, was again contacted this past fall, this time by a lawyer representing a prospective purchaser of ten Assyrian reliefs. Russell identified nine of the ten as fragments from panels at the site museum and the tenth as a fragment from the palace of Sargon II at Khorsabad, which was being stored at Nineveh in 1990. Working with photographs supplied by the lawyer, Russell noticed that many of the fragments had been squared off to give the impression that they were complete compositions.