Towards the decolonisation of archaeology in Iraq

Pitt Rivers Museum Research Seminar in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology

Michaelmas Term 2017

Fridays, 1pm-2.30pm, Lecture Theatre, Pitt Rivers Museum (entry off Robinson Close)

Convened by Marcus Banks.


A new Law of Antiquities was approved in Iraq in 1924, as the country was under a British Mandate. Drawn up by Gertrude Bell, it was very generous towards foreign archaeologists, allowing them to receive and export a substantial share of the artefacts uncovered. It started changing in 1933, a year after the Kingdom of Iraq was granted independence. The ‘Arpachiyah Scandal’, involving Agatha Christie’s husband Max Mallowan, was the first step on a long and winding road towards an attempt to decolonise archaeology.