BAR 35:02, Mar/Apr 2009
Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage
(Princeton Univ. Press, 2008) 256 pp., $24.95 (hardcover)
The photograph on the cover of James Cuno’s book depicts two Italian soldiers standing guard at the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad on July 3, 2003, as the museum reopened its doors after the fall of Saddam Hussein. They are standing in front of the famous Assyrian sculptures from Nimrud. In a sense this is a harrowing image, reminding us of the precariousness of the world’s cultural heritage and the continuous threat of violence endangering the highlights of our common past.