Hobby Lobby fined $3 million for artifacts smuggled from Iraq
The arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby has agreed to pay a $3 million fine for illegally importing thousands of ancient clay artifacts smuggled into the United States from Iraq, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
In addition to the fine, Hobby Lobby will forfeit thousands of clay bullae, cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals that were falsely labeled and shipped to the company through the United Arab Emirates and Israel, according to a civil complaint and settlement agreement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Here Are the Ancient Sites ISIS Has Damaged and Destroyed
Shocking destruction in the Syrian city of Palmyra is part of the militant group’s ongoing campaign against archaeology.
By Andrew Curry,National Geographic
PUBLISHED September 1, 2015
Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria continue their war on the region’s cultural heritage, attacking archaeological sites with bulldozers and explosives.
The so-called Islamic State (ISIS) released a video that shocked the world last month by showing the fiery destruction of the Temple of Baalshamin, one of the best-preserved ruins at the Syrian site of Palmyra. Last weekend, explosions were reported at another Palmyra temple, dedicated to the ancient god Baal; a United Nation agency says satellite images show that larger temple has largely been destroyed.
The Christian monastery was captured in August, when ISIS militants captured the Syrian town of al-Qaryatain near Palmyra. Dedicated to a 4th-century saint, it was an important pilgrimage site and sheltered hundreds of Syrian Christians. Bulldozers were reportedly used to topple its walls, and ISIS posted pictures of the destruction on Twitter.
Built in the third century B.C., Hatra was the capital of an independent kingdom on the outskirts of the Roman Empire. Its combination of Greek- and Roman-influenced architecture and Eastern features testify to its prominence as a trading center on the Silk Road. Hatra was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985.
In 2014, Hatra was taken over by ISIS and reportedly used as an ammo dump and training camp. A video released by ISIS in April 2015 showed fighters using sledgehammers and automatic weapons to destroy sculptures in several of the site’s largest buildings. “The destruction of Hatra marks a turning point in the appalling strategy of cultural cleansing underway in Iraq,” UNESCO head Irina Bokova said at the time.
Mar Behnam Monastery
Established in the 4th century, the monastery was dedicated to an early Christian saint. The holy site, maintained since the late 1800s by Syriac Catholic monks, survived the Mongol hordes in the 1200s but fell to ISIS in March. The extremists used explosives to destroy the saint’s tomb and its elaborate carvings and decorations.