In Iraq, A Race To Protect The Crumbling Bricks Of Ancient Babylon
Mohaned Ahmed is standing on scaffolding at the ancient site of Babylon, dipping water into a bucket and sponging the bricks around a stone relief showing a dragon with a serpent’s head.
The image is so well defined it looks as if it might have been made yesterday instead of more than 2,000 years ago. But below it, the bricks and mortar of one of the ancient world’s grandest cities are disintegrating.
Ahmed is part of a team of about 10 Iraqi technicians trained by a U.S.-funded project to shore up the brick walls of the ancient site of Babylon, some 50 miles south of Baghdad. The goal is to improve Babylon’s prospects of being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a designation that would help ensure better protection and preservation of the site and encourage future tourism.