Museum Of Lost Objects

The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

With hundreds of thousands of lives lost, millions of people displaced and some of the world's most significant heritage sites destroyed, the wars in Iraq and Syria have had an enormous cost. While the historical artefacts that have been bombed, defaced and plundered can never be restored - they are very well remembered. Through local histories, legends and personal stories, the Museum of Lost Objects recreates these lost treasures and explores their significance across generations and cultures, from creation to destruction.

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Al-ma'arri The Poet2016030820200817 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

In 2013, Islamic militants decapitated the statue of an 11th Century Arabic poet that stood in his hometown of Maarat al-Nu’man, a city that’s seen heavy fighting during the Syrian conflict. The poet al-Ma’arri was one of the most revered in Syria, and poetry enthusiasts tell his story – he was blind, vegetarian, atheist, and some even claim that his work inspired Dante’s Divine Comedy.

This episode was first broadcast on 8 March, 2016.

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Contributors: Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Mahmoud al-Sheikh, BBC Arabic; the reading is by Susan Jameson

Picture: Statue of al-Ma'arri with the sculptor Fathi Mohammed in the 1940s, and the statue after its decapitation in 2013

Why was the bust of a blind, vegetarian, medieval poet the casualty of Syria's modern war?

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

Armenian Martyr's Memorial, Der Zor2016031020200831 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

The Armenian martyr's memorial in Der Zor, Syria was a tribute to the Armenians who perished in the mass killings of 1915. It was consecrated in 1991 and then completely destroyed in 2014 by Islamic militants. A British-Armenian writer recalls her visits to Der Zor, and traces the harrowing journey of her ancestors through the Syrian desert.

This episode was first broadcast on 10 March, 2016.

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Contributors: Nouritza Matossian, writer; Heghnar Watenpaugh, University of California Davis

With thanks to Elyse Semerdjian of Whitman College

Picture: Armenian Martyr's Memorial, Der Zor

A shrine to the 1915 Armenian massacres, made from human bones in the Syrian desert

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

Looted Sumerian Seal, Baghdad2016031120200907 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

This is the oldest and smallest object in the series: a tiny Sumerian cylinder seal depicting a harvest festival. It was carved in 2,600 BC and was part of the collection of ancient cylinder seals which disappeared when the Iraq Museum in Baghdad was looted during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We tell the story of this seal and the pillaging of the country's most important museum.

This episode was first broadcast on 11 March, 2016.

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Contributors: Lamia al-Gailani, SOAS; Mazin Safar, son of Iraqi archaeologist Fuad Safar; John Curtis, Iran Heritage Foundation

With thanks to Augusta McMahon of Cambridge University, Mark Altaweel of the Institute of Archaeology UCL, and Sarah Collins of the British Museum

Picture: Sumerian harvest seal
Credit: Lamia al-Gailani

In search of a Sumerian goddess, and the pillaging of Iraq's most important museum

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

Minaret Of The Umayyad Mosque, Aleppo2016030320200727 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

Since 2012, Aleppo - Syria's largest city - has been a key battleground in the conflict, and hundreds of its residents killed or displaced. Aleppo, thought to be the oldest city in the world, is now left in ruins. One of the great monuments of the city was the minaret of the Umayyad Mosque (also known as the Great Mosque) which was toppled in April 2013. It's still unclear who was responsible - Syrian government forces and rebels blame each other. We tell the story of the minaret, a world heritage site that was connected to that other great Aleppo landmark, the souk.

This episode was first broadcast on 3 March, 2016

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Minaret of the Umayyad Mosque
Credit: Getty

Contributors: Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Zahed Tajeddin, artist and archaeologist; Heghnar Watenpaugh, University of California Davis; Jalal Halabi, photographer; Will Wintercross, Daily Telegraph

With thanks to Haider Adnan of BBC Arabic, Elyse Semerdjian of Whitman College, and Aya Mhanna.

The unique minaret of Aleppo's Great Mosque, which is now only a waterfall of rubble.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

Tell Qarqur, Hama Province2016030220200720 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

As archaeological sites go, Tell Qarqur isn’t the most glamorous, but this mound in Syria is unique. It’s in the Orontes Valley in the west of the country and it contains 10,000 years of continuous human occupation. It is a goldmine of information for studying the movements of long history in a single place. In 2011, Tell Qarqur was occupied by the Assad military and since then, the whole area - the province of Hama and neighbouring regions - has been on the frontline of the war and many local residents forced to flee. Jesse Casana, the archaeologist who ran the excavation at Tell Qarqur, talks about monitoring the destruction of his site from space using satellite archaeology, and the Syrian villagers who worked with him now living as refugees.

This episode was first broadcast on 2 March, 2016

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Tell Qarqur
Credit: Jesse Casana

The ancient hill in western Syria that became a modern battleground

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

The Genie Of Nimrud2016030920200824 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

The ancient Assyrians were fond of protective spirits. They had sculptures of all manner of mythological creatures lining the walls of their palaces. One such sculpture was a stone relief of a genie. This was a powerful male figure - a bountiful beard and muscular thighs but with huge wings sprouting from his back. Three thousand years ago, it adorned the walls of Nimrud, one of the great strongholds of Mesopotamia, near Mosul in modern day Iraq. During the 1990s, this genie disappeared - believed to have been taken during the chaos of the first Gulf war - and ended up in London around 2002 - just before the mire of the second Gulf war. It’s been kept by Scotland Yard for these last 14 years - locked in legal limbo, and unlikely to ever reemerge or return to Iraq. We explore the cost of looting to a country’s cultural heritage, and tell the story of another valuable Mesopotamian antiquity that was looted, eventually uncovered, but managed to stay in Iraq. This is a tablet, and holds a new chapter from the oldest tale ever told - the Gilgamesh epic.

This episode was first broadcast on 9 March, 2016.

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Assyrian winged-genie from Nimrud
Credit: Brooklyn Museum

Contributors: Mark Altaweel, Institute of Archaeology UCL; Augusta McMahon, University of Cambridge; Mina al-Lami, BBC Monitoring; the readings are by Martin Worthington, George Watkins, and Susan Jameson

With thanks to Vernon Rapley, V&A; Sarah Collins, British Museum; Andrew George, SOAS; and John Russell Massachusetts College of Art and Design

On the murky trail of a missing genie, last seen in the ancient Assyrian palace of Nimrud

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

The Lion Of Al-lat2016030420200803 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

The Lion of al-Lat was a protective spirit, the consort of a Mesopotamian goddess. This 2,000 year old statue was one of the first things the so-called Islamic State destroyed when they took Palmyra in 2015. The Polish archaeologist Michal Gawlikowski recalls discovering the lion during an excavation in the 1970s, and we explore the wider symbolism of lions and power and how this was appropriated by modern rulers including Bashar al-Assad’s own ancestors.

This episode was first broadcast on 4 March, 2016.

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Lion of al-Lat
Credit: Michal Gawlikowski

Contributors: Michal Gawlikowski, Warsaw University; Zahed Tajeddin, artist and archaeologist; Augusta McMahon, University of Cambridge; Lamia al-Gailani, SOAS

With thanks to Sarah Collins of the British Museum

The fearsome 2,000 year old statue, regarded as one of the symbols of Palmyra

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

Winged Bull Of Nineveh2016022920200629 (R4)The 2,700 year old sculpture that guarded the gates of one of antiquity's fabled cities

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

With hundreds of thousands of lives lost, millions of people displaced and some of the world’s most significant heritage sites destroyed, the wars in Iraq and Syria have had an enormous cost. While the historical artefacts that have been bombed, defaced and plundered can never be restored, they are very well remembered. Through local histories, legends and personal stories, the Museum of Lost Objects recreates these lost treasures and explores their significance across generations and cultures, from creation to destruction.

The winged bull was a huge 2,700-year-old sculpture that stood guard at the gates of one of the most fabled cities in antiquity – Nineveh, modern-day Mosul, northern Iraq. Militants from the Islamic State group defaced the winged bull in February 2015, almost a year after seizing control of the city. We tell the story of the bull and the role of Nineveh in the origins of Iraqi archaeology.

This episode was first broadcast on 29 February, 2016

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Winged Bull of Nineveh, drawn by Eugène Flandin
Credit: The New York Public Library

Contributors: Mazin Safar, son of Iraqi archaeologist Fuad Safar; Mark Altaweel, Institute of Archaeology, UCL; and Iraqi archaeologist Lamia al-Gailani, SOAS

With thanks to Nigel Tallis and Sarah Collins of the British Museum, and Augusta McMahon of the University of Cambridge.

01Winged-bull Of Nineveh20160229The winged-bull was a huge 2,700 year old sculpture that stood guard at the gates of one of the most fabled cities in antiquity - Nineveh, in modern day Mosul, northern Iraq. Militants from the Islamic State group defaced the winged-bull in February 2015, almost a year after seizing control of the city. We tell the story of the bull and the role of Nineveh in the origins of Iraqi archaeology.

Contributors: Mazin Safar, son of Iraqi archaeologist Fuad Safar; Mark Altaweel, Institute of Archaeology, UCL; and Iraqi archaeologist Lamia al-Gailani, SOAS

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor

Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Winged-Bull of Nineveh, drawn by Eugène Flandin

Credit: The New York Public Library

With thanks to Nigel Tallis and Sarah Collins of the British Museum, and Augusta McMahon of the University of Cambridge.

The 2,700-year-old sculpture that guarded the gates of one of antiquity's fabled cities.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

02Palmyra: Temple Of Bel2016030120200706 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

Last May, the Syrian city of Palmyra was captured by the forces of the so-called Islamic State. Few of the group's excesses have won as much attention as their ravaging of the city. They waged a campaign of violence against the local population, and they systematically destroyed many of the city's great monuments, including the 2,000 year old Temple of Bel. We trace the story of the Temple, pay homage to Palmyra's ancient warrior Queen Zenobia - and hear from a modern day Zenobia, daughter of Khaled al-Asaad director of antiquities at Palmyra who was beheaded by IS. She tells us when IS militants took over her home and her last words with her father.

Contributors: Nasser Rabat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Salam al-Kuntar, University of Pennsylvania Museum; Zenobia al-Asaad, daughter of Khaled al-Asaad, her words read in English by Amira Ghazalla

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor

Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Temple of Bel, Palmyra

Credit: Getty

With thanks to Faisal Irshaid of BBC Arabic, Alma Hassoun of BBC Monitoring, Rubina Raja of Aarhus University, Christopher Jones of Columbia University, and Christa Salamandra of City University of New York.

One of Palmyra's most iconic structures and the man who gave his life to protect the city.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

One of Palmyra's most iconic structures, and the man who gave his life to protect the city

In May 2015, the Syrian city of Palmyra was captured by the forces of the so-called Islamic State. Few of the group’s excesses have won as much attention as their ravaging of the city. They waged a campaign of violence against the local population, and they systematically destroyed many of the city’s great monuments, including the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel. We trace the story of the Temple, pay homage to Palmyra’s ancient warrior Queen Zenobia – and hear from a modern-day Zenobia, daughter of Khaled al-Asaad, director of antiquities at Palmyra, who was beheaded by IS. She tells us when IS militants took over her home and her last words with her father. This programme was first broadcast on 1 March, 2016.

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Contributors: Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Salam al-Kuntar, University of Pennsylvania Museum; Zenobia al-Asaad, daughter of Khaled al-Asaad, her words read in English by Amira Ghazalla

Picture: Temple of Bel, Palmyra
Credit: Getty

03Tell Qarqur, Hama Province2016030220200720 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

As archaeological sites go, Tell Qarqur isn't the most glamorous, but this mound in Syria is unique. It's in the Orontes Valley in the west of the country and it contains 10,000 years of continuous human occupation. It is a goldmine of information for studying the movements of long history in a single place. In 2011, Tell Qarqur was occupied by the Assad military and since then, the whole area - the province of Hama and neighbouring regions - has been on the frontline of the war and many local residents forced to flee. Jesse Casana, the archaeologist who ran the excavation at Tell Qarqur, talks about monitoring the destruction of his site from space using satellite archaeology, and the Syrian villagers who worked with him now living as refugees.

Contributors: Jesse Casana, Dartmouth College; the reading is by Sargon Yelda

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor

Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Tell Qarqur

Credit: Jesse Casana.

The ancient hill in western Syria that became a modern battleground.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

As archaeological sites go, Tell Qarqur isn’t the most glamorous, but this mound in Syria is unique. It’s in the Orontes Valley in the west of the country and it contains 10,000 years of continuous human occupation. It is a goldmine of information for studying the movements of long history in a single place. In 2011, Tell Qarqur was occupied by the Assad military and since then, the whole area - the province of Hama and neighbouring regions - has been on the frontline of the war and many local residents forced to flee. Jesse Casana, the archaeologist who ran the excavation at Tell Qarqur, talks about monitoring the destruction of his site from space using satellite archaeology, and the Syrian villagers who worked with him now living as refugees.

This episode was first broadcast on 2 March, 2016

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Tell Qarqur
Credit: Jesse Casana

04Minaret Of The Umayyad Mosque, Aleppo2016030320200727 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

Since 2012, Aleppo - Syria's largest city - has been a key battleground in the conflict, and hundreds of its residents killed or displaced. Aleppo, thought to be the oldest city in the world, is now left in ruins. One of the great monuments of the city was the minaret of the Umayyad Mosque (also known as the Great Mosque) which was toppled in April 2013. It's still unclear who was responsible - Syrian government forces and rebels blame each other. We tell the story of the minaret, a world heritage site that was connected to that other great Aleppo landmark, the souk.

Contributors: Nasser Rabat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Zahed Tajeddin, artist and archaeologist; Heghnar Watenpaugh, University of California Davis; Jalal Halabi, photographer; Will Wintercross, Daily Telegraph

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor

Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Minaret of the Umayyad Mosque

Credit: Getty

With thanks to Haider Adnan of BBC Arabic, Elyse Semerdjian of Whitman College, and Aya Mhanna.

The unique minaret of Aleppo's Great Mosque, which is now only a waterfall of rubble.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

This episode was first broadcast on 3 March, 2016

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Minaret of the Umayyad Mosque
Credit: Getty

Contributors: Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Zahed Tajeddin, artist and archaeologist; Heghnar Watenpaugh, University of California Davis; Jalal Halabi, photographer; Will Wintercross, Daily Telegraph

05The Lion Of Al-lat2016030420200803 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

The Lion of al-Lat was a protective spirit, the consort of a Mesopotamian goddess. This 2,000 year old statue was one of the first things the so-called Islamic State destroyed when they took Palmyra in 2015. The Polish archaeologist Michal Gawlikowski recalls discovering the lion during an excavation in the 1970s, and we explore the wider symbolism of lions and power and how this was appropriated by modern rulers including Bashar al-Assad's own ancestors.

Contributors: Michal Gawlikowski, Warsaw University; Zahed Tajeddin, artist and archaeologist; Augusta McMahon, University of Cambridge; Lamia al-Gailani, SOAS

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor

Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Lion of al-Lat

Credit: Michal Gawlikowski

With thanks to Sarah Collins of the British Museum.

The fearsome 2,000-year-old statue, regarded as one of the symbols of Palmyra.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

The Lion of al-Lat was a protective spirit, the consort of a Mesopotamian goddess. This 2,000 year old statue was one of the first things the so-called Islamic State destroyed when they took Palmyra in 2015. The Polish archaeologist Michal Gawlikowski recalls discovering the lion during an excavation in the 1970s, and we explore the wider symbolism of lions and power and how this was appropriated by modern rulers including Bashar al-Assad’s own ancestors.

This episode was first broadcast on 4 March, 2016.

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Lion of al-Lat
Credit: Michal Gawlikowski

The fearsome 2,000 year old statue, regarded as one of the symbols of Palmyra

06Mar Elian Monastery2016030720200810 (R4)The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

This monastery in the remote Syrian town of Qaryatayn held the 1,000 year old tomb of a saint, Mar Elian, who was revered by Christians and Muslims alike. After the Islamic State group took Palmyra, they came to the monastery of Mar Elian, kidnapped its priest and later bulldozed the site. A British archaeologist who lived and worked there for many years tells the legends of Mar Elian and her close relationship with the community.

Contributors: Emma Loosley, University of Exeter; Father Jacques Murad, formerly priest at Mar Elian

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor

Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Doorway to Mar Elian

Credit: Emma Loosley

With thanks to Shadi Atalla.

The legends of a shrine, revered by both Christians and Muslims for hundreds of years.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

This monastery in the remote Syrian town of Qaryatayn held the 1,000 year old tomb of a saint, Mar Elian, who was revered by Christians and Muslims alike. After the Islamic State group took Palmyra, they came to the monastery of Mar Elian, kidnapped its priest and later bulldozed the site. A British archaeologist who lived and worked there for many years tells the legends of Mar Elian and her close relationship with the community.

This episode was first broadcast on 7 March, 2016.

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Doorway to Mar Elian
Credit: Emma Loosley

07Al-ma'arri The Poet20160308The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

In 2013, Islamic militants decapitated the statue of an 11th Century Arabic poet that stood in his hometown of Maarat al-Nu'man, a city that's seen heavy fighting during the Syrian conflict. The poet al-Ma'arri was one of the most revered in Syria, and poetry enthusiasts tell his story - he was blind, vegetarian, atheist, and some even claim that his work inspired Dante's Divine Comedy.

Contributors: Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Mahmoud al-Sheikh, BBC Arabic; the reading is by Susan Jameson

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor

Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Statue of al-Ma'arri with the sculptor Fathi Mohammed in the 1940s, and the statue after its decapitation in 2013.

Why was the bust of a blind, vegetarian, medieval poet the casualty of Syria's modern war?

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

08The Genie Of Nimrud20160309The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

The ancient Assyrians were fond of protective spirits. They had sculptures of all manner of mythological creatures lining the walls of their palaces. One such sculpture was a stone relief of a genie. This was a powerful male figure - a bountiful beard and muscular thighs but with huge wings sprouting from his back. Three thousand years ago, it adorned the walls of Nimrud, one of the great strongholds of Mesopotamia, near Mosul in modern day Iraq. During the 1990s, this genie disappeared - believed to have been taken during the chaos of the first Gulf war - and ended up in London around 2002 - just before the mire of the second Gulf war. It's been kept by Scotland Yard for these last 14 years - locked in legal limbo, and unlikely to ever re-emerge or return to Iraq. We explore the cost of looting to a country's cultural heritage, and tell the story of another valuable Mesopotamian antiquity that was looted, eventually uncovered, but managed to stay in Iraq. This is a tablet, and holds a new chapter from the oldest tale ever told - the Gilgamesh epic.

Contributors: Mark Altaweel, Institute of Archaeology UCL; Augusta McMahon, University of Cambridge; Mina al-Lami, BBC Monitoring; the readings are by Martin Worthington, George Watkins, and Susan Jameson

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor

Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Assyrian winged-genie from Nimrud, very similar in style to the genie in possession of Scotland Yard

Credit: Brooklyn Museum

With thanks to Vernon Rapley of the V&A, Sarah Collins of the British Museum, Andrew George of SOAS, and John Russell of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

On the murky trail of a missing genie, last seen in the ancient Assyrian palace of Nimrud.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

09Armenian Martyr's Memorial, Der Zor20160310The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

The Armenian martyr's memorial in Der Zor, Syria was a tribute to the Armenians who perished in the mass killings of 1915. It was consecrated in 1991 and then completely destroyed in 2014 by Islamic militants. A British Armenian writer recalls her visits to Der Zor, and tracing the harrowing journey of her ancestors through the Syrian desert.

Contributors: Nouritza Matossian, writer; Heghnar Watenpaugh, University of California Davis

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor

Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Armenian Martyr's Memorial, Der Zor

With thanks to Elyse Semerdjian of Whitman College.

A shrine to the 1915 Armenian massacres, made from human bones in the Syrian desert.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

10 LASTLooted Sumerian Seal, Baghdad20160311This is the oldest and smallest object in the series: a tiny Sumerian cylinder seal depicting a harvest festival. It was carved in 2,600 BC and was part of the collection of ancient cylinder seals which disappeared when the Iraq Museum in Baghdad was looted during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We tell the story of this seal and the pillaging of the country's most important museum.

Contributors: Lamia al-Gailani, SOAS; Mazin Safar, son of Iraqi archaeologist Fuad Safar; John Curtis, Iran Heritage Foundation

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor

Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Sumerian harvest seal

Credit: Lamia al-Gailani

With thanks to Augusta McMahon of Cambridge University, Mark Altaweel of the Institute of Archaeology UCL, and Sarah Collins of the British Museum.

In search of a Sumerian goddess, and the pillaging of Iraq's most important museum.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.

SPECIALReturn To Aleppo20170728One man's extraordinary quest to find out what became of his home in Aleppo's old town.

The story of one neighbourhood in Aleppo, and how it changed the lives of two Syrians caught up in the war.

Zahed Tajeddin is a sculptor and archaeologist whose family have lived in Aleppo for generations. He owned a beautiful medieval courtyard house in a neighbourhood called Judaydah, part of the city's historic centre. But Zahed was forced to abandon his house in 2012, when Judaydah became a battleground between government forces and rebel fighters. He makes the emotional and dangerous journey to see whether his home survived the conflict.

Abu Ahmed is a pharmacist who set up Judaydah's only medical centre. He stayed in Aleppo throughout the conflict, giving first aid, medicines and comfort to the local residents. He was one of the last people to flee rebel-held Aleppo after the government advance in December 2016.

Presented by Kanishk Tharoor
Produced by Maryam Maruf

With thanks to Elyse Semerdjian, Mustafa Abu Sneineh, Mehdi Musawi, Dr Hatem and Emily Webb.

Image: A courtyard house in Judaydah. Credit: Getty Images.

Tracing the histories of antiquities and landmarks that have been destroyed or looted.