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3 October 2014
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Isabel Hilton and guests explore what has happened to promises made by the British government to restore the cultural treasures damaged by the war in Iraq.

The site of one of two Buddhas of Bamiyan

Bamiyan, Afghanistan, where the destroyed statue of Buddha used to stand before being destroyed by the Taliban
The site of a destroyed statue of Buddha in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Ignoring worldwide criticism by Muslims, Buddhists and art lovers, Taliban officials showed off their destruction in 2001 of the ancient statue by taking foreigners to the Bamiyan mountainside where the relic was blasted apart.


On Night Waves tonight Isabel Hilton will be presenting a special programme looking at the cultural devastation caused by war.

Among her guests will be Donny George, the former Chairman of the Iraq State Board of Antiquities who was in charge of the museum in Baghdad when it was sacked by looters three and a half years ago.

Although many of the antiquities stolen have now been recovered many of the country's archaeological sites are still being devastated by looters. This is even more true of the sites in Afghanistan.

Joining Isabel and Donny George will be the Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor whose curators have worked closely with the Iraqi and British governments to safeguard the cultural treasures, Professor Elizabeth Stone who is head of archaeology at Stoney Brook University in New York and has directed many excavations in Iraq, and Roger Matthews, who has worked as the Head of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq.

They'll be discussing the lessons to be learned from the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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