Updated: May 28, 2015 01:51 PM
ISIL’s destruction of antiquities in Syria and Iraq has prompted a secretive organisation to track and restore looted artefacts, while another international group wants to virtually recreate heritage lost to theft and vandalism.
It has no headquarters, no website, and no spokespersons prepared to see their real names in print or online. Even the title of the secretive private organisation that has recently sprung up in response to the grave threat posed by ISIL to the cultural treasures of Syria and Iraq, has an anodyne feel to it.
But there is nothing dull about the self-imposed mission of the Committee for Shared Culture (CSC), a group of like-minded people who have come together to track down and recover the ancient artefacts that are – they fear – disappearing from archaeological sites throughout Iraq and Syria every day.
“We are a group of individuals who share a common interest in the ancient world,” says John Smith, a former classics student who spent some years working in the UAE and spoke on condition of anonymity.
“I have to consider the safety of my family,” he says.