American soldiers have taken it on themselves to do some redecorating of Iraqi archaeological sites. Apparently, vandalism of the ancient city of Ur has led to the US military banning US troops from the site.
Ur is believed by many to be the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. It was the religious seat of the civilisation of Sumer at the dawn of the line of dynasties which ruled Mesopotamia starting about 4000 BC. Long before the rise of the Egyptian, Greek or Roman empires, it was here that the wheel was invented and the first mathematical system developed. Here, the first poetry was written, notably the epic Gilganesh, a classic of ancient literature.
The most prominent monument is the best preserved ziggurat – stepped pyramid – in the Arab world, initially built by the Sumerians around 4000 BC and restored by Nebuchadnezzar II in the sixth century BC.
In celebration of Ur’s place in the history of Western civilization, US soldiers spray-painted graffitti on the site and stole bricks from its walls. “Always Faithful”, indeed.