The Looting of Syria's Archaeological Treasures

In contested areas of Syria, thousands of archaeological sites are being systematically looted by unknown parties, the treasures sold off, disappearing into the black market. ISIS has infamously looted and destroyed a number of sites over the past few years—but they are not alone. A recent study in the journal Near Eastern Archaeology analyzed satellite imagery and found that significant looting took place in territory controlled by ISIS, the Syrian government, Kurdish forces, and other opposition groups, nearly equally. Below, a close look at one hard-hit site, Apamea, a city founded in 300 B.C. According to the study, the looting in Apamea appears to have taken place while it was occupied by Syrian regime forces. The final four images in this series are interactive—click on them to view a transition, showing the difference a few years can make.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Jonathan Bachman / Reuters

    Top 25 News Photos of 2016

    The past 12 months have been an eventful time for news stories, from the unpredictable and tumultuous U.S. presidential election, to continued war and terror and refugees fleeing to Europe, to a historic World Series win for the Chicago Cubs, and so much more.

  • Matt Eich

    A Hidden American Anger

    Life in Ohio's proud but economically abandoned small towns

  • Thomas Mukoya / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 11/26–12/2

    Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, a beard and mustache competition organized by the Bangalore Beard Club, wildfires in Tennessee and Israel, Cubans mourn Fidel Castro, a monkey buffet in Thailand, and much more.

  • NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team

    2016 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar

    Every day until Sunday, December 25, we’ll present one new image of our universe from NASA’s ‘scope.

Join the Discussion