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Archaeology

Islamic State's disgraceful effort to raze history

Islamic State's disgraceful effort to raze history

Islamic State abducts, rapes and enslaves women. It massacres Christians and Yazidis. It beheads hostages and puts homosexuals to death. It organizes terrorist operations against civilians in cities like Paris, and its followers continue the work in San Bernardino and elsewhere.

Given such unfathomable and appalling crimes, it is sometimes difficult to explain why the world should be particularly distressed by the group's wanton destruction of monuments, holy sites and antiquities. These are, after all, just structures of brick, stone and mud, just physical representations of human culture. A single life is worth more than the oldest temple, by most people's...

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