Nineveh On Line                                                                           Assyria

 Assyrian Archaeologist Speaks about Assyrian Identity and the Iraq Museum Artifact Recovery Campaign

By: Nineveh On Line Staff
December 13, 2008

Dr. Donny George Youkhanna, a very prominent and well known Assyrian archaeologist and scholar who was instrumental in recovering many of the artifacts looted from the National Museum in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam in 2003 gave a wonderful presentation at the California State University, Stanislaus on Saturday, December 13th at 2 p.m. in the Vasché Library West Reading Room.

Dr. Youkhanna is an Assyrian Christian, a native of Iraq, who along with his family was forced to flee Iraq in 2006. Dr. Youkhanna is currently a visiting Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University in New York.

As the Director General of Baghdad’s National Museum, he played a major roll in recovering almost half of the 15,000 artifacts that were looted from the museum of Iraq’s archaeological sites during the chaos that followed the 2003 fall of dictator Saddam. Many artifacts were sold on the international antiquities black market in many countries including Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, South Africa and South America.

Dr. Youkhanna's lecture included a multitude of academic and informative material regarding who the Assyrian people are as well as a variety of their achievements with a concentration in many of the marvelous ancient artifacts created by the Assyrians ranging from enormous and fascinating city sculptures such as the Lamasso to lavish pieces of jewelry to brilliant everyday items.

He stressed the idea of unity for the Assyrian people regardless of their faith or Church affiliation, and exposed the conflicts within the Assyrian people that is allowing for the deterioration of that unity as well.

As an archeologist, Dr. Youkhanna expressed that through academic research and evidence it is found that the Assyrian people have the name Assyrian originating from the country of Assyria.

In answering questions from the audience regarding some confusion among those who falsely claim that Chaldeans of today are not Assyrian but rather related to the Chaldeans of antiquity, Dr. Youkhanna explained in detail how the Chaldean name came to existence in modern day Iraq and how the Catholic Church named a group of Assyrians converted from the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church of the East to Roman Catholics.


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