Tags / Excavation
April 6, 2015
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Dozens of bodies were discovered in a mass burial site at the Speicher military base in the north of Tikrit, a city that Iraqi government forces and Shiite militias have recently retaken from ISIS. This site is close to the Presidential Palace compound which was built by late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Video shows government personnel digging up the remains of dead bodies, as well as a chemical contamination prevention team surveying the site. The ISIS flag appears above the entrance of one the buildings in the compound.
Around 1700 Iraqi soldiers are believed to have been executed by ISIS militants when they took over Speicher airbase in June 2014.
Tikrit is the hometown of late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and is considered a Sunni political stronghold.
SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT
Wide of excavation vehicle moving
Various of sign “Irq-SD-Tik-Qr-001. (Arabic inscription:) Date of Work Initiation 5/4/2015. Burial Site: Tikrit, Presidential Palace Compound.”
Wide of excavation vehicle digging the ground
Close-up of body being dug up
Close-up of field worker testing exhumed body for chemical contamination
Medium of a body bag
Moving shot of excavation vehicle and workers digging
Medium of worker folding body bag
Various of fighters watching excavation process
Close-up/ moving shot of field worker testing exhumed body for chemical contamination
Close-up of skull
Close-up/ zoom out of skeleton
Wide of field workers and military officers on site
Moving shot of workers handling skeleton
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Ghanem Abdel Karim Ghanem, Director General of Humanitarian Affairs Unit in Human Rights Ministry
02:45 – 03:31
“After information reached the operations team at the cabinet’s secretary general bureau, under whose command we operate the Ministry of Human Rights and Forensic Medicine department at the Ministry of Health, as well as the Chemical Defense Department, we headed to the notorious Presidential Palace compound. We were then notified that a mass burial site contained the remains of the martyrs killed in Speicher air force base. The team arrived at the site today and we are making preliminary preparations to dig up the mass graves. The remains of martyrs who were executed will be handed to the Forensic Medicine department in order to be identified and handed over to their families.”
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Khalaf Moussa, a Major in the Iraqi Army
03:32 – 03:45
“In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, we have a complete team from the Chemical Defense Battalion. This team, which is very well trained and specialized in dealing with chemical substances, is surveying the site in order to guarantee the workers’ safety on this site.”
Various of workers wearing protection team
Close-up of the chemical contamination prevention team sign
Various of ISIS flag painted above the entrance of one Saddam Hussein’s palaces. Inscription in Arabic reads “There is no God but Allah. The Islamic Caliphate.”
Wide of man mourning
Minister of State for Antiquities Ahmed Eissa is flanked by Egyptian media as he answers questions about the excavation of King Khufu's 4,500 year old solar boat.
The solar boat museum and excavation site stands dwarfed next to the Great Pyramids. Inside, tourists are able to see the first solar boat extracted from beneath the pyramids. Archaeologists hope that in a few years, tourists will be able to the second, fully assembled boat.
A member of the Egyptian media leaves the enclosed area where the excavation process has been happening. As a result of the precautions taken by the excavation team, very few people are allowed to enter the sealed area, and those that enter the excavation site are required to wear masks and suits.
A Japanese reporter examines the first piece of wood extracted from King Khufu's solar boat. The wood was only exposed for 15-20 minutes before it was wrapped up in order to prevent further decay.
A Japanese archaeologist rushes back to the excavation site to as members from the Egyptian and Japanese delegation arrive at the site. Behind him lies the pyramid of Khufu, the pharaoh whose boat the team has been excavating.
Flanked by bodyguards, the Minister of State for Antiquities Ahmed Eissa makes his way to the excavation site to oversee the removal of wood strips from the solar boat.
The wood from the boat, while degraded severely in some areas, is still quite well preserved. Because of the desert climate, archaeologists will have a much easier time preserving the boat than if it had been found in a more humid climate.
The excavation site for the second pharaonic solar boat, sits below the Khufu pyramid of Giza. Discovered in 1992, the excavation site also serves as a museum for the first, fully assembled solar boat.
A member of the excavation team examines the first piece of wood from the solar boat. Archaeologists are rushing to remove the remains of the boat to save the wood from the effects of pollution and insects.
Members of the press as well as the excavation teams wait in an impromptu tent for the arrival of the Minister of State for Antiquities.
Leaders of the excavation team listen to the Minister of State for Antiquities Ahmed Eissa answer questions.
The Minister of State for Antiquities holds a joint press conference with the leader of the Japanese delegation. The Japanese embassy, along with Nitori Holding Company have played a large role in the excavation process.
An Egyptian worker, part of the excavation process of a 4,500 year old solar boat, enters the small tent set up to house the press conference.
A member of the Japanese excavation team from Waseda University works alongside Egyptian colleagues to prepare the first piece of wood for transportation. The excavators are under pressure to extract much of the 4, 500 year old boat before it degrades.
Archeologists from the Egyptian and Japanese teams carefully wrap up one of the first pieces of the 4,500 year old solar boat. The boat is believed to have belonged to King Khufu, and it was meant to ferry him and the god Ra across the heavens.
A member of the Japanese delegation has been tasked with using a 'non-contact 3D digitizer' in order to digitally preserve the pieces as they are retrieved.
The Minister of State for Antiquities Ahmed Eissa removes his mask to answer questions for the media. In order to enter the excavation area, workers and members of the delegations must wear suits and face coverings.
The lead member of the Japanese delegation answers questions for Japanese and Egyptian media. The Japanese archaeologists from Waseda University have leveraged technological advances to aid the excavation process.
Japanese archaeologists from Waseda University have worked alongside Egyptian colleagues since 2007. They are in the process of removing and preserving the boat, with the end goal of displaying it for the Egyptian public.
Members of the Egyptian archeological team take a break as members of the government enter the area to inspect the excavation. All workers wear suits to prevent contamination of the site.
The Minister of State for Antiquities Ahmed Eissa discusses the excavation process with the archeological team. The wood is at risk for damage from insects and pollution.
Almost 26 years ago, the American National Geographic Society inserted a small camera through a hole in the limestone to view the boat for the first time. Unfortunately, the hole allowed insects in. Along with the pollution, the insects have devastated much of the boat's wood pieces.
Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities Ahmed Eissa talks with members of the archeological team. He helped remove the first pieces of the boat alongside members of the Japanese delegation. Eissa is a specialist in early Coptic Christian and Islamic art.
A member of the Egyptian archeological team examines a beam of wood from the 4,500 year old solar boat. Discovered in 1992, excavators have been working hard to begin the removal of pieces of the boat for transport.
The team from Waseda University will painstakingly digitize all of the pieces that are removed from the site. The aim is to construct a 3d computer model of the boat. This will allow the archaeologists to study and assemble the boat.
Minister of State for Antiquities Ahmed Eissa discusses the excavation process with the teams from Japan and Egypt. Mr Eissa was appointed to this post in May, 2013. Prior to his ministerial position, he worked with early Coptic and Islamic art and architecture.
Minister of State for Antiquities Ahmed Eissa and the Japanese archaeological delegation answer questions at a press conference set for the Khufu Solar Boat excavation in Giza, Egypt. Discovered in 1992, excavators have been working hard to begin the removal of pieces of the boat to transport the 4,500 year old wooden ship.