24TH MAY 2016

How the Ur region archaeological project Iraq formed

I wanted to share with you just how the unique Ur region in Iraq archaeological project came about.


As you may have read from my first post, Kirintec is doing something positive for Iraq’s cultural heritage, and we are delighted to be helping fund a special archaeological project in the Ur region of Iraq.


In so doing we are working with Dr Jane Moon – an honorary research fellow from the University of Manchester and her team. Dr Moon and her co-Director/husband Dr Robert Killick worked in Iraq during the 70s and 80s, before moving on to Bahrain and the Ancient Saar in the 90s.


Successful as that was, in 2000 the couple decided not to do any more archaeology unless they could go back to Iraq, which reportedly did seem unlikely at the time. It wasn’t until twelve years later, their wish was beginning to come true. In 2012 momentum gathered on the aspiring Ur Region archaeological project.


The pairing had an opportunity to accompany their former fundraising advisor on a visit to his friend Dr Ahmed Chalabi, the well-known Iraqi politician. Ahmed operated from a secure compound near to the Iraq Museum, so both Dr Moon and Dr Killick were able to re-establish contact with this challenged institution and discuss exciting new excavation opportunities.


This also provided safe passage to Nasiriyah, namely in Thi Qar province, south Iraq, where they liaised with local archaeologists and were able to choose a possible site.


As momentum gathered at a pace, they next needed to partner with a university research department. This was to ensure they had access to all the latest techniques and ideas regarding archaeology.


Predictably, finding a partner university was not a quick process.


Luckily, Manchester University wanted to get involved when they heard about the opportunity. This is how their third Director came on board – Dr Stuart Campbell, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology from Manchester University joined the team.


The duo became a trio.


With the additional expertise offered regarding geo-physics, bio-archaeology, ceramic analysis, drone-photography and X-Ray fluorescence among other things, to date has served the team very well.


At this stage of proceedings, you may now be wondering where my personal interest originates from. There are many reasons I have chosen to get involved, here are just three:


  1. At Kirintec, undeniably our products save lives. We work to counter terrorism across the globe, we are therefore familiar with the Middle East. This is an opportunity for my team to ‘give back’, make a difference and help the project preserve Iraq’s rich cultural heritage
  2. As a child I used to play an ancient board game with my family called ‘The Royal Game of Ur’. I often wondered where this far off land and ancient civilisation was; this fascination can perhaps now be played out!
  3. Someone close to me has a keen interest in historic cultural asset management, preparing their thesis on the preservation of cultural assets during times of conflict on the Balkan war.


You may argue that the stars aligned when my path crossed with Dr Moon and her team with the Ur region Iraq project.


The juxtaposition of our innovative products at Kirintec working in EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), ECM (Electronic Countermeasures) and IEDD (Improvised Explosive Device Disposal), compared to the cultural importance for Iraq’s heritage is indeed something to be shared, treasured and saved. Not just by me/my company – but I would suggest by the world.


It was in Iraq people first learned to write, live in cities and even formed complex governments. We have chosen to back this unique historical project and I invite you to share some of the findings to date in my next post, along with what is uncovered in the future.


If you would like to find out more about innovative products, please get in touch.