Tag Archives: Iraq

First royal cemetery

In 1922, the British archaeologist Leonard Woolley (later knighted as Sir Leonard Woolley) excavated what is believed to be the first royal cemetery, at Ur in ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). There, Woolley and his team uncovered some 1,800 graves, which dated back as far as 2600 BC. Of these graves, 16 were actually elaborate tombs containing several rooms with spectacular artifacts. Quite notably, the tombs also included the remains of household servants and some prominent members of the ancient court.

First use of a graphite bomb

The earliest use of a graphite bomb (G-bomb) in battle occurred in 1991 when Allied forces used it to disable 85% of Iraq’s power supplies during the Gulf War. These bombs (also known as ‘black out bombs’) are also the first of many ‘soft’ bombs since they are non-lethal and seek to disadvantage the enemy by disabling power supplies. They work by exploding a cloud of thousands of ultra-fine carbon-fibre wires over electrical installations, short-circuiting the electrical systems. A later version of the G-bomb was Continue reading →

First use of biological warfare

The earliest documented incident of a biological agent being used in warfare is in the 6th century BC. The Assyrians, who lived in present-day Iraq, used rye ergot to poison enemy wells. The resulting effects were delusional and paranoid behaviour and even death amongst their attackers. Ergot poisoning causes delusions, paranoia, seizures, twitching and cardiovascular problems that can lead to death. Ergot is a fungus blight that causes ergot poisoning in crops.

Longest time without a government as a result of conflict

The Iraq conflict began on 20 March 2003 and, although major combat operations ended on 2 May 2003, it was not formally ended until President Obama declared it over in speech on 31 August 2010. Forming a new Iraqi government then proved extremely difficult and, on 1 October 2010, Iraq broke the record for the longest period for a country without a government. It had held parliamentary elections on 7 March 2010 and did not form a government until 21 December 2010 after a total Continue reading →

Most valuable carpet

The Spring Carpet of Khusraw made for the audience hall of the Sassanian palace at Ctesiphon, Iraq. It consisted of about 650 m² (7,000 ft²) of silk and gold thread encrusted with emeralds. The carpet was cut up as booty by looters in AD635 and, from the known realization value of the pieces, must have had an original value of some £100 million ($195 million).