The future of Babylon Project, a World Monuments Fund & SBAH (IRAQ state board of antiquities and heritage) project

Project information
Project partners
  • World Monuments Fund
  • SBAH (Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage).

Project description

Dr. Mahmoud Bendakir worked as a consultant for the World Monuments Fund (WMF) from 2010 to 2011, leading three missions in Babylon. These missions were dedicated to the assessment of the site’s conditions, the preparation of an emergency action plan for the safeguarding and conservation of priority sites and monuments, the development of training programs, and the implementation of structural consolidation and preventive conservation works.

The main objectives of the field missions were:

  • To study and assess the site condition by identifying and mapping all erosion processes affecting the archaeological vestiges.
  • To prepare the conservation plan for Ishtar Gate, Ishtar Temple, Nabu-Sha-Hare Temple, Ninmakh Temple, and the Inner City Wall.
  • To develop practical training workshops to introduce the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH), the Babylon Committee and the Ambassador’s Fund action teams to basic techniques of site maintenance, urgent stabilization, and preventive conservation.
  • To identify materials, equipment, and staffing needs for field training and for remedial conservation works. 
  • To implement preventive conservation measures and archaeological cleaning for Nabu-Sha-Hare Temple and Ishtar Temple. 
  • To prepare and install a crack monitoring gauge at Ishtar Gate. 
  • To propose conservation interventions and a prioritized plan for implementation.


Brief project description

Babylon represents one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Its remains date back thousands of years and were excavated by Robert Koldeway, a German architect, at the end of the nineteenth century. Famous for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Babylon is also home to the Ishtar Gate and the Lion of Babylon, a national icon. 

The main objective of this project is to develop a plan for the management and preservation of the archaeological site of Babylon. This project will be carried out by the World Monuments Fund (WMF) in partnership with the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH). This ongoing project is supported by Public Diplomacy Office grants from the US Embassy in Baghdad.