Iraq has begun adopting new technology to protect "hundreds of thousands of invaluable artifacts", funded by the British Council, by using an approach that allows tracking of discovered loot to the site from which it was stolen, according to Agence France-Presse on Thursday.
The agency added that approximately 273,000 artifacts in Iraqi museums were covered with transparent liquid, which keeps the fingerprints of those who deal with these pieces, but without anyone being able to see them without using special technology.
The project will allow the traces to be traced and proven stolen and to identify their dealers, which will create a "strong deterrent to potential thieves and traffickers."
The innovative project, led by renowned archaeologist Professor, Roger Matthews at the University of Reading, uses a specially designed "Smart Water" forensic liquid to deal with archaeology, and the invisible compound allows the naked eye to save the fingerprints that can be seen using "black light".
Tests conducted by scientists at the University of Reading proved that forensic liquid does not cause any harm to stone, pottery, metal, or glass and can withstand extreme heat, heavy solvents, and harsh environmental conditions for decades.
"The pieces in the museum's collections that we have worked with are invaluable in relation to the immense cultural value they offer to Iraq, and this initiative will give them an effective chemical imprint, allowing them to be traced if they fall into the wrong hands," Professor Matthews told AFP.
"The article also provides law enforcement agencies with the evidence necessary to arrest and prosecute those who illegally possess artifacts," he added.
The history of Iraqi artifacts extends from the Neolithic period when the first agricultural villages in the world were established, and to the later Islamic periods in the country.
Iraq's archaeological stockpile was looted in 2003, during the ISIS occupation of Mosul between 2014 and 2017.
PUKmedia \ Agence France-Presse