Coalition forces in Iraq have caused irreparable damage to the ancient city of Babylon, the British Museum says. Sandbags have been filled with precious archaeological fragments and 2,600 year old paving stones have been crushed by tanks, a museum report claims.
"About 300,000 square metres of the surface of the site has been flattened and covered with compacted gravel and sometimes chemically treated," he said.
"This will contaminate the archaeological record of the site."
He added: "I noted about 12 trenches, one of them 170m long, which had been dug through the archaeological deposits."
Mr Curtis, who is curator of the museum's Near East department, also found evidence of fuel leaks.
The U.S. response (which would have been better had it included contact information for the consulting archaelogist so that the BBC reporter could follow up) -
But US military spokesman Lt Col Steven Boylan said the base, which has around 6,000 troops under Police command, is needed to "further defeat terrorists and insurgents".
He told BBC Newshour: "Any of the excavations or earth work that we have done in order to do our operations... was done in consultation with the Babylon museum director and an archaeologist."