The major archeological excavations occurred during the 19th century, and revealed remarkable bas-reliefs, ivories, and sculptures, among which more than half a dozen pairs of colossal guardian figures guarding palace entrances called Lamassu. These statues consist of a male human head, the body of a lion or bull, and wings. The British Museum and the National Museum of Iraq display many of excavated artifacts. Artifacts retrieved in Nimrud had a major role in the Biblical history studies and the scholarly history of the alphabet.
Nimrud’s monuments face decay from exposure to the harsh Iraqi climate, but its newest and greatest threat comes from Extremists violence. In mid-2014, in fact, ISIL occupied Nimrud, and on February 2015, militants bulldozed the archaeological site. A video circulated on social media channels showing ISIL militants hammering, bulldozing and ultimately using explosives to damage parts of Nimrud. The Director-General of UNESCO denounced the destruction of Nimrud as a “war crime” and stated that militants were “clearly determined to wipe out all traces of the history of Iraq’s people.”