WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department announced it is backing projects to preserve vital Iraqi archaeological sites with the Iraqi government and the World Monuments Fund.
The State Department said it was supporting the $700,000 project, in conjunction with the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, to preserve and maintain historic sites associated with the ancient city-state of Babylon, located in the city of Hillah in Iraq's central Babil province.
The project includes developing conservation methods that meet international standards and comply with environmentally sustainable practices.
The WMF project is part of a broader initiative, the Getty Conservation Institute-World Monuments Fund joint Initiative to Conserve Iraqi Cultural Heritage.
The State Department noted that preserving Mesopotamian heritage was vital to restoring Iraqi national pride as one of the foundations of human civilization.
The project will conclude within two years.