ARCHES Backstories: additional endangered objects and sites

Scroll down to the bottom of these Smarthistory essays to read about the threatened status of these objects and sites, as well as the preservation and restoration efforts currently underway.


One of the most precious artifacts from Sumer, the Warka Vase was looted and almost lost forever.

Warka Vase



These records tell us a great deal about the ancient world, with topics ranging from receipts to school assignments.

Cuneiform Tablets






Capitoline Brutus (detail)
Once identified as the founder of the Roman Republic, debate over this figure’s true identity rages on.

Capitoline Brutus














The Taj Mahal
This huge white-marble mausoleum is recognized the world over for its splendor, symmetry, and stunning gardens.

The Taj Mahal


Crossing Tower, Saint Trophime, Arles (Photo: SiefkinDR)
On the doorway, sinners shuffle to their doom. Beneath, hellfire burns—its brighter, now, thanks to restoration.

Saint Trophime, Arles


Temple of Portunus, Rome
This small temple is a rare surviving example from the Roman Republic. It is both innovative and traditional.

Temple of Portunus, Rome


The Great Pyramids of Giza
Rising out of the Western Desert—the only remaining monument of the Seven Wonders, the Great Pyramids.

The Great Pyramids of Giza