Statues Devastated in World War II Go on Show at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin

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BERLIN (AP).- The ancient gods and fantastical creatures going on show in Berlin this week have made an unlikely comeback from near-destruction. Unearthed in present-day Syria a century ago, the 3,000-year-old basalt statues and stone reliefs in the exhibition, “The Tell Halaf Adventure,” shattered into thousands of pieces when their Berlin home was destroyed by bombing in 1943. The rubble was rescued, then slumbered in the vaults of the capital’s Pergamon Museum, then in East Berlin, for decades before a painstaking restoration project started in 2001. Over the past decade, restorers sifted through around 27,000 fragments of rubble and gradually reassembled most of them. About 40 resurrected figures — including a pair of lions that once bared their teeth at the entrance of a palace at Tell Halaf in northeastern Syria, a sphinx and a long-tressed female figure from a monumental grave — go on show to the public at the Pergamon Museum on Friday. “No