A British Museum-trained Iraqi archaeologist is leading the assessment of the historic site of Nimrud following the destruction inflicted by Islamic State militants.

The ancient Assyrian capital was liberated in November after two years under the control of the terrorist group, which bulldozed and looted the site as part of their campaign to wipe out traces of pre-Islamic cultures.

In April 2015, IS extremists released a video that showed how they had hammered, bulldozed and blown up parts of the 13th century BC city in the Tigris River valley, south of Mosul.

Soldiers who liberated the site found the Assyrian Ziggurat, nearly 3,000 years old and once one of the tallest surviving buildings of the ancient world, had been levelled. On palace walls, only small fragments of the intricate stone carvings remained and two winged-bull statues that once marked the palace entrance have been completely destroyed.

The British Museum has trained Iraqi archaeologists as part of a scheme funded with a £2.9 million grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and another trainee will work at Khorsabad, which was also targeted by IS.

The museum's director, Hartwig Fischer, said: "We are incredibly grateful to DCMS for their invaluable support on this important programme.

"This training builds on the British Museum's collaborations with colleagues in the region and a trainee going on to lead the first archaeological assessment of modern damage at the Assyrian city of Nimrud shows the real difference this scheme is already making in Iraq."

Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch said: "The world has been rightly shocked by the appalling destruction of ancient areas and artefacts in war-torn countries in recent years. We must protect these treasured sites, and I am proud that archaeologists, trained in Britain, will play important roles to counter the threat posed to Iraq's irreplaceable cultural assets.

"We are completely committed to helping preserve precious relics for future generations, backed by the Government's £30 million cultural protection fund.

"As we continue to build a more global Britain, we will enshrine in law measures to protect not only our own cultural heritage, but also the world's from the devastating effects of war."

The announcement of the work being done in Nimrud came as MPs were expected to pass the new Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill, which will create new protections for cultural objects in war zones, making it an offence to damage or deal in them.