3,500 years old 'Gilgamesh' Tablet to return to Iraq

Relics‌‌ 11:51 AM - 2021-07-28

Photo credit: ARCA

A 3,500-years-old Gilgamesh tablet that once sat in Washington's Museum of the Bible could be returned to Iraq after a judge verified its seizure on July 27th, 2021.


The rare piece is one of the numerous ancient artifacts from Iraq and the Middle East, which describes a dream sequence from the epic in Akkadian cuneiform script. 


It confirmed that it had been brought illegally to the United States in 2003 by a dealer who purchased it in London from a well-known Jordanian trader of ancient Middle Eastern antiquities.


It was traded several times, with false letters of provenance to assure buyers, rather than a product of the secret antiquities trade.


Moreover, On Tuesday, The Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Hassan Nazim announced that Iraq will recover 17,000 antiquities from America and other countries.


"The return of Iraqi antiquities came as a result of long work efforts to recover Iraq's antiquities, not only with the United States but also in other countries in Europe and the Arab world," Nazim told Al-Iraqiya T.V network.


He claimed that this operation is described as the most magnificent recovery operation for Iraq's antiquities, as 17,000 important antiquities will be retrieved, which are part of Iraq's heritage and are of great significance.


Nazim also stated: "There are still some artifacts in the United States, and we are working to recover them. Iraq will witness a similar process soon to recover other antiquities."


On April 10th, 2003, the first looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq. Staff had vacated two days earlier, ahead of the advance of US forces on Baghdad. The museum was effectively ransacked for the next 36 hours until employees returned.


While the staff - showing enormous bravery and foresight - had removed and safely stored 8,366 artifacts before the looting, some 15,000 objects, were stolen during that 36 hours. While 7,000 items have been retrieved, more than 8,000 remain unaccounted for, including artifacts thousands of years old from some of the earliest sites in the Middle East. read more





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