Sat Jul 31st, 2021 at 12:51:35 PM EST
Iraq: 17,000 ancient looted artifacts returned | DW News |
A stone inscription bearing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh and thousands of other priceless, ancient objects were stolen following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
Ancient Gilgamesh tablet seized from Christian Bible Museum by US authorities | The Guardian |
A rare and ancient tablet showing part of the epic of Gilgamesh, which had been acquired by Christian arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby for display in its museum of biblical artefacts, has been seized by the US government.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) alleges that the 3,600-year-old "Gilgamesh Dream Tablet", which originated in a region that is now part of Iraq, was acquired in 2003 by an American antiquities dealer, "encrusted with dirt and unreadable", from the family member of a London coin dealer. Once it had arrived in the US, and been cleaned, experts realised that it showed a portion of the Gilgamesh epic, one of the world's oldest works of literature, in the Akkadian language.
The DoJ alleges that the dealer then sold the tablet with a "false provenance letter", saying that it had been inside a box of ancient bronze fragments purchased in a 1981 auction. It was then sold several times before Hobby Lobby bought it from a London auction house in 2014, and put it on display in the Museum of the Bible. The museum was conceived by Evangelical Christian Steve Green, the billionaire president of Hobby Lobby.
Rare Cuneiform Tablet Bearing Portion of Epic of Gilgamesh Forfeited to United States | DOJ Press Release |
Amid Scrutiny, the Museum of the Bible's Founder Will Return a Staggering 11,500 Artifacts of Dubious Origin to the Middle East