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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Looted Artifacts Returned to Iraq

Monday, August 13, 2018

Iraq repatriated artifactLONDON, ENGLAND—According to a report in The Guardian, a collection of eight ancient artifacts seized by the London Metropolitan police from an antiquities dealer have been repatriated to Iraq, based upon an identification made by scholars at the British Museum. Cuneiform inscriptions on the 5,000-year-old ceramics named a Sumerian king, a temple, and a dedication, which indicated they had been taken from Iraq’s ancient city of Girsu. British Museum archaeologist Sebastian Rey and his Iraqi colleagues were able to find the holes in the Eninnu temple’s mudbrick walls that had held the objects, and broken pieces at the site that had been discarded by the looters. “This is a very happy outcome,” commented St. John Simpson, assistant keeper at the museum’s Middle East department, “nothing like this has happened for a very, very long time if ever.” To read in-depth about cuneiform tablets, go to “The World's Oldest Writing.”

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