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U.S. Returns Looted Artifacts to Iraq

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

112379526 untitled2BAGHDAD, IRAQ—Reuters reports that the United States is returning more than 17,000 ancient artifacts looted and smuggled out of Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion, inlcuding the so-called Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, a 3,500-year-old cuneiform tablet bearing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Tens of thousands of antiquities are thought to have disappeared from Iraq in the years following the invasion, and many more were smuggled or destroyed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, which held roughly a third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017. U.S. authorities seized the tablet, which is believed to be one of the world's oldest religious texts, in 2019 from the Hobby Lobby–funded Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., after a court found that the artifact had been brought illegally to the United States and auctioned with counterfeit provenance records. To read more about Greek and Akkadian cuneiform writing, go to "Last Tablets." 

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