Saving Iraq's history from the hands of online looters

A 3,500 year-old clay tablet that was looted from an Iraqi museum 30 years ago, was handed back to Iraq last week. The Gilgamesh Dream Tablet was stolen during the 1991 Gulf War but US authorities seized the priceless artefact in 2019, after it had been purchased by a US company in 2014. 

On August 1st 2005, an online auction ended and had for sale a Sumerian stone statue, which dated back to 2450 BC. Both statue and seller were located in the USA and it sold for $3,726.00. The seller informed customers that “rare and extraordinary” items from Iraq have sold for as much as $12,000 in online auctions. 

Other artefacts that were retrieved from online auctions in 2005, included an engraved map of Babylon and Palestine (1762), a Babylonian clay tablet (1800 BC), a Babylonian plaque (1800 BC), Sumerian coins dating back to 3000 BC, a Babylonian turquoise gem pendant (3000 BC) and a Babylonian cuneiform tablet from around 2100-2000 BC. 

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell said in 2003, that anyone who was either in possession of, or dealing in stolen artefacts: will "be prosecuted under Iraqi law and under the United States National Stolen Property Act.”

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