Washington: 3500-year-old Gilgamesh tablet, which is believed to have been stolen in 1991 from an Iraqi museum during the first gulf war, was returned to the country on Thursday.
Seized by the US law enforcement agents from the company Hobby Lobby in September 2019, the ancient tablet was returned to Iraq by the US during a ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
The tablet illegally imported into the United States was returned to Iraq and handed over to the Iraqi Cultural Minister Hassan Nazim in a ceremony in Washington.
“To me, it means restituting self-esteem and the confidence in Iraqi society,” he said.
The rare cuneiform tablet bearing a portion of the epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian epic poem is considered one the world’s oldest works of literature and is known as the ‘Gilgamesh Dream Tablet’. It tells the tale of a powerful Mesopotamian king on a quest for immortality.
The tablet on display at the Museum of the Bible, Oklahoma, was seized after the seller of the tablet, an international auction house (the Auction House), failed to submit details of its origin despite inquiries from the Museum and buyer, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.