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The US to return 3500-yr-old ‘Gilgamesh Dream Tablet’ to Iraq

The US to return 3500-yr-old 'Gilgamesh Dream Tablet' to Iraq

The 3,500-year-old Gilgamesh Dream Tablet is one of the oldest surviving literary works. The tablet is made up of clay and is priceless. It contains some Sumerian verses from the Epic of Gilgamesh. It one of the earliest religious books in existence, which can be seen in this illustration. UNESCO on Monday announced the ancient tablet will be given back this week to Iraq. 

In 1991, the ancient tablet was apparently looted from a museum in Iraq. Then it fraudulently, entered the United States in 2007. A Christian arts and crafts company, Hobby Lobby, bought it in 2014 for its museum of biblical artifacts. Later on, the US Department of Justice confiscated the tablet two years later. On September 23, a formal handover ceremony will take place at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. 

Hobby Lobby’s president, in 2017, agreed to pay a fine of $3m

Hobby Lobby’s president, in 2017, agreed to pay a fine of $3m

This exceptional restitution is a major victory over those who mutilate heritage and then traffic it to finance violence and terrorism,” said Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay. “By returning these illegally acquired objects, the authorities here in the United States and Iraq are allowing the Iraqi people to reconnect with a page in their history.”

Hobby Lobby’s president, in 2017, agreed to pay a fine of $3m. Not just this, he agreed to forfeit tens of thousands of Iraqi artifacts it had acquired through smuggling. Green says at that time the company “should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled”.

It is still an ongoing issue, the ancient items are illegally excavated. Artifacts were stolen and then shipped out of the region by smugglers and members of the so-called Islamic State (IS). They use it to their advantage of creating unrest and exploiting the people.