Ancient tablet acquired by Hobby Lobby going back to Iraq

The Associated Press - September 25, 2021 8:48 am

This undated image provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s office of public affairs shows a 3,500-year-old artifact, known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet. The tablet contains a portion of the Epic of Gilgamesh, considered one of the earliest surviving works of notable literature. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was looted from an Iraqi museum 30 years ago. Now, a 3,500-year-old clay tablet discovered in the ruins of the library of an ancient Middle Eastern king is finally headed back to Iraq.

The relic is known as the Gilgamesh Dream tablet. Officials believe it was illegally imported into the United States in 2003, then sold to Hobby Lobby and eventually put on display in its Museum of the Bible in Washington. Federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations seized the tablet from the museum in September 2019.

The artifact was repatriated Thursday at a ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

 

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