Gilgamesh Dream Tablet Headed To Iraq After Purchasing Hobby Lobby


A rare and ancient tablet containing one of the oldest literary works in the world will finally be returned to Iraq.

In 2014, Hobby Lobby purchased the Gilgamesh Dream tablet for over $ 1.6 million. In July, the US Department of Justice said he should be in Iraq and not belong to the US Arts and Crafts Store.

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

The artifact, known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, originates in present-day Iraq and features Gilgamesh’s Sumerian poem. The poem is one of the oldest literary works in the world.

The official tablet presentation ceremony is scheduled for Thursday at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC

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Hobby Lobby planned to display the tablet in its Bible Museum, a museum founded by the owners of the craft chain, Steve and Jackie Green.

What the auction house did not admit was that the dealer who sold the artifact, the Jordanian Antiquities Association, had the tablet shipped to the United States in 2003 without declaring the contents as required. . They also falsely claimed to have discovered it in a box of miscellaneous fragments in 1981, the statement said.

Before purchasing the tablet, Hobby Lobby and the museum interviewed the auction house about the history of the tablet. The Justice Department confirmed that the auction house withheld information and lied.

Now the tablet will be handed over to Iraq for the first time in years.

“[The return of the tablet] is a significant victory in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural objects “, declared Unesco.

Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda

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