Iraq's Ancient Treasures Lost and Found





Nobody at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad knows exactly how the three stolen Sumerian tablets got all the way to Lima, Peru. All authorities in Lima told Iraqi museum officials was that the three tablets, more than 2,000 years old and each small enough to hold in the palm of one's hand, were found roughly a year ago in the luggage of an American traveling in the country and seized at the airport."I'm not involved in the other details," says Dr. Amira Edan, who heads of the museum's efforts to reclaim lost artifacts and flew to Peru to retrieve the tablets."What was important for me was to take the items back."

Edan finally brought the tablets from Peru to the Baghdad museum about three weeks ago, adding them to more than 4,000 Iraqi artifacts the museum has recovered since the chaos that followed the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Peru appears to be the farthest that purloined Iraqi treasures have traveled. Most other recovered items have come from neighboring countries. More than 2,500 artifacts have returned to Iraq from Jordan, along with more than 760 from Syria. Many stolen items have made it to further west. Thirteen pieces were found in Italy; and at least another dozen have surfaced in the United States, including a large statue of a Sumerian king..."




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