The British Museum said Friday it has handed over to Iraq a set of 156 cuneiform tablets likely looted during the american invasion of the country. Tablets, mesopotamian, dating from 2100 to 1800 BC, have been seized by uk customs with a cargo company at Heathrow airport in 2011, said the museum in a press release.

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The protection of the heritage of iraq in the heart of the concerns

This is mostly a documentation of an economic nature but also of letters, of laws and and school a mathematical document. Many of them originate from the site of Irisagrig, located in a region thoroughly pillaged during the war. Iraq claims to be the birthplace of writing – the first cuneiform tablets were engraved there are about 5500 years old.

They were handed to the ambassador Saleh Altamimi, and will be sent to the national Museum of iraq in Baghdad. “The protection of the heritage of iraq is the responsibility of the international community and we hope that it will continue for generations to come,” said the ambassador in a press release. “The British Museum has a lot of experience with uk customs, Scotland Yard and other government agencies to identify and return any objects looted in Iraq and Afghanistan during recent conflicts”, had explained in July Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum.

150 cuneiform tablets returned. -/AFP

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The museum has also developed a collaborative project with the collectors, of the bodies responsible for antiquities, and art vendors to identify and return looted objects in Egypt and the Sudan. In the past year, nearly 700 objects from these two countries have been identified through this program.

Frequented by more than 6 million visitors in 2018-2019, the British Museum has priceless pieces, of which some have been requested for years by their country of origin as the Rosetta stone of Egypt or the friezes of the Parthenon in Greece.