U.S. Returns 1,000 Historical Artifacts Stolen From Iraq

From Middle East Online:

US officials have returned more than 1,000 archaeological and historical items stolen from Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion, Iraq’s ambassador here said Thursday.

Six pieces ranging from an ancient Sumerian stone tablet to an AK-47 rifle bearing Saddam’s image were handed over to Iraq at an embassy ceremony on Thursday.

“As Iraqis, we remain steadfast in our effort to return each and every one of these cultural treasures to their rightful home,” Ambassador Samir Sumaida’ie said at the ceremony.

Baghdad’s envoy said that the Iraqi National Museum lost some 15,000 items due to looting after the collapse of law and order due to the US-led invasion. Half of the items have since been found and returned “due to the diligence of our allies,” Sumaida’ie said.

Items returned included an Iraqi coin from circa 250 AD, during the Roman occupation, abandoned at a Houston museum by a man who said he was a US contractor in Iraq.

They also included neo-Assyrian gold ear rings from the 8th century BC that were stolen from the Baghdad Museum and were about to be auctioned by Christie’s in New York, and a Babylonian clay foundation cone with an inscription from 2100 BC, intercepted at a Chicago airport…

[continues at Middle East Online]