Iraq’s Looted Treasures in a Revolving Door

07 Sep 2010 8:06 PM | Anonymous

Iraq’s Looted Treasures in a Revolving Door
Published: September 7, 2010, NY Times

–Iraq announced on Tuesday the return of hundreds of looted antiquities that had ended up in the United States, even as a senior official disclosed that 632 pieces repatriated last year and turned over to the office of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki were now unaccounted for.

The latest trove reflects not only the history dating to the world’s oldest civilizations but also a more recent and tortured history of war, looting and international smuggling that began under Saddam Hussein, accelerated after the American occupation and continues at archaeological sites to this day.

The returned items include a 4,400-year-old statue of King Entemena of Lagash looted from the National Museum here after the American invasion in 2003; an even older pair of gold earrings from Nimrud stolen in the 1990’s and seized before being auctioned at Christie’s in New York last December; and 362 cuneiform clay tablets that had been smuggled out of Iraq before the invasion, then seized by American authorities and stored in the World Trade Center when it was destroyed in 2001.

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