Cornell to return 10,000 ancient tablets to Iraq

tags: Iraq, Cornell




Cornell University is preparing to forfeit to Iraq a vast collection of ancient cuneiform tablets in what is expected to be one of the largest returns of antiquities by an American university.

The 10,000 inscribed clay blocks date from the 4th millenium BC and offer scholars an unmatched record of daily life in ancient Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization.

New York antiquities collector Jonathan Rosen and his family began donating and lending the tablets to Cornell in 2000. Many scholars have objected to the arrangement, suspecting the tablets were looted in Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, which unleashed a wave of plundering in the archaeologically rich expanse of southern Iraq between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Among the tablets is the private archive of a 21st century BC Sumerian princess in the city of Garsana that has made scholars rethink the role of women in the ancient kingdom of Ur. The administrative records show Simat-Ishtaran ruled the estate after her husband died....



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