A rare and ancient plaque looted from old Mesopotamia repatriated from the UK to Iraq!

A rare and ancient plaque looted from old Mesopotamia repatriated from the UK to Iraq!
  • It is a rare ancient piece and dates back to 2400BC.
  • This ancient plaque was secretly smuggled from Iraq to the United Kingdom.
  • The British Museum first came to know about its auction in 2019 and with the help of the Metropolitan police seized it.
  • The rare piece would not be returned to Iraq.

Rare and ancient plaque to be repatriated from the United Kingdom to Iraq

The United Kingdom is repatriating a rare, ancient plaque depicting a high priest or ruler back to Iraq. It belongs to 2400 BC ancient Mesopotamia which is now in modern Iraq.

The British Museum first came to know of it in 2019. It spotted its sale during the TimeLine Auctions. The latter was selling it as an antic piece and ‘western Asiatic Akkadian tablet’.

Rare and ancient plaque belonging to 2400 BC [Source: News Break]
The British Museum keeps a hawk eye on any illicit trafficking or export licensing of antiquities. It is the main advisory body of the United Kingdom on these matters.

The sale of this rare piece luckily came to the notice of the Museum people. They with the help of the Metropolitan Police captured the piece.

Regarding the rare and ancient tablet

The ancient plaque is carved out of local limestone. On it is a large seated male figure wearing a long skirt. There are also kaunakes, with a tufted pattern.

There are some burn marks on this rare piece. It is similar to those found in excavated discoveries at Girsu, one of the world’s first urban civilizations.

Sébastien Rey who is the curator of ancient Mesopotamia at the British Museum and lead archaeologist at Tello immediately alerted the police about the sale.

Girsu where archeologists discovered several tablets [Source: Wikipedia]
The Metropolitan Police took the matter seriously and reached the spot of the auction. The auction house also gave up the piece when they realized what it actually was.

It is a very rare piece and there are only 50 such from old Mesopotamia available now.

The opinion of the expert on it

Dr. St John Simpson is the senior curator at the British Museum. He said:

“We’re used to coming across tablets, pots, metalwork, seals and figurines on the art market or in seizures that have been trafficked. But it’s really exceptional to see something of this quality.”

The map of Sumer [Source: Wikipedia]
He added:

‘There are only about 50 examples of these known from ancient Mesopotamia. So that immediately places it on the high-rarity scale. We can be fairly sure that this object comes from the Sumerian heartland. That is the area that got very badly looted between the 1990s and 2003,”

John strongly believes that the wall plaque is from the Early Dynastic III period. Someone looted it probably from this Sumerian heartland. This place is now in modern-day Iraq. The heartland of Sumer was between the two rivers of Euphrates and Tigris. The Greeks later called this same place Mesopotamia.

Also, read more on Music and the entertainment industry: Its various benefits explained!