[ReviewAZON asin=”1425363644″ display=”inlinepost”]Germany handed back to Iraq 22 stolen ancient artefacts thought to date back to the Sumerian civilization, which had been recovered from a house near Frankfurt, officials said Thursday.
The Iraqi Ambassador to Germany, Alaa al-Hashimi, received the items, which included inscribed stone tablets, pottery writing tablets, seals and other artefacts, in Berlin.
The Sumerian civilization, centred around what is now southern Iraq, arose in around 6000 BC and was supplanted by the rise of the Babylonians.
“The handover of these Iraqi cultural assets is of inestimable value for Iraq,” the ambassador said.
The items, which officials said had likely been plundered by soldiers in Iraq during the recent war there and had then been passed on to an unknown source in Germany.
They were recovered in 2007 along with several hundred other archaeological artefacts from other countries, when a house near Frankfurt was raided on suspicion of containing stolen goods.
The German official responsible for the handover, Hessen state Science Minister Ava Kuehne-Hoermann, said that “we are giving these valuable assets, witnesses of the high civilization in Mesopotamia, back to the land they came from and from which they were unjustly removed.”
Archaeologists have been able to place the items precisely, saying that they came from the Sumerian cities of Girsu, Isin, Larsa and Umma.
Six of the items were pottery cones that were used on buildings to display the name of the owner, the description of the building, and the name of the god to which the inhabitants of the town paid homage.