London : The British Museum said yesterday it is returning to Iraq a collection of 5,000-year-old looted antiquities seized from a London dealer shortly after the US-led invasion in 2003. The eight objects were confiscated by police in May that year after the dealer failed to produce proof of ownership, and were passed to the museum for analysis earlier this year.
Three of the objects carry Sumerian inscriptions which identify their origin as the Eninnu temple in the ancient city of Girsu, now known as Tello, in southern Iraq. Their identification was made easier by the fact that Tello is one of the excavation sites where the British Museum has been training Iraqi archaeologists since 2016.
“The other items are identical to objects known from excavations at Tello and most likely also originate from the same site,” the museum said in a statement. The objects are believed to have been removed at night by a small number of people over a short period of time -- the scale of the looting is more limited than elsewhere in southern Iraq.