Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stolen Iraqi treasure sold at auction in Munich

Two stolen ancient Sumerian artefacts exhibited in a Munich art auction house and on the internet were sold on Tuesday, according to a Deutsche Presse-Agentur release. Although the legality of the auction was challenged by Iraqi authorities, German customs officials said the Munich sale had already taken place and could not be stopped. One item sold was a 227-millimetre-tall, headless limestone statue of a Sumerian man that dates back to 2500 BC. The other was an 117mm-long nail made of clay which bears Sumerian inscriptions dating back to King Shulagi of the Ur dynasty in 2097 - 2095 BC.

There is a "red list" posted here of artifacts that may be finding their way onto the antiquities market from Iraq, either stolen out of the Iraqi National Museum or looted from unprotected archaeological sites. There is also a partial list of artifacts stolen from the Iraqi National Museum on the webpage of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

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