Thursday 29 August 2019

More Cunies Repatriated, Mystery of Source of Supply Endures

Remember ten years ago how the US dealers' lobby (Tompa, Sayles, Welsh the rest of these has-been clowns) were solemnly assuring us that the items looted in Iraq during the US-led invasion and occupation were not reaching the western market and nastily attacking those who said otherwise? Well, it seems that we are becoming aware of more and more of them that did, simply illustrating how much those self-proclaimed "experts" (I use the term loosely) actually knew. Here's another batch:
Jonathan Taylor @JonTaylor_BM · 12 godz.
Today we were able to return a seized consignment of 156 cuneiform tablets to Iraq. They come from some of the most badly looted sites : Umma, Larsa and Irisagrig. There must be similar consignments elsewhere in the world.
In the context of the latter remark, Chasing Aphrodite reminds us of this case from six years back: 'The Rosen Connection: Cornell Will Return 10,000 Cuneiform Tablets to Iraq' (Chasing Aphrodites  November 3, 2013)
The tablets were donated and lent to Cornell by New York attorney Jonathan Rosen, one of the world’s leading collectors of Near Eastern antiquities. [...] The source and ownership history of the Cornell tablets is unclear, as is the cause for their return. Neither Rosen nor the university will say where they were obtained, what their ownership history is or why they are being returned.[...]  Cornell has been criticized for accepting the Rosen Collection by scholars who suspect the tablets were looted from Iraq in the years after the 1991 Gulf War. Federal investigators suspected the same thing, records show.
Among the tablets is the private archive of a 21st century BC Sumerian princess in the city of Garsana
The source of the Garsana tablets was the subject of a 2001 investigation by the Department of Homeland Security[...] The 1,679 tablets were valued at less than $50,000 when they were imported, but the donor received a $900,000 tax deduction when they were given to Cornell in 2000, the records said. Ultimately, there were no findings of wrongdoing because investigators could not determine precisely when or where the objects were found, the records show. Harold Grunfeld, attorney for Jonathan Rosen, said all of the tablets “were legally acquired” and that the federal investigation found “no evidence of wrongdoing.”  
There seems to be a pattern emerging here, but some elements are still obscured by the failure of the media to give information about the people supplying these items to their last possessors.

The repatriates that were stored in the British Museum had been seized at the airport as long ago as 2011 where they were being shipped fallaciously labelled as 'miniature handmade tiles' ('British Museum returns biggest ever haul of looted artefacts to Iraq', Times August 30 2019)

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