Friday 30 August 2019

More on the Heathrow 2011 Cunies Repatriation

Jonathan Taylor @JonTaylor_from the BM expands in a twitter thread, stitched here for the record, on that repatriation yesterday of some seized cunies:
The Times
Over the next few days (because I'm working on something time-critical) I want to expand this in a few different directions. First, some background. /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. [photo] [see my post here] /They were incorrectly declared on entry to the UK (from UAE) in February 2011. Described as handmade miniature clay tiles (cf. the Hobby Lobby tablet description). Implausible valuation. /HMRC’s [HM Revenue and Customs*] Fraud Investigation Service took action. They were seized from a freight forwarder near Heathrow Airport in June 2013. An investigation is still underway. / Once the objects become legally Crown Property, the British Museum makes arrangements for return to Iraq, in cooperation with the Iraqi Embassy. At no point do such objects become part of the collection. / Iraqi Embassies work to recover looted heritage. They return it to Iraq. In Baghdad, Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs transfers objects to the Ministry of Culture, and thereby to the Iraq Museum. / According to agreed procedures, British Museum provides expertise to law enforcement authorities, produces materials to facilitate registration and cataloguing, and submits a summary article to Iraqi journal, Sumer. / Middle East department has helped return several groups of material to Iraq. Also to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Colleagues in other departments do similar work. The Circulating Artefacts project based in the Egypt and Sudan Department is very active and important
See also: Kaya Burgess, 'British Museum returns biggest ever haul of looted artefacts to Iraq'  The Times August 30 2019

*where my dad used to work PMB.

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