US Court Orders Forfeiture of Ancient Tablet Portraying Epic of Gilgamesh
22:27 GMT 27.07.2021 (Updated: 22:31 GMT 27.07.2021)
© Facebook/Museum of the BibleThe Gilgamesh Epic is a term used for an extended narrative from the first millennium, but which is composed from older texts that exist in the Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite, and Hurrian languages. It bears some connections with biblical texts, and tells, among other things, the story of a great flood.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A US court has ordered the permanent forfeiture of a cuneiform tablet, following sales to multiple buyers beginning in 2003, that ended with the artifact’s seizure from a US museum in 2019, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.
“Known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, it originated in the area of modern-day Iraq and entered the United States contrary to federal law. An international auction house later sold the tablet to Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., a prominent arts-and-crafts retailer based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for display at the Museum of the Bible,” the department said in a press release.
The tablet was originally purchased by a US antiquities dealer in 2003 from the family member of a London coin dealer. Multiple sales followed, ending with the 2014 purchase by the conservative Hobby Lobby's board of directors for a Washington DC Bible-themed museum, the release said.
Hobby Lobby has acknowledged that they must forfeit the tablet, and law enforcement agents took possession in 2019, the release added.
The tablet, measuring 6 inches by 5 inches, is written in the Akkadian language. It includes a portion of the epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian poem considered one of the world’s oldest works of literature, according to the release.