Jordan returns stolen antiquities to Iraq

Iraq's antiquities minister said 15,000 items had been stolen during the wholesale looting of the national museum in 2003, of which 5,000 to 6,000 items had been returned.

Jordan returns stolen antiquities to Iraq

Iraq took delivery on Sunday of more than 2,000 ancient artefacts seized by Jordanian border officials after being looted from archaeological sites and Baghdad's national museum during the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

At a ceremony, Jordan's tourism minister Maha al-Khatib, who presented the pieces to Iraq's antiquities minister Mohammed al-Uraibi, said the handover showed the effective measures to prevent its borders being used as a conduit for smugglers.

Amira Iidan, head of Iraq's antiquities and heritage office, said the archaeological items recovered were rich in human and cultural value and belonged to periods from 7,000 to 200 BC.

The most prized was an ivory relief stolen from the national museum that dates to the first millennium and came from the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrod.

Uraibi told reporters that improved security conditions in Iraq, referred to as the cradle of civilisation, would allow authorities to better protect the country's heritage.

Uraibi said 15,000 items had been stolen during the wholesale looting of the national museum in 2003, of which 5,000 to 6,000 items had been returned.

Many of the artefacts were stolen from the national museum in Baghdad, but thousands more from 10,000 poorly guarded archaeological sites scattered around Iraq.

Iraq is now trying to reclaim the artefacts, a number of which have turned up at art auctions around the globe.

Reuters

Last Mod: 22 Haziran 2008, 16:39
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