A 3,600-year-old tablet that's been on display in the Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible for six years was stolen from Iraq, federal authorities now say. The Gilgamesh Tablet, which is valued at $1.67 million, was stolen and illegally imported into the U.S. in the early 2000s, according to U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. He's filed a civil complaint against the Washington D.C.-based museum, ordering it to return the tablet to Iraq as soon as possible.
"Whenever looted cultural property is found in this country, the United States government will do all it can to preserve heritage by returning such artifacts where they belong," Donoghue said in a statement.
Photo: Getty Images
Hobby Lobby, which owns the museum, purchased the artifact from an auction house in 2014, paying more than it's $1.67 million value, says Charlotte Clay, a spokeswoman for Museum of the Bible.
“The museum, before displaying the item, informed the Embassy of Iraq on Nov. 13, 2017, that it had the item in its possession but extensive research would be required to establish provenance,” she said in a statement.
The Museum is said to be cooperating with the investigation.
Check out more details on the New York Times.