Iraq recovers ‘second largest’ batch of artifacts from UK, says president
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi President Abdul-Latif Rashid on Tuesday announced the recovery of 6,000 artifacts, dating back to several phases of Iraqi civilizations. The United Kingdom returned the artifacts back to Iraq after concluding a research project.
The antiquities were “borrowed” by the UK in the 1920s for research and studies purposes, which ended up taking a century.
In a press conference at the Baghdad International Airport, the Iraqi President thanked the British Museum for preserving the artifacts before the diplomatic community and the country’s officials.
“It is the second largest recovery of artifacts in Iraq’s history,” the president said, adding that the country continues to preserve its heritage and cultural treasure.
Previously, in 2021, Iraq announced that a 3,500-year-old clay tablet, with an engraving of the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, had been returned to Iraq from the United States. The artifact had been looted and traded throughout history. Decades of bloody conflicts and looting have severely impacted Iraq’s cultural heritage, with valuable historical artifacts often illegally traded.
In total, nearly 18,000 pieces of artifacts have been returned to Iraq from the UK, the US, and a number of European countries, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2021.