US Court Orders Forfeiture Of Ancient Tablet Portraying Epic Of Gilgamesh - Justice Dept.

US Court Orders Forfeiture of Ancient Tablet Portraying Epic of Gilgamesh - Justice Dept.

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 28th July, 2021) A US court 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 Hobby Lobby for the retailer's Washington, DC Bible-themed museum, the release said.

Hobby Lobby agreed to 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.