A 4,000-year-old Cuneiform Tablet for Sale on EBay

The International Herald Tribune is reporting that a 4,000-year-old clay tablet that was smuggled out of Iraq illegally was offered for sale on eBay for $360. The tablet was dated to around 2000 B.C.

The tablet was written in the wedge-shaped cuneiform script. “Cuneiform tablets were used throughout the Middle East and ancient Persia during the last three millennia B.C. to record everything from great deeds of leaders to routine correspondence and bookkeeping.”

A German archaeologist spotted the tablet and recognized its wedge-shaped cuneiform script and alerted German authorities who then alerted Swiss authorities. The auction was stopped a few minutes before the tablet was sold.

When the museum in Baghdad was looted after the war, many ancient artifacts were smuggled out of Iraq. We just hope that some day in the near future these precious treasures of the past will be recovered and returned to its original home.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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