sumerian tablet
450 Stolen Sumerian tablets are being repatriated to Iraq with a ceremony in Washington D.C. on May 2. Many of the cuneiform texts come from a mysterious city called Irisagrig - a land from which looted artifacts are becoming increasingly common in the antiquities market.

The majority of the Sumerian tablets are inscribed with legal and administrative documents showing contracts or inventories, however a few are incantations. Thus, the artifacts provide a certain mix of public and private details. Live Science reports most of the tablets were created between 2100 BC and 1600 BC.

cuneiform tablet sumerian
© U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York
A cuneiform tablet seized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from Hobby Lobby.
The texts' primarily have their origins in Irisagrig, "a Sumerian city never excavated before and whose location remains unknown," according to Manuel Molina, a research professor with the Spanish National Research Council. Molina suggests that Irisagrig is located somewhere near the Tigris.

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