Germany returns seized object to Iraq

© Yu Zhang/ICOM

Germany returned to the Republic of Iraq a Sumerian clay cuneiform tablet on 14 January 2016. It dates from 2049 B.C. and records the distribution of flour to the crew of a ship.

The tablet was offered in an online auction, in violation of the ban on trade with Iraqi cultural property in the EU, and seized by a criminal police office in the State of Schleswig-Holstein. The vendor voluntarily gave up any property claim.

On the occasion of presenting the German version of the revised ICOM Emergency Red List for Iraqi Cultural Objects at Risk, the tablet was handed over to the Ambassador of Iraq, Hussain M. F. Alkhateeb, by Michael Reiffenstuel, Director for Cultural Relations Policy at the German Federal Foreign Office, together with Professor Monika Grütters, German State Minister and Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media, and Professor Hermann Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.In their opening statements they unanimously committed themselves to fight the illicit trade in cultural goods.

  • Translation and publication of the German ICOM Red List were funded by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.
Back to top