In the chaos following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, looters snatched some 15,000 priceless artifacts and smuggled them out of the country. In the last few months, Jordanian authorities seized 2,466 items as they were being taken across the border.
Samples of the silver coins, necklaces, ancient Sumerian scrolls, ceramic pots and other artifacts were displayed for journalists during a brief ceremony at the Jordanian Antiquities Department in Amman.
Iraq’s acting state minister of tourism and archaeology, Mohammed Abbas al-Oreibi, told reporters the recovered antiquities will be packed and sent back to Iraq in the coming days.
Slowly, slowly, the pillaged cultural patrimony of Iraq is coming home. I wish Iraq’s archaeological sites were getting the protection they so desperately need as well, and it would be nice if the museum were fully repaired and operational, but still, repatriation of stolen antiquities is great to see.