Hobby Lobby's Illegal Antiquities Shed Light On A Lost, Looted Ancient City In Iraq

About 3,800 objects purchased by Hobby Lobby were returned to Iraq in May. Some come from an ancient Sumerian city, Irisagrig, and indicate that life there was "pretty good," an archaeologist says.
A clay tablet from the seized Hobby Lobby collection bears a cuneiform inscription referring to the disbursement of leather bags to hold water, known as water skins. The inscription is dated with the name of a month used exclusively in Irasagrig, a lost ancient city in present-day Iraq. Source:

Archaeologist Eckart Frahm didn't have much time to determine where the 4,000-year-old clay tablets had come from. Homeland Security officials had given him just 2 1/2 days in a dimly lit New York warehouse to pore over the cuneiform inscriptions etched into the fragile, ancient pieces and report back.

"They were not in great shape. They had infestations of salt in them, so it's not that I could say I had been able to read everything," says the Yale University professor. "My main goal was to provide a general assessment from when and where did these tablets actually originate."

Frahm determined the tablets at the center of a federal case against the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby arts and crafts chain were from a place few had

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