U.S. Authorities Seize Rare Ancient Gilgamesh Dream Tablet Bought by Hobby Lobby

US authorities say the item was illegally imported into the US / US IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

A federal court in the US has verified that a rare ancient artefact, known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, was legally seized by authorities.

The 3,500-year-old tablet, from what is now Iraq, bears text from the Epic of Gilgamesh – one of the world’s oldest works of literature.

Officials say it was illegally imported before being purchased by the Christian-owned brand Hobby Lobby.

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The rare item was bought to be put on display at the Museum of the Bible.

The Washington DC museum, chaired and funded by the craft retailer’s evangelical president Steve Green, has been plagued by controversies involving its collection.

Officials said the tablet was purchased by a US antiquities dealer in 2003 in London, who then shipped it to the US without declaring the contents and sold it on with false documentation.

After changing hands several times, the tablet was eventually bought by Hobby Lobby from an auction house for more than $1.67m (£1.2m) in 2014.

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