WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be sending several thousand smuggled ancient artifacts that were shipped to Hobby Lobby stores back to Iraq.
According to an ICE statement cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals, and clay bullae were smuggled into the US in violation of federal law and then shipped to Hobby Lobby stores. The packages were falsely labeled as cuneiform tablets as tile samples.
Many of the tablets are believed to have come from the ancient city of Irisagrig, the statement reads. "They are primarily from the UR III and Old Babylonian period (2100-1600 BCE) and are mostly legal and administrative document."
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and the ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to the United States will be holding a press conference Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Residence of the Iraqi Ambassador to the United States in Northwest, D.C.