(STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE) -- STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Federal authorities on Tuesday announced the forfeiture of a 3,500-year-old clay tablet containing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian poem considered one of the oldest pieces of literature, to the United States after it was allegedly smuggled into the country and purchased by a prominent craft store.
The rare artifact, known as the “Gilgamesh Dream Tablet,” originated in what is now modern day Iraq and entered the U.S. against federal law in 2003 and 2014, authorities said.
A false provenance letter was used to sell the six-by-five inch tablet written in the Akkadian language before it was purchased by Oklahoma arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby in 2014, according to authorities. The tablet is considered Iraqi government property and should be returned, court documents said.
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