The Return of the Ancient Gilgamesh Dream Tablet Stirs Conversation Online

This ancient tablet is finally being returned to Iraq.
By Savannah Moss
Photo: @Annette_mont | Twitter

A 3,500ย  year old clay tablet that was stolen from a museum in Iraq is being returned. The clay tablet is known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet and was bought for 1.67 million dollars to be displayed in the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. In 2019, it was taken by U.S authorities who said that it had been stolen and should be returned. Two years later, this return will be happening on Thursday at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. There are 17,000 stolen antiquities that the U.S has agreed to return, with some of them being returned earlier this year in July. The five by six tablet includes writings in Sumerian, the language from the ancient Mesopotamian civilization. It is believed that the writing is from a poem written almost 4,000 years ago.

Hobby Lobby’s Involvement

Many on Twitter were confused and concerned as to why they had not heard of Hobby Lobby’s involvement with the ancient tablet before this. The Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC was opened by the owners of Hobby Lobby. In 2009, Hobby Lobby President Steve Green began collecting items for the museum which eventually opened in 2o17. On the Museum of the Bible’s website, Green admits that he did not know enough to prevent him from buying stolen items. Hobby Lobby eventually agreed to pay a $3 million fine and agreed to return thousands of illegally imported clay tablets in 2o17. With this discussion of the return of the ancient tablet, along with thousands of others, many are curious as to why they were not aware of this situation prior.

Many were interested that Hobby Lobby spent so much money on artifacts, but do not invest as much money into their employees. Many questioned if Hobby Lobby knew whether or not the tablet had been stolen when they bought it, which brings up the conversation of ethics from a Christian company. Others also wondered why it took so long for the stolen artifact to be returned and how Hobby Lobby remained in business.