British museum claimed that Afghan and Iraqi ancient artifacts which were seized by Britain will be returning to their countries after appraisal.
The London Museum claimed to be working with law enforcement agencies like the UK Border Force and the capital’s Metropolitan Police in returning smuggled items which occurred during periods of conflicts between the nations. The director, Hartwig Fischer deemed it “essential more than ever”.
“The British Museum has worked extensively with law enforcement agencies to identify and return items looted from Iraq and Afghanistan during recent conflicts and these are just wonderful examples,”.
The “examples” Fischer was talking about was in reference to the 154 Mesopotamian texts written on clay in cuneiform script. These Iranian tablets were seized upon entry during the year 2011 and will be returned to the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, which is part of the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage of Iraq.
The item illegally exported from Afghanistan to Britain in the year 2002 were the Gandharan sculptures.
These Gandharan sculptures were discovered due to the badly made crates sent from Peshawar. They caught the attention of the Heathrow authorities and were made to open to reveal the sculptures inside.
Fischer said that “The crates contained a magnificent bodhisattva torso and a group of 9 heads sculpted in clay and then painted,”
Fischer also said that they are seeking permission from the National Museum of Afghanistan for one final exhibition before their return.
Similarly, the museum is also collaborating with various antiquities authorities, collectors, dealers and law enforcement agencies to return trafficked artifacts from Egypt and Sudan.
Around 700 artifacts have been identified to be looted from the two countries. Fischer claims that “All of these projects and much more that the British Museum is doing across the world is of highest importance for us,”.
Despite the museum’s efforts, it has faced criticism especially in regard to its failure to return some of the items back to their home country including the infamous Parthenon Marbles, which has been claimed by Greece to be belonging to them.