Secrets of the looted Iraqi treasures that could reveal a lost city 

When Eckart Frahm was led into a New York customs warehouse to examine thousands of looted Iraqi artifacts he felt a tingle of anticipation.

“I had no idea what they would be,” he said.

The items had been smuggled into the US by an American chain of hobby shops with misleading labels claiming they were “ceramic tiles” or “samples”.

In fact, the professor of Assyriology from Yale University discovered they were tablets and cylindrical seals dating back 4000 years and revealing the secrets of a lost Mesopotamian city.

The tablets from Irisagrig began their journey home last week, when they were signed over to Iraqi officials. But their repatriation has set off an angry debate among academics about…

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