ALBANY, N.Y. — In a ruling rejecting any claims to the “spoils of war,” New York’s highest court concluded Thursday that an ancient gold tablet must be returned to the German museum that lost it in World War II.
The Court of Appeals unanimously agreed that Riven Flamenbaum’s estate is not entitled to the 3,000-year-old Assyrian relic, a 9.5-gram (.34-ounce) tablet smaller than a credit card.
“We decline to adopt any doctrine that would establish good title based upon the looting and removal of cultural objects during wartime by a conquering military force,” the court said in a memorandum. Read more.
A dispute over an ancient gold tablet pitting a Holocaust survivor’s heirs against the German museum that lost the Assyrian relic in World War II will be argued Tuesday in New York’s highest court.
The 9.5-gram (.34-ounce) tablet, about the size of a credit card, was excavated a century ago by German archaeologists from the Ishtar Temple in what is now northern Iraq. It went on display in Berlin in 1934, was put in storage as the war began and later disappeared.
Riven Flamenbaum, who died in 2003, brought it to the U.S. after surviving the Auschwitz concentration camp and settling on Long Island. Family lore says he had traded two packs of cigarettes to a Russian soldier for the tablet after he was rescued from Auschwitz. Read more.
MONTREAL — A hefty reward is being offered for the return of two small archaeological pieces stolen from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
The exact amount of the reward was not specified by the AXA Art insurance company but it was described as substantial.
An additional $10,000 is being offered to anyone who can identify a man caught on the museum’s closed-circuit security cameras.
Video shown to police and insurance investigators clearly shows the robber carrying out the theft in the museum gallery where the pieces were on display.
The pieces — an Assyrian bas-relief and a marble head dating from the Roman Empire — are together valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Read more.
Two stone slabs dating back to the Assyrian period around 650 BC have been returned to Iraq, 17 years after they were stolen, Iraqi officials said early today (NZ time).
The slabs bear the images of Assyrian kings waving to their subjects, officials said. Together they weigh as much as a small family car.
The slabs were found in the ruins of Assyrian palaces in northern Nineveh province but disappeared in 1994 along with some 15,000 relics looted during dictator Saddam Hussein’s reign and the chaos after the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted him.
Many of the artefacts were stolen from Baghdad’s National Museum but thousands of other pieces were taken from some 10,000 poorly guarded archaeological sites around the country. Read more.
After 90 years, the University of Chicago, Oriental Institute project of creating an Ancient Assyrian Dictionary is finally finished, according to reports by several international news sites.
Based on the reports, the Assyrian Dictionary, started in 1921, is based on words recorded on clay or stone tablets discovered in ancient ruins in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. These words were reportedly written in a language not spoken for over 2,000 years. It was believed that the translated cuneiform texts may have been written using wedged-shaped characters.
The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary was a collaboration of several team of scholars from Vienna, Paris, Copenhagen, Jerusalem, Berlin, Helsinki, Baghdad, London, US and Canada. The dictionary is similar with a an encyclopedia rather than the usual glossary type and it has 21 volumes of Akkadian, a Semitic dialect that includes Assyrian, that is 2,500 years old. The collection has about 10,000 pages and 28,000 words.
The project was considerably slow during the early generations as the researchers use manual typewriters, mimeograph machines and index cards. Scholars were able to use millions of index cards. Read more.