The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
LONDON, (CAIS) -- The Iran's Scientific Secretary of the People’s Committee for the Return of Cultural and Historical Property believes that the University of Chicago is not showing goodwill about the return of the Achaemenid tablets in their possession.
the tablets were handed over to the university, it had agreed to send the
artifacts back after several years, but the university has still not fulfilled
the agreement after 70 years,” Ali-Mohammad Tarafdari told the Persian Service
Mehr News Agency on Friday.
the university sent back a number of the tablets before the 1979 Revolution as
well as in 2004 based on an agreement on the excavation of some ancient Iranian
sites. Yet, a great number of the tablets still remain at the university,” he
spring, U.S. District Court Judge Blanche Manning ruled that a group of people
injured by a 1997 bombing in Israel could seize the 300 clay tablets loaned to
the University of Chicago and the university cannot protect Iran's ownership
rights to the artifacts.
Iranian officials’ protests against the ruling, the court was slated to re-examine
the case on December 21, but the court session was postponed to January 19, due
to the fact that Iran had not provided all the documents necessary to the court.
to Gil Stein, the director of the university’s Oriental Institute, the court
session was held on the abovementioned date, but no verdict was issued.
case may take several years to resolve due to its complexities and both sides
can appeal the court’s decision, he said on January 22.
tablets have not been seized, and the university is currently studying the
artifacts, but according to the court order, they cannot be removed from the
institute, he added.
institute holds 8000 to 10,000 intact and about 11,000 fragmented tablets, Stein
takes a long time to decipher these tablets because only 12 people in the world
can read such inscriptions, he noted.
tablets were discovered by the University of Chicago archaeologists in 1933
while they were excavating in Persepolis, the site of a major Oriental Institute
The artifacts bear Elamite cuneiform script explaining administrative details of the Achaemenid Empire from about 500 BCE. They are among a group of tens of thousands of tablets and tablet fragments that were loaned to the university’s Oriental Institute in 1937 to be studied. A group of 179 complete tablets was returned in 1948, and another group of more than 37,000 tablet fragments was returned in 1951.
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