As you can probably tell, I am haunted this week by the looting of Egypt's antiquities, and the mysteries that it raises. Something does not "feel" right about all of it, not the least of which are its disturbing parallels to the Baghdad Museum Looting. Consider this article first posted by Reuters in 2003 about the infamous theft of objects - and possibly other things - from Baghdad, that was posted on famous radio celebrity Jeff Rense's website:

Looted Baghada Museum Treasures Feared Lost

Observe that one short sentence: "The museum also held tablets of cuneiform writing that still had to be translated." In the reporting of the looting and recovery of objects, the museum's untranslated tablets were quickly forgotten as attention focused on the "sexier" story of priceless ancient objects of art. There's no want of articles on the museum looting in Baghdad, but the trouble is, little if any of it ever mentions the tablets, whether any of them were stolen, or recovered. The focus has always been on the art works. We have heard next to nothing about the theft of cuneiform tablets.

Consider the following article:

542 Antiquities Lotted in Iraq War Return Home

Note the date on that article: September 7, 2010! Note carefully also that the vast bulk of the article is concerned with the theft and return of objects of art, but that, at the very end, comes the curious mention of cuneiform tablets:

"The director of the Iraq Museum, Amira Edan, said 35,000 pieces have been returned since 2003. Dr. Edan said she was still trying to retrieve looted cuneiform tablets being held by the Spanish government, which has said it requires more proof that they belong to Iraq."

One can read US Marine Colonel Bogdanovich's book on the Baghdad Museum looting, and indeed, most of the early media reporting of the incident, and look almost in vain for any mention whatsoever of the theft of cuneiform tablets. Indeed, this article is one of the first I have encountered - doubtless there are others - in my attempts to track down the theft of tablets, and this mention occurs almost 7 years after the fact! In that amount of time, the tablets could have been cataloged and translated, so why are we not told of the contents in an article otherwise illustrating particular details about other looted objects?

For that matter, why were cuneiform tablets looted at all if the sole purpose of looting Iraq of its antiquities was financial gain? Cuneiform tablets would fetch much less money than, say, a thousands' years' old statue of Inanna. And why and how did such tablets end up in the possession of the Spanish government? And how many more tablets were looted? And where are they?

Questions such as this only highlight to my mind the suspicious nature of the whole Iraq looting incident, for the media early on seemed obsessed with the art objects, while to my mind the real story lay in the theft of the tablets and the possible knowledge they contained... and who might ultimately have been behind their theft. It is noteworthy that the art treasures seem to be eagerly returned, but the lowly cuneiform tablets - scratchings on clay - are disputed and Iraq is left to prove they were stolen in the first place before they will be returned! And this, when most people know that the Baghdad Museum had well over 100,000 such tablets, which had not been translated (and many may not have even been cataloged). The motivation that most readily suggests itself not only for their original theft, but for the reticence to return them, is to posses and monopolize the possible knowledge contained on them.

In the wake of the Baghdad Museum looting we were told it was "an inside job" and speculations reigned - even in the Middle East Quarterly - that the looting was an "inside job" perpetrated by the remnants of the Baath regime of Saddam Hussein. Attention focused on the "sexy" aspects of the story: the theft of priceless objects of art, and their return. Nothing, to this day, has been adequately recounted concerning the theft of tablets, except - oh yea, seven years after the fact - the were some tablets taken as well.

The parallel to Egypt here amazes me, for the concentration is once again on looted objects of art, and allegations of an inside job - this time by Dr. Zahi Hawass and elements of the old regime - while it was Hawass himself, as I noted two days ago, who alerted us that more than objects of art have been looked, that "inscribed blocks" of some sort were also taken. But inscribed blocks, like cuneiform tablets, are not "sexy." But if I am right, that someone, somewhere, is looking not for art, but for knowledge, then the real story in Egypt, as in Iraq, is being entirely overlooked... perhaps deliberately.


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Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. emanuela on June 26, 2012 at 1:49 am

    Last year I made friends with someone a general of the armed forces, I didn’t believe who he said he was so i did some investigations and yep he was who he said he was. He wanted to make friends with people (females) in order to perhaps meet, chat etc when they came to Perth on shore leave…Anyway to make a long story short, I questioned him about the looting that was going on in Iraq and he went silent on me. I pressed on for an answer he gave me some site to got to which was next to useless. Next time i spoke to him i told him so, well lo and behold he tells me that in Afghanistan, in some caves they found alien technology from the past some sort of vedic machines some sort of flying machine like a platforms with weapons. Do you think they would make that public? Me thinks NOT. Was he telling the truth or was he perhaps pulling my leg. I will never know. Getting back to Iraq and the looting of ancient artifacts this is what i said to the General one day, quote “Is it true that America invaded Iraq to actually get there hands on the many cuneiform tablets that Saddam Hussain had in his private collection under his palace which he looted from the museum over the years. I got the cold shoulder treatment don’t think we ever spoke much after that and i deleted him from my skype. Makes me wonder what they were really doing over there. Does anyone know about George Smith? George Smith (Chelsea, London March 26, 1840 – August 19, 1876), was a pioneering English Assyriologist who first discovered and translated the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest-known written work of literature. Smith’s natural talent for cuneiform studies was first noticed by Samuel Birch, Egyptologist and Direct of the Department of Antiquities, who brought the young man to the attention of the renowned Assyriologist Sir Henry Rawlinson. As early as 1861, he was working evenings sorting and cleaning the mass of friable fragments of clay cylinders and tablets in the Museum’s storage rooms.[3] In 1866 Smith made his first important discovery, the date of the payment of the tribute by Jehu, king of Israel, to Shalmaneser III. Sir Henry suggested to the Trustees of the Museum that Smith should join him in the preparation of the third and fourth volumes of The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia.[4] Following the death of William H. Coxe in 1869 and with letters of reference from Rawlinson, Layard, William Henry Fox Talbot, and Edwin Norris, Smith was appointed Senior Assistant in the Assyriology Department early in 1870. In 1872, Smith achieved worldwide fame by his translation of the Chaldaean account of the Great Flood, which he read before the Society of Biblical Archaeology on December 3 and whose audience included the Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, the only known instance of a serving British Premier ever attending a lecture on Babylonian literature.

    This work is better known today as the final chapter of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest known work of literature in the world, for which Smith is now popularly and justly famed as the discoverer. The following January, Edwin Arnold, the editor of The Daily Telegraph, arranged for Smith to go to Nineveh at the expense of that newspaper, and carry out excavations with a view to finding the missing fragments of the Flood story. This journey resulted not only in the discovery of some missing tablets, but also of fragments that recorded the succession and duration of the Babylonian dynasties.

    In November 1873, Smith again left England for Nineveh, for a second expedition, this time at the expense of the Museum, and continued his excavations at the tell of Kouyunjik (Nineveh). An account of his work is given in Assyrian Discoveries, published early in 1875. The rest of the year was spent in fixing together and translating the fragments relating to the creation, the results of which were published in The Chaldaean Account of Genesis (1880, co-written with Archibald Sayce). What i find really interesting is that at the ripe old age of 34 i think it was he just happened to get ill with dysentary and die In March, 1876, the trustees of the British Museum sent Smith once more to excavate the rest of Assurbanipal’s library. This man could read cuneiform many of the artifacts got shipped to the British Museum and are still there to this day not translated. I bet the vatican has many such relics as well…. I wish Sitchin was still alive Through his 60 years of intensive research, Sitchin has proceeded step-by-step through scores of ancient writings and artefacts culminating in the identification of the ancient Sumerian Puabi as an alien goddess who’s 4,500 year-old skeletal remains may still contain DNA from her alien planet — or at least that’s his hope.

    Puabi is no stranger to controversy. Indeed even her name and title is in dispute. Puabi is also known by some as Pu-abi , or Nin.Puabi, and may have been a ‘lady’ , a ‘queen’ or even a priestess. She was discovered by Sir Leonard Woolley in a joint excavation of the Royal Tombs of UR by the British Museum and the Penn Museum during the 20’s and early 30’s along with 1800 burials which included some stunning artefacts. Over the years, including recently study has gone into the artefacts and jewelry that was found on and near Puabi. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has an exhibit dedicated to Ur’s Royal Cemetery and the British Museum has some items as well, including the Cylinder seal of Pu-abi.

    The skeletal remains of Queen Puabi though are held by the Natural History Museum in London, England. It is these remains that interest Zecharia Sitchin. It is his hope that the museum will conduct a DNA test on said remains. In fact, Sitchin has been in contact with museum numerous times in regards to this request to no avail. Currently and in conjunction with the launch of Sitchin’s new book, his publisher, Inner Traditions/ Bear & Company, is spearheading a petition appealing to the Natural History Museum in London to allow the extraction of Queen Puabi’s (Pu-abi aka Nin.Puabi) DNA for genetic testing in order to prove that she was an alien goddess. I wonder if there are any more George Smiths left in the world who could read cuneiform or Zechariah Sitchin…

  2. tarzan on March 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Libya has reported artifacts missing, Feb 4th . Also, note the unique number “542” associated with artifacts returned to Iraq.

  3. marcos anthony toledo on March 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Cuneiform tablets in Spain your familar with a certain Nazi comando named Scorzzani who did a little job for Hitler springing Mussolli from a certain mountain prison towards the end of the 1939-45 war ask Martin Lee about him. As I have written before they were afther information the art items taken were a smokescreen to hide the real agenda and why not make a little money wilde you at it kill to birds with one stone make a little profit along the way. As for Hawass if he was invove it was at a very low level need to know even if he squel he would be so down the line there would very few he could take down with him so I don’t think he was knowingly invove in the Egyptian thefs create so politcal instabilty to cover your operations if you expert at it.

    • gary on March 19, 2011 at 1:05 am

      hey — anyone (dr farrell?) have any views on why Germany has just abstained from the UN security council vote to enforce a no-fly zone in libya? their abstention stands out a mile — france Uk and US have signed up…. libyan foreign minster started giggling when informed germany had abstained as if he was in on a joke….

  4. MattB on March 18, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Find who in the world could translate cuneiform correclty, and who could translate that volume in that time!

    The list of known candidates would not be great.

  5. Nordman on March 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Cuneiform tablets is flat clay tablet, or is it Cylinder Seals ?

    To take 100,000 photos of Cuneiform tablets no practical problem technically speaking.
    But to make an offset of a sumerian cylinder seal and then take a photo, not easy done.

    So if you hace 100.00 cylinders a more sophisticated process is needed to get ‘Cuneiform tablets’ into a computer to handle.
    I don’t think a private collector will even consider that amount can be handled easy. An organisation with considerable resources can do it.

    But to simply steal some Cuneiform tablets that are not even cataloged?
    My conclution is that ‘someone’ know of a ‘collection’ that was intresting,
    But since the Cuneiform tablets are not organised, as many as possible was taken.
    I don’t know if this makes any more sense to the looting in Irag and Egypt, but I know that sumerian cylinder seal are part of an old pristine knowledge (prisca sapientia). An american resarcher spent a lot of money
    To collect sumerian cylinder seal’s. He even took traditional photos (analog) of all sumerian cylinder seal he could see in situ (in position).
    So sure there are intresting information in old clay.

    • Christine on March 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      grab everything in sight, they are not exactly in original situ anyway, and
      take it to make copies by rolling them on something.

  6. Christine on March 16, 2011 at 9:54 am

    “Dr. Edan said she was still trying to retrieve looted cuneiform tablets being held by the Spanish government, which has said it requires more proof that they belong to Iraq.””

    Is Spain still a home to some Nazi elements or people they mentored?

    I understand that the Assyrian left over people, who are a mix of Nestorian
    Christian and pagan recent throwback, their flag has the old “god” asshur
    symbol on it, want a separate land for themselves, sounds like the sort of thing
    that Nazis would want to encourage to keep stirring the pot in the Middle East.

  7. Lawrence on March 16, 2011 at 9:40 am

    But why would they want to steal the tablets in the first place? If it is for the knowledge they contain when translated, just photographing them would suffice and be much, much easier than carting off whole tablets.
    For that matter, Hawass had access to the antiquities/tablets for many years for photographing and/or stealing.

    • Jon on March 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      Perhaps they found something in their secret search of the tablets under Hawass’ watch, and needed to spirit the important ones away. If they just grabbed a few, that would immediately call attention to someone having knowledge of what they held and which ones were important.

      Grabbing them all makes it more plausible that it was “just a simple robbery.”

      The thing about powerful knowledge is that it only makes you powerful if you control it. Denying it to others is part and parcel of holding on to that power.

      Given that Saddam was building some pretty strange things in Iraq, there may have been some knowledge circulating in elite circles. The timing of this theft with the blocking off of the items at Giza is more than just suspicious, it is a major red flag, just like Baghdad.

      Nice of the scientists to give the Pentagon a shopping list beforehand. Very thoughtful.

      The Spanish behavior is certainly also suspicious. Who do they think the tablets belong to? Oh, yeah, that’s right, everybody finds Sumerian clay tablets just laying around in their back yard all the time. Heck, maybe they’re Swedish…..or maybe they belong to the ghost of Otto Rahn………Sounds like a definite stall to me.

      I would say a strong possibility of Nazi International involvement.

      I wonder what Sitchin would have to say about all this?

      Again, the similarity to plots on SG-1 is spooky.

      I predict that even if any of them are ever returned, there will be a significant number which remain missing. I am just curious about the puzzle – what did they really find?

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