Transfer of Republic of Iraq cuneiform tablets

We are very pleased to transfer to the Republic of Iraq these cuneiform tablets documenting events in history. We thank the Iraqi government for their partnership as we continued the crucial work of preserving these important artifacts for future generations to study.

This historically significant collection has been at Cornell and under study beginning in 1999. It has no connection to artifacts that may have been looted from the national museum in Baghdad following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Until 2018, scholars at Cornell have participated in a project to conserve the tablets and international researchers have authored studies about them, not only for historic preservation but also for the cultural benefits of the Republic of Iraq. In 2012, Iraqi officials visited the conservation lab and encouraged the preservation work to continue.

Cornell is an international university with a strong commitment to global engagement, an appreciation of intercultural differences, and a spirit of collaboration for mutual benefit. This voluntary transfer would not have been possible without the active involvement of the Ambassador of Iraq to the United States on behalf of the Iraqi government and the partnership built over the years since 2012. We are proud of our efforts in preserving and studying these artifacts, and are delighted to see them returned to their home.

Wendy Wolford
Vice Provost for International Affairs