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Trove of ancient Mesopotamian artefacts reported missing by Iraq found in Norway

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Norwegian police said on Friday they had seized a large number of archaeological artefacts reported missing by Iraqi authorities, including what is presumed to be cuneiform tablets from ancient Mesopotamia.

The objects were found by the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Oekokrim), which assisted Norway’s Ministry of Culture in the search.

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The items had been part of a private collection in Norway, and while several witnesses were questioned there were no criminal charges, a police spokesperson told Reuters.

“In total, almost 100 objects of significance to the global cultural heritage have been seized,” Oekokrim said in a statement.

“They are now being examined by experts to determine their authenticity and, if possible, establish their provenance.”

The police did not say when the items may have arrived in the northern European country, or how they ended up there.

Iraq is the site of ancient Mesopotamia, a region home to many ancient civilizations including that of the Sumer which developed the cuneiform, one of the world’s oldest writing systems.

Read more: Museums draw up 'red list' to help spot stolen Iraqi antiquities