Main content

Looted Sumerian Seal, Baghdad

In search of a Sumerian goddess, and the pillaging of Iraq's most important museum.

The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

This is the oldest and smallest object in the series: a tiny Sumerian cylinder seal depicting a harvest festival. It was carved in 2,600 BC and was part of the collection of ancient cylinder seals which disappeared when the Iraq Museum in Baghdad was looted during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We tell the story of this seal and the pillaging of the country's most important museum.

Contributors: Lamia al-Gailani, SOAS; Mazin Safar, son of Iraqi archaeologist Fuad Safar; John Curtis, Iran Heritage Foundation

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Picture: Sumerian harvest seal
Credit: Lamia al-Gailani

With thanks to Augusta McMahon of Cambridge University, Mark Altaweel of the Institute of Archaeology UCL, and Sarah Collins of the British Museum.

Available now

15 minutes

Museum of Lost Objects ‒ The Podcast

Museum of Lost Objects ‒ The Podcast

Download podcasts featuring extra material from the series and listen at your leisure.

About presenter Kanishk Tharoor...

About presenter Kanishk Tharoor...

Revealing the treasures of the Museum of Lost Objects