Ancient Middle East clay tablets seized at Heathrow are 'fakes', British Museum says

The tablets were baked in a modern kiln to look ancient (Photo: British Museum) Last July, two trunks consigned from Bahrain to a private address in the UK, were opened to reveal 190 clay tablets covered in cuneiform script, fired clay figurines, cylinder seals and some unusual animal-shaped pots. But it was immediately clear that there was a problem; not one of the objects was ancient.” If real, the tablets would have been dried in the sun but in “this case they had all been fired deliberately and consistently and to a relatively high temperature, thus proving that they were the product of a modern workshop with a kiln.” Some of the inscriptions reflected Mesopotamian Royal texts of the era but others “were a jumble of signs, some invented, others upside-down, a complete mish-mash which made no sense when read.” The intended purchaser could have been defrauded of thousands of pounds. St John Simpson, curator, the British Museum said: “These seizures confirm an emerging trend: capitalising on interest in the purchase of antiquities, unscrupulous traders are faking Middle Eastern objects for sale.