LONDON, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- The British Museum said here Thursday that it is returning a group of 5,000-year-old looted antiquities to Iraq, local media reported.
The museum said that the eight items, namely clay cones with cuneiform inscriptions and a bull-shaped marble pennant, were seized by British police in 2003 from a now-defunct dealer in London.
Earlier this year, police handed them to the museum, where experts determined they came from a temple at Tello in southern Iraq.
Normally it is difficult to find the origin of such items, but some of the antiquities gave archaeologists a clue. The fired clay cones were identical to cones found on a site in Tello, which was the ancient Sumerian city of Girsu.
"The broken objects the robbers left next to the looting holes were broken cones with exactly the same inscription that we have on the cones that were seized," the team's lead archaeologist Sebastien Rey said.
The objects will be handed to Iraq's ambassador to Britain during a private ceremony at the museum on Friday.
Ancient Mesopotamia, which today roughly corresponds to most of Iraq, was the cradle of urban civilization, and pre-war Iraq's museums held precious collections from the Assyrian, Sumerian and Babylonian cultures.