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Iraqis Who Sold Ancient Tablets to the British Museum

Nadia Ghanem of SOAS recently published a very interesting article about Joseph Svoboda, a 19th and early 20th century Iraqi who made a career of selling ancient Iraqi inscribed tablets to Western museums and collectors.

Ms. Ghanem's story (and her other blog posts, as well) covers Joseph Svoboda's work with Sir E A Wallis Budge of the British Museum, whose story I tell, of course, in Wallis Budge: Magic and Mummies in London and Cairo.

Part of what has always fascinated me, as a person with a background in both Middle Eastern History and Modern European Intellectual History, is the interaction of the people of the Middle East and the West, and this blog post does a good job of recovering a bit of the Middle Eastern side of this trade in antiquities.

I recommend Ms. Ghanem's article. It's a very interesting read.

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