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Thursday, 17 January 2019

Egypt retrieves smuggled ancient artefact from London auction

Ahram Online , Wednesday 9 Jan 2019
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A handout picture released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities on January 9, 2019. (Photo: AFP)
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Egypt has retrieved an ancient artefact illegally smuggled out of the country after being displayed at an auction hall in London, the antiquities ministry said.

The piece, a cartouche of King Amenhotep I, was identified following observation of international auction websites, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The ministry took all the necessary measures to stop the sale of the relief and withdraw it from auction,” it added.

The ministry did not elaborate on when or how the artefact was stolen and smuggled out of the country.

The relic was earlier exhibited at the open museum of the ancient temple of Karnak in the southern city of Luxor, the ministry's repatriation department director Shaaban Abdel-Gawad said.

The Egyptian embassy in London received the piece last September following coordination between the foreign ministry, the embassy and British authorities, Abdel-Gawad added.

Earlier this month, the BBC reported that the only casing stone from the Great Pyramid of Giza will be displayed at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh from 8 February.

The large block of fine white limestone will go on show for the first time outside Egypt and the first time since it arrived in Scotland in 1872, the BBC said.

Abdel-Gawad told Ahram Online last week that Egypt would send an official inquiry to Scotland asking for a certificate of possession and export documents for the stone, adding that Egyptian authorities will take all necessary step to recover the piece if it was proved to be smuggled out of the country.

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