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German couple will return Egyptian artefact after learning it was stolen

German collectors praised by Egyptian officials for agreeing to return item stolen from Luxor last century

Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 4 Jun 2014
Archive photo of Sobekhotep tomb
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A German couple in possession of a stolen relief smuggled out of the country last century say that they want to return the artefact to Egypt.

On Monday, the couple sent an official letter to Egypt's cultural attache in Germany, Mamdouh El-Damati, informing him that they wish to give back the relief after discovering that it was stolen from the wall of the 13th dynasty king Sobekhotep's tomb in Luxor and illegally smuggled out of the country.

Egypt's Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online that the relief had been spotted by curators at Bonn University Museum during preparations for a temporary exhibition to be held there.

The items on display were selected from private collectors and the relief in question was borrowed from the German couple.

The relief is 30 cm tall and 40 cm large and depicts three rows of offering holders walking forwards.

Ibrahim told Ahram Online that the piece will be put on display for three months in the temporary exhibition in Bonn and will then be handed over to Egypt’s embassy in Germany before before being finally returned home.

"I am very happy with the German couple's attitude, which will encourage other antiquities collectors to return any stolen objects," Ibrahim told Ahram Online, adding that the couple will be honoured in a gala ceremony at the Egyptian embassy in Germany for their appreciation of Egypt and its ancient heritage.
 

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Catherine jones
05-06-2014 12:10am
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Artefacts
I believe all Egyptian artefacts stolen or otherwise should be returned home to Egypt where they belong. This German couple did the right thing. Let's hope all others follow suit.
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Dr Jasmine Day
17-06-2014 04:28pm
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Repatriation of artefacts to Egypt
While it is admirable that some people want to return ancient artefacts to Egypt, it should be noted that prior to the early 20th century, Egypt either had no laws preventing removal of antiquities or (in the later 19th century) did not effectively enforce them. Also, many objects were given by Egyptian governments as gifts to foreign countries, plus for a time, finds from excavations were split between Egypt and foreign countries conducting digs. So it cannot be generalised that "all Egyptian objects overseas were stolen" - far from it, many if not most were legally removed at the time, even if in retrospect it damaged the integrity of many sites. As for repatriating ALL objects to Egypt, we are talking about MILLIONS of objects that would cost billions of dollars to catalogue, pack and transport, and Egypt simply could not cope with such a huge influx of objects when it already struggles to fund adequate storage, study and display of what it has. The importance and value of having Eg
Franjo Schiller
09-06-2014 12:40am
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Artefacts
I agree 100 %. Most of the the antik artefacts in Museums worlwide have been collected without the approval of the respective countries.
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